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May 8, 2012

Tropical flowers for containers

-by Debra Anchors

No need to miss out on growing tropical plants when you live in the northern, colder gardening climates.  There are many beautiful plant varieties that can easily be grown in pots. Passionflower, Gardenia, Mandevilla, and Star-Cluster are beautiful when nurtured in northern container gardens; but the three stunners below are some of my favorites.

Angel's Trumpet
Angel’s Trumpet

If you want something really impressive, grow an angel’s trumpet. Several types are available, with huge single or double flowers in shades of lavender, pink, orange, gold and white.  They release a penetrating, sweet aroma at night.  These plants grow fast and make bushy specimens with thick tree-like trunks.  The leaves are attractive to spider mites and white flies, so watch out for these pests.  Be warned that all parts of the plants are poisonous.


Often used for hedges in hot climates, oleanders are typically large shrubs, but “Petite Pink” and other compact cultivars grow well in pots.  Oleanders bloom all summer with clusters of single or double flowers in shades of red, pink, salmon, cream or pure white.  It’s tempting to touch the soft petals and smooth, dark green leaves of an oleander, but wash your hands well afterward, because all parts of these handsome plants are poisonous.

Tropical Hibiscus
Tropical Hibiscus

Most cultivars of the tropical, or Chinese, hibiscus are sturdy, erect shrubs that grow several feet tall but are easily maintained in containers.  What varies are the flowers, which can be single or double, two to ten inches wide, in shades of white, red, orange, pink, yellow, and bicolor.  Some of the colors are almost fluorescent.  Hummingbirds regularly visit the single red flowers, and explore other kinds, too.

You may enjoy this, another article I wrote to suggest tropical plants for your garden, Tropical Plants – The exotic garden.

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  1. What great photos!!!Love your post!

  2. I have heard that the angels trumpet has a strong halucinagen, one to be mindful of if you have kids who randomly put garden stuff in their mouth


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