Tropical South

February, 2004
Regional Report

Books

The Exotic Garden
If you are looking for suggestions for combinations of tropical plants, check out The Exotic Garden: Designing with Tropical Plants in Almost Any Climate, by Richard R. Iversen (Taunton Press, 1999; $27.95). In the encyclopedia toward the end, under "Horticultural Use," he has names of plants that go well with each entry, sometimes being as specific as to name particular varieties. For instance, for the red-leaved Hibiscus acetosella, he says, "Position in the middle of a border near red flowers like Hibiscus rosa sinensis. Contrast the maroon foliage with white or golden, variegated plants, such as Ananas comosus 'Variegatus' or silver foliage like Plectranthus argentatus."

Favorite or New Plant

Kalanchoe
Many Kalanchoe species are blooming now. All are so easy to start from cuttings that you can just stick them in the ground. They like full sun but will grow in partial shade. In central Florida blooms can be nipped by frost, but you can plant them in pots or in a protected place or cover them on frosty nights. My plants have survived for years no matter what the weather. One to three stems can make a bouquet that lasts for weeks, and you can pick them in the barely opening bud stage if frost threatens.

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