sub tropical gardening forum: Plants for a sub tropical climate

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Feb 23, 2010 2:34 AM CST
Coffs Harbour, Australia
I live in a sub tropical climate, where the temps are between 5 degress celcius in winter and 40 degrees celcius in summer. Winters are usually dry, with minimum rainfall, and spring, summer and Autumn have very regular and often heavy rainfalls.
I love tropical plants with colourful foliage and try to grow the ones that suit my climate, as I don't want to be struggling to nurse plants along.
I'm going to show you some plants that grow well in my climate, and if you have any pics to show of your plants also, you are most welcome.
Feel free to ask questions or offer advice and tips to me and/or others using this forum.
This is a view of colourful foliage here today. It is mainly Crotons, with alternanthera behind and a selection of plants in the background.

Thumbnail by bromadorer

Mar 19, 2010 2:41 AM CST
Coffs Harbour, Australia
Plumerias (Frangipanis) grow very well in a warm climate, in full sun. A climate that receives their rain in summer, and has drier, cooler months suits them well. A sandy, well drained soil is required, and regular water in the warmer months will see them with lush, green leaves and masses of scented flowers.
They generally lose their leaves when the temperature drops, and require much less water at this time.
Frangipanis come in all different colours, and there are specialist nurseries that have some quite special and exotic varieties.

You might find, in late summer and early Autumn, the leaves begin to look mottled with yellow, and if you check under the leaf, you will find small, rusty orange spots. This is commonly called 'Rust' and is a fungus caused by the humid weather. It would be a waste of time to spray, and the rust does not affect the health of the plant, except to cause early leaf fall. if you have a small frangipani tree, you can try to control it by removing the leaves at the first sign of the infection, and also picking up the fallen leaves and disposing of them. If you have a large tree, or a number of trees, this could become labour intensive, and you might find it easier to just live with it. Its quite likely that other trees in your area are infected also, and unless all neighbours are following the same technique to control it, it can be a recurring problem. It does not affect the following seasons flowering, in my experience.

The Frangipani exudes a white milky sap when injured. Take care to avoid getting any on your skin, as it can be caustic, and cause allergic reactions in some people. I've never had a problem with it, and find if the sap is hard to remove, try rubbing some sunscreen onto it, before washing with soap and water.

Remember when planting a frangipani, that it will eventually grow to a medium sized tree, and leave it plenty of room for air flow and sunshine.

Fragipani flowers look great floating in the pool at a summer party, and also in a float bowl on the dining table when entertaining. They have a strong fragrance that is the essence of summer, and can be worn in the hair and threaded on a string to make a lei (A Hawaiian floral necklace)

Frangipanis can be underplanted with bromeliads that can cope with winter sun, aswell as bulbs that require full sun in winter to spring.

Thumbnail by bromadorer

Mar 22, 2010 2:17 AM CST
Coffs Harbour, Australia
This is Allamanda. There are two plants in the pic, the yellow (A. cathartica), and a pink called 'Cherry Ripe' They are quite vigorous and are trailing plants, more so than climbers. They do not attach to the surface they are on, so must be trained and tied into place. They are cold tender and will lose most of their leaves during winter, here on the mid north coast of NSW, in Australia.
I have also grown an A. 'Cherry Ripe' as a shrub, by planting it next to a star picket and tying the stems to it, as they appear. It is now a multi stemmed shrub and is covered in flowers for most of the warmer months.
As a cut flower, if you pick a stem with some unopened buds, they will go on to flower successively over the next few days.
The Yellow flowering Allamanda has very large and glossy green leaves, which makes it look like a very lush plant in the tropical garden. It is good for growing up north, to cover the cyclone fences commonly found in the tropics. It, too, must be tied to its support.

Thumbnail by bromadorer


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