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Design Trends 2022:
Tropics Are In

Garden Design Magazine just posted its predictions for garden design trends in 2022. We’re thrilled to see that “Gardening for Wildlife” made the list at number six and were intrigued to see that “Maximizing Balconies and Porches” made the list at number 7. (Remember our blog on this topic back in June? Who knew we were such trendsetters….!)

Today, I thought I’d focus on prediction number one: “Including Plants that Transport You to the Tropics.” Our area supports many native plants that can grow in USDA Zones a little further to our south. Thus, we can include native, tropical plants in our gardens in a way that is regionally appropriate. Some of my favorites include:

Cabbage Palm (Sabal palmetto)
You had to know that any list to bring the tropics into our gardens would include a palm tree! This one is Florida’s state trees and it’s found across the state. It grows to almost 100 feet tall in almost any soil condition. The plant is one of the hosts for Monk Skipper caterpillars.  Cabbage Palm is tied with Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens) as the #1 nectar resources in Florida for pollinators and a wonderful resource for berries for birds. So we get tropics helping wildlife all in one!

Coontie (Zamia integrifolia)
This small, evergreen shrub typically grows to 1-3 feet tall and has palm-like leaves. Great for mass plantings and smaller areas that can’t support larger palms, this cycad is a caterpillar host for the rare Atala and more common Echo Moth.

Florida Peperomia (Peperomia obtusifolia)
This evergreen groundcover has a thick, waxy leaf that reminds me of orchids and screams tropics. Even though this is a Florida native, the plant’s great nature prompted the UK’s Royal Horticultural Society to give it an “Award of Garden Merit” because it performs so reliably in English gardens.

Mangrove Spider Lily (Hymenocallis latifolia)
This beautiful native has showy, fragrant white flowers that bloom in the summer and fall. With a range that extends as far south as the West Indies, there’s no doubt this plant will bring some tropics to your yard. Use it either as a specimen plant or to edge walkways where you and your guests can enjoy its scent.

Scarlet Hibiscus
(Hibiscus coccineus)
With its striking, tropical 6” brilliant red flowers, this perennial is a repeat bloomer that attracts butterflies, hummingbirds, and numerous native bee species. This plant is also the larval host for the Gray Hairstreak, Painted Lady, Common Checkered Skipper, Tropical Checkered Skipper, Pearly Wood Nymph, Yellow Scallop Moth, Io Moth and Delightful Bird-Dropping Moth. What better way to bring tropics into your yard than with a plant that supports so many native pollinators?

Why not be on point when it comes to 2022 garden trends? Add some tropical drama to your garden and add plants that support wildlife at the same time. Use these suggestions or stop by the nursery and see what other plants might work better in your garden. We’re always happy to help you #NurtureNative.