By: Garden Gate staff
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Add tropical flair!
Want a quick way to transform any garden spot? Try tropicals! Few plants add as much impact or color as these heat lovers, with their bold, sensational blooms or striking, texture-rich foliage.
At the end of the season, some, such as oxalis, can be treated as annuals or overwintered in containers indoors. If you have the space, just leave them in a sunny window until spring. The rest, however, like Peruvian daffodil and rain lily, will need a little extra care to survive winters in USDA zones 7 or 8 and colder. To find out more about these 3 favorite tropicals, keep clicking.
Just before or after the first frost, use a fork to carefully dig bulbs, corms or tubers several inches from the base of the plant. Keeping them sorted by type, gently shake away extra soil, cut their stems down to a couple of inches and wash them. Then layer them with peat moss in a container that will allow air to circulate and move to a low-light spot where temps will stay between 40 to 50 degrees F. Just check them once a month, to be sure they’re not too dry, until it’s time to plant again in spring.
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Peruvian daffodil Hymenocallis x festalis
Also known as “spider lily,” fragrant Peruvian daffodil can take wet soil even when plants are dormant — in fact, where the ground stays consistently moist, the bulbs multiply quickly, with new ones blooming within a year or two.
Begin planting Peruvian daffodil 3 to 5 inches deep as soon as nighttime temps stay above 60 degrees F.
Blooms White or pale yellow with green throats in early summer
Light Full sun
Soil Moist, well-drained
Size 24 to 30 in. tall, 12 to 18 in. wide
Cold-hardy USDA zones 8 to 10
Heat-tolerant AHS zones 10 to 1
Source Mary’s Garden Patch
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Rain lily Zephyranthes spp. and hybrids
The species, left, is lavender-pink, but hybridizing has made a range of bloom colors, such as white, yellow, orange and peach available.
Rain lily doesn’t need much moisture until plants are in bloom. Then, these aptly named bulbs will look best after a rainfall. After the chance of frost has passed, plant bulbs 2 inches deep at the front of the border or in containers. Each flower only lasts a day or two, but flushes of new blooms should continue through early fall.
Blooms Lavender-pink, white, yellow, peach and orange from late summer to early fall
Light Full sun to part shade
Soil Moist, well-drained
Size 8 to 12 in. tall, 12 to 18 in. wide
Cold-hardy USDA zones 7 to 11
Heat-tolerant AHS zones 11 to 1
Source Plant Delights Nursery, Inc.
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Oxalis Oxalis triangularis
Oxalis’ lush foliage looks great filling a container or carpeting a shady spot, like beneath a hedge of shrubs or at the base of an understory tree. Though other types of oxalis can take full sun, and may even have more blooms there, these rosy-centered purple leaves have richer color in shade. Drop a bulb into an inch-deep hole in the ground or pots — they’ll grow no matter which direction they’re planted.
If oxalis needs winter protection in your area, bring containers indoors and treat them like house plants — they’ll thrive in the cool temps beside a window.
Blooms White to pale purple in late spring to summer
Light Part shade
Size?6 to 12 in. tall and wide
Cold-hardy USDA zones 7 to 10
Heat-tolerant AHS zones 12 to 1
Source Easy to Grow Bulbs