Photos by : Melanie McCabe

Comfy furniture, colorful container gardens, glowing candles, elegant statuary, bubbling fountains, musical wind chimes, lush tropical plants all come together as the perfect outdoor room.


Relax in your Own Lush Tropical Retreat

Say “tropical plant” to most folks, and they’ll think of palm trees. But there’s so much more to tropicals.  In fact, you’d be amazed at the variety of plants we can easily grow here in Maryland from spring through fall. Tropicals love heat and humidity, and a surprising number of them produce stunning colors and blooms for months on end. If you have room, most of these tropical plants can be successfully overwintered indoors for planting next year. Be the first on your block to have a unique tropical paradise right in your own backyard!


• Bush or topiary form plant produces huge flowers in a multitude of colors
• Blooms usually last a day or two followed by additional flowers
• Likes to take a short rest every so often between blooming cycles
• Well-drained, slightly acidic soil
• Loves warm temperatures and direct sun but provide some filtered shade when temperatures reach into the 90s
• Provide adequate moisture but take care not to overwater or underwater which can result in yellowing leaves and leaf drop

Abutilon (Flowering Maple)

• Relative of the hibiscus
• Full sun to part shade
• Well-drained soil
• Available in an array of shapes and colors including, red, yellow and pink
• Pendant bell-shaped blooms attract hummingbirds


• Full sun
• Will thrive in almost any type of soil but keep well-drained
• Climbing habit is perfect for trellises and mailboxes
• Colorful bracts accented by tiny white flowers
• Perfect in hanging baskets


• Fast-growing shrub with fragrant summertime flowers in white, red, pink, salmon & light yellow
• Requires full sun
• Grows 6–8 feet tall; can become leggy so prune to maintain shape
• Allow soil to dry slightly between waterings
• Fertilize every other week during growing season
• Keep away from pets & small children as all parts of it are poisonous

• Woody vine is native of Brazil with nonstop bounty of large, showy, trumpet-shaped flowers appearing all summer long
• Takes part shade but needs full sun for best flowering
• Well-drained soil with adequate moisture
• Can grow up to 10 feet tall if provided trellis or other support

Asiatic Jasmine

• Woody, evergreen climbing vine produces very fragrant creamy white flowers
• New foliage emerges striking pink turning to clear white, then to variegated white & emerald green
• Full sun to part shade
• Well-drained soil
• Trailing habit is great in containers or as groundcover

Firecracker Plant

• Red tubular flowers attract hummingbirds
• Tough and durable
• Mounds of bright green, weeping, pine-like foliage
• Full sun
• Drought and salt tolerant


• Produces tiny pink and green variegated flowers
• Requires direct sunlight to maintain variegated colors
• In full sun the foliage will gradually change from green to maroon to pink to white
• In part shade the foliage will turn green
• Keep soil evenly moist
• Fertilize twice a month during growing season

Compact Peregrina

• Full sun to part shade
• Compact shrubby plant is also known as Rose-colored Jatropha
• Red showy flowers
• Prune to maintain desired shape
• Water regularly, more often in extreme heat

• Full sun
• Requires fairly rich, moist, acidic soil
• Large, round clusters of various colored flowers
• Water regularly; do not overwater
• Works well in container plantings

Blue Butterfly Bush

• Attracts butterflies
• Flowers resemble butterflies in two shades of blue
• Full sun to part shade
• Fast growing
• Blooms summer through fall

Chenille Plant

• Deep red uniquely beautiful fuzzy blooms
• Full sun to partial shade but will flower best in full sun
• Keep the soil barely moist but do not let dry out
• Works well in containers and hanging baskets

Asclepias curassavica (Tropical Milkweed or Bloodflower)
• Clusters of orange and red flowers attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds
• Specifically attracts Monarch butterflies
• Full sun
• Blooms summer through fall
• Deer resistant
• Keep moist but well-drained

So mix it up this summer and add some tropical flair to your yard, garden or containers.  We think you’ll be glad you did.

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