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10 Tropical Traditions for Temperate Climates


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Exotic Gardening
Although hibiscus flowers are most commonly associated with places like Hawaii, several varieties can be grown in temperate climates.
Although hibiscus flowers are most commonly associated with places like Hawaii, several varieties can be grown in temperate climates.
Hemera/Thinkstock

Fresh flowers and abundant colorful plants populate tropical areas year-round. Even if you don't live somewhere warm all the time, you can grow exotic plants in your home. These plants need plenty of sunlight and water and can be grown indoors without intense tropical heat. They'll even help carry you through the drearier winter months with colorful blooms and abundant leaves. Of course, you should check about specific instructions for special soil or fertilizer for even more plant success.

Following is a list of plants to check out in your local nursery:

  • Bromeliads, found in Central and South American rain forests, need high humidity and sunlight to bloom successfully. If you take good care of this plant, it will reward you with a beautiful rosette all season.
  • Orchids can be found everywhere from Hawaii to Southeast Asia and needs constant care throughout the year. Orchids come in an amazing array of colors and sizes. An orchid's blooms can initially last for months, but don't be alarmed once they all fall off after their growing cycle. With proper fertilization and watering, orchid blossoms will return for years of beautiful growth.
  • The crab cactus is a striking plant from Brazil. Also known as a Thanksgiving cactus, this plant has a distinct look of a cactus with floral accents. It needs moderate humidity and can be brought outdoors during certain times of the year [source: Guide to Houseplants].

If you don't live in a humid area, don't worry; there are some simple tricks to boost your home's humidity to help your tropical plants thrive:

  • Place plants on a tray with wet pebbles to increase water evaporation. As the water around the pebbles evaporates, the plant will benefit from the moisture [source: Guide to Houseplants].
  • By placing a group of plants together, you'll naturally raise the humidity of the air around them
  • Use a humidifier to boost a room's humidity. This will work best with a smaller room where humidity can remain around the plants.
  • Keep a spray bottle handy and mist plants daily. The more water around them, the better.
  • Keep the blinds open during the day. Sunlight will naturally raise the temperature of the room.

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