Category Archives: Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Pool and Patio Palms

A photo of a fan palm

By Ellen Barredo ]An abbreviated version of this article appeared in The Gateway Gardener June 2014 issue.] There’s nothing quite like being surrounded by boldly textured palms! Here are a few suggestions for success with palms. Purchase your palms at a local garden center as they usually acquire their palms from reputable growers that have techniques set up to ‘Light

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Tropical Hibiscus: What’s New and How to Care for Them

By Ellen Barredo Tropical hibiscus (H. rosa-sinensis) have been a top interest with customers this year. Top requests are for single flowering plants in very clear colors or bi-colored flowers. Hibiscus has also been a top re-post on my Pinterest Page! Who can resist them? Hibiscus are in their glory right now and provide an explosion of color on the

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Over-Wintering Tropicals

Alocasia 'Polly' photo by Robert Weaver

By late September, I am readying my tropical plant collection for the indoors by trimming away dead or damaged growth, checking for insects and spraying, if needed, and inspecting potting soil for slugs and various critters. By Chris Kelley (This article was first published in The Gateway Gardener October 2006 issue) It’s time to start dreaming big about your tropical

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Painted Leaves for Passionate Gardeners

A photo of variegated tapioca plant

By Chris Kelley Photos courtesy Missouri Botanical Garden PlantFinder (This article was first published in The Gateway Gardener July 2006 issue.) One day, while casually walking through my greenhouse, my addiction to tropicals became clear. Who wouldn’t love and covet the amazing variegated and colorfully patterned leaves that occur so often in this heat-loving genera? I think I can trace

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‘Flavor Trippin’ with Miracle Fruit

a photo of Miracle Fruit shrub

This article appears in the June 2011 issue of The Gateway Gardener magazine on stands now. By Ellen Barredo Early this winter, my local supplier of tropical plants, Rich, called with an interesting story about Miracle Fruit, Synsepalum dulcificum. While touring a Florida supplier Rich and his daughter Danielle encountered a greenhouse that contained potted Miracle Fruit with small red

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Those Amazing Elephant Ears

(This article was first published in The Gateway Gardener April 2006 issue.) Text and photos by Chris Kelley Close your eyes and make a wish. A wish for beautiful foliage, superb architecture, and  WOW appeal.  If your wish comes true, you’ll be growing elephant ears, those denizens of steamy tropical and subtropical climates named Alocasia, Colocasia and Xanthosoma. We’re talking

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