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Tropical Summer Color

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May 7, 2013
Once the chances for frost have passed some of the easiest plants to grow for summer color have to be some of the tropical flowering plants. For summer color it’s hard to beat tropical plants; they simply love our hot and humid Mississippi gardens and landscapes. Almost every garden enthusiast I know loves tropical hibiscus. In my opinion you can’t go wrong choosing any of the Cajun hibiscus series. There are more than 30 selections ranging in color including yellows, reds, and white. The more spectacular are blended colors having bright red eyes. One of the most interesting features, especially to a plant geek like me, is the arrangement of the pistil and stamens. The pistil is the center structure surrounded by the swirl of stamens resembling a yellow bottle brush. Another popular choice for tropical color plants are mandevilla and Dipladenia which are very similar in foliage and flower appearance. Mandevilla will grow as a vine, and frequently is trained on a support structure ready to scramble on a larger scale. Dipladenia will grow with a more shrub-like bushy habit. A prolific flowering vine every gardener should grow is black eyed Susan vine. This is a great climbing vine that will readily scamper eight feet up a trellis. Remember, these are tropical plants, so they will need protection from cold weather. That’s why most tropical flowering plants are right at home in a pretty container on the porch or patio. I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.

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