Caribbean Homes: Five of the Best Tropical Plants to Beautify Your Garden All Year Round
by Lou-Ann Jordan May 1, 2023
It’s safe to say that we all want our living space to be as relaxing as it is beautiful. We want to return home and have the peace and beauty of our surroundings ease the day’s stresses away.
There is nothing quite like sitting in the tranquillity of the outdoors, specifically your garden, surrounded by fragrant, colourful plants and flowers. It is rejuvenating! A garden is a beautiful addition to a home. It’s a lively place with birds chirping happily and butterflies spiriting to and fro. Also, it can be a haven, as it offers a safe place to reflect and enhance our well-being.
Creating such a space takes careful planning, especially as we live in the tropics. Our locale requires a careful selection of flowering plants found in the Caribbean to start our garden. We need robust Caribbean plants and flowers that can withstand those seasonal changes of arid weather followed by months of rain.
If you’ve already thought about how to start a garden but are now venturing into landscaping and the plants and flowers best suited for our climate, then you’ve selected the right article. We want to explore several that offer the versatility of thriving in both seasons.
Also, we know another necessary condition is the amount of work required. With our busy schedules, some of us will benefit from beginning with plants that aren’t labour-intensive. We’ve considered this and have listed plants with regular watering, good drainage, pruning and minimal fertilisation; you’re likely to create a breath-taking garden.
Here are five of the best Caribbean plants to keep your garden beautiful all year round.
Bougainvillaea can be found in many Caribbean islands and is the national flower of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique. This plant is hardy, withstanding the dry months of January through June and the following wet months. There are different species and a variety of colours. Some available colours are orange, powder pink, fuchsia pink, red, purple, and white. Though low in maintenance, you must prune them because they can quickly become overgrown and wild. However, do watch out for the thorns!
Ferns are beautiful plants! They thrive both indoors and outdoors. They can be challenging to start, but with the proper care, they blossom nicely, creating a lush green space. In caring for them, it’s important to remember that they thrive in moisture-rich soil. This fact is critical during the dry season as it will require you to keep them well watered but avoid waterlogging. A tip for reducing such a risk is to add compost.
The Mexican Petunia or Bluebell is a well-known plant, though often confused with the morning glory. Actually, it’s not uncommon to hear it referred to as such. However, these two are distinct because the morning glory plant is a vine. The petunia, a shrub, is plentiful in certain parts of the region and seems to flourish. It’s why, sans their beautiful trumpet-shaped purple flowers, they might be considered a weed. Mexican petunia is a versatile plant that can be arranged spectacularly in outdoor pots or as a vibrant hedge. Also, because this plant thrives in sunlight, our six months of dry weather do minor damage. Still, you must ensure it’s well watered and planted in soil that soil drains well.
Lady of the Night
There are several varieties of the Lady of the Night plant. Some populate little white flowers, while others may display a combination of pink and white. Yet, one consistent thing is the jasmine-like fragrance they emit. With this plant, your garden is guaranteed to be quite fragrant at night. As a vine, it requires support and grows well against a wall or along a rail. It’s wonderfully decorative in the front yard. It offers a soft romantic hue with nocturnal perfuming when grown on a fence. Don’t be deterred by its stages; it can sometimes appear as a dry stick, especially when the rainy season is over. However, its perfumed petals will blossom with consistent care even in the dry season.
The Ixora coccinea plant, known to most of us simply as ixora, is the quintessential Caribbean shrub. An evergreen plant with tightly clustered flowers, Ixora grows in abundance in both seasons and is a low-maintenance plant. Their tiny flowers come in various colours: red, yellow, white, pink, and orange, and they bloom all year round. These are some of the reasons they make excellent garden hedges or can be featured prominently in a garden. Although they are easy to care for, you can’t neglect to water them, especially in the first part of the year. Also, to maintain the dark green leaves, and brightly coloured flowers, ensure your soil is slightly acidic. Using a fertiliser high in nitrogen should help.
Within our region are numerous species of plants and flowers used to beautify our spaces. Here, we’ve offered just a few local flowers that add colour and a sweet aroma to your garden while being relatively easy to start.
Now, for supplies be sure to search FindYello for a gardening supply store near you.
Sources: Almanac, Garden Guides, Home Guides and Plantisima.