Tropical Trees in Containers

Tropical Trees in Containers

Use indoor tropical trees to dress up outdoor containers. 
I don’t know about you, but I love gardening in containers. It’s just so simple and fun. All you have to do is pour in some soil into a pot and let your imagination fly, mixing plants of different colors, textures, shapes, and sizes. In addition to perennial and annual flowers you can also spice it up with a few houseplants tucked into the mix. My favorites choices, however, are indoor trees such as ficus, yucca cane, schefflera, palm, banana, Madagascar dragon tree, oleander, and money tree.

I use these beauties as “thriller” plants in the center of all my large tubs and containers. Their height and dramatic foliage creates a lush, eye-popping canopy of foliage over a foundation of blooming annuals or perennials. Here, for example, I planted 4-foot-tall yucca cane in one of the largest containers on my deck. Then, I surrounded it with a ring of red petunias and asparagus fern. It’s really simple when you think about it, but because no one expects to see yucca cane and petunias growing together, the tub receives complements from everyone who stops by.

Some trees, such as tropical hibiscus, also offer spectacular flowers throughout the summer. They love hot, humid conditions and are perfect for exposed decks or patios. In this oversized pot, below, a yellow-flowering hibiscus tree holds center court over mounds of red and yellow bush hibiscus and trailing creeping Jenny. Hibiscus gets thirsty so a daily watering is a must to keep a pot like this in top form.

When you shop for tropical trees it’s also smart to keep your eye out for specimens with braided or twisted trunks. These woven trunks will add an extra dose of interest to any container. Trees that are often available with woven trunks include ficus, Madagascar dragon tree, schefflera, and money tree.

Always remember that these plants are all tropical in nature. This means you should bring them indoors once nightly temperatures start to drop below 45 degrees. You can either drag the entire pot inside or pop the trees out and replant them in a more manageable planter for indoor use. Trees such as yucca cane, hibiscus, banana, and oleander need to be placed near a sunny, south window. Palm, schefflera, money tree, and ficus do best in a bright location away from direct sunlight.

Written by Doug Jimerson