Tropical Plants in Colorado
February 19th, 2020
When you think of tropical places, Fort Collins, Colorado likely isn’t top of mind. While we may be very landlocked and have tumble weeds where other places have grapefruit trees, growing and caring for tropical plants is possible here! In fact, we have several plants in our greenhouse that are of the tropical variety that would look lovely in your home or office.
Each plant differs based on its specific needs, so it is best to ask our staff at Fossil Creek Nursery how to care for your plants. In general, however, tropical plant care is similar. They benefit from fertilizer during the summer months, when they are growing and blooming. Tropical plants should be watered enough to keep the soil slightly moist, but do not overwater them. They need lots of bright, indirect light. Although many tropical houseplants can adapt to indoor conditions, their native climates are very humid. Humidity levels are low in Colorado, so to provide a little boost in humidity for your plants, you can add a humidifier to the room, mist them, group several of them together, or put them on pebble trays filled with water (just don’t let them sit directly in water).
The croton comes in a variety of leaf shapes and colors, including patterns of green, yellow, red, and orange. Crotons grow well outside in tropical areas, but in Colorado, they are limited to houseplant status. Keep their soil moist and make sure they will receive plenty of light during the day.
The prayer plant, Maranta leuconneura, is native to the American tropics. At night its leaves fold up like praying hands, inspiring its nickname ‘prayer plant’. It can grow to be about 12 inches tall and loves indirect sunlight. For watering, a good rule of thumb is to never let the soil dry out, but also never be soggy. Prayer plant prefers more humid environments, so a humidity tray (especially in the winter) would be helpful in Colorado.
Also known as the Dragon Tree, Draceanas originate in the Canary Islands off the northwest coast of Africa. Easy to grow and care for in your home or office, they’re grown for their beautiful foliage and can reach 6-8 ft. in ideal conditions. There are many variegated Draceanas in a variety of colors. They prefer bright, indirect light to partial shade. Keep the soil gently moist in the summer and water sparingly in the winter with an occasional misting. Feed bi-monthly during growing season.
Bromeliads are sub-tropical and tropical epiphytes (meaning a soilless plant that grows in trees). They need bright, indirect light. Water them by filling the leaf cups with lukewarm water. Distilled water is preferred in hard water areas, and you can mist them occasionally during the summer. Feed by mixing diluted liquid fertilizer in with water when misting foliage. Bromeliads are grown for their bright and showy foliage, and large striking flowers, which can last for weeks.
Succulents feature unique upright, strong bold leaves that spread over time. They are easy to care for, need bright light, and prefer low humidity. If the plant becomes elongated, that means it’s not getting enough light – but don’t move it into direct sun in the summertime. Although succulents are drought tolerant in nature, they require regular watering in pots. Wait for at least a week after the soil dries before watering completely. Over-watering will result in leaf loss at the bottom of the plant.
These plants are all stocked and ready for you to take home today from Fossil Creek Nursery. We can’t wait to teach your how to care for your next tropical friend. Visit us today at 7029 S College Ave. Our hours are Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.