Tropical Plants in Jacksonville

Today I thought I'd show you some of the tropical beauties in my 9a garden, with a focus on colorful closeups.  To those of you just joining us, Jacksonville receives lows down to 20 degrees Fahrenheit in winter, and the last two winters were among the worst in recent decades.  Have a look at whats possible in a 9a garden with a little thoughtful placement and protection. 

Dyckia "Red Planet" with crape myrtle blossoms.

Crape myrtle blooms in an agave lophantha

Agave Desmettiana "Variegata"

Billbergias, starting to get some color.

A better shot of the billbergia bromeliads, with vibrant backlighting.

Cordyline Fruticosa "Willi's Gold" is starting to color nicely too!

Pentas beneath lily of the nile.

Pineapple lily and lantana.

 Bromeliads and macho fern stand poised and ready to climb the live oak tree.

The front patio is lushly planted with lady palm, chamaedorea radicalis and microspadix palm, birds nest fern, bromeliads, and bananas.  The bottlebrush will someday provide shade.

My huge alocasia "california" is the centerpiece of the backyard.

 A wide view of the backyard, with everglades palm, false cardamom ginger, philodendron selloum, ti plant, and so forth.

Here's another view of the backyard, including my tabebuia tree, weeping bottlebrush, purple crinum, firespike, gingers and... wait, are those heliconias?

Why yes they are!  The "costa flores" heliconias are really starting to look amazing...

Its hard to believe they died to the ground in winter!

I picked up the latest issue of Florida Gardening, which echoed the popular idea that heliconias can't grow where its gets below 40F.  Wrong!

Hummingbirds will love the bright orange flowers!

That's it for today!  When I step into the garden its easy to forget that we had a frigid winter, and that many of the tropicals died to the ground.  I'm sure it will look even better each year, after the roots become more vigorous and the trees provide more cover.


  1. Beautiful collection, though my favorite is definitely the cordyline!

  2. You really have a wonderful collection of tropicals and my favorite is also your cordyline. I've never seen one like that. Glad everything is doing well in spite of the bitter winter weather this past year.

    Enjoy your wonderful bit of paradise.


  3. Steve, your garden is showing nicely after such a terrible freeze! The front patio garden is lovely...I like the lady palm and birds nest fern among the others. Thanks for the id of the Billbergia brom...I have this and didn't know the name. Most of my broms are not brightly colored so I'm looking for some really bright ones to add to my garden space...along with that zebra style brom.
    Thank you for your tour!

  4. I've got to get some of that pineapple lilly...very nice. And, that Bolero has a wonderful color combination. A little time does indeed heal the winter blues.

  5. I thin your yard looks great considering the past winter in Jacksonville. Makes me also happier about what may have came back at my old house down there.


  6. Absolutely beautiful! We are spending two days in Miami this fall. I'm heading straight over to the Fairchild Botanical Gardens to absorb all of your states wonderfully wild plant life!

  7. Wow Wow and Wow. I wouldn't even know where to begin to try and say which is my favorite. Everything is simply gorgeous! The color, the big leaves....the agaves! Wow.

  8. Wendy and flowerlady,
    I love the cordyline too! When I bought it the leaves were simply variegated green, but the sun really brings out the color.

    The billbergia seems to be amongst my hardiest... I don't give them any protection at all and plant them out in the open!

    The pineapple lily was bought at a garden center, but bulbs are great too! Just order some online in spring.

    That means a lot since you know about how limiting the weather can be here! I guess its more limiting there... but you know what i mean.

    You'll love the Fairchild! Lots of great bromeliads and heliconias to be seen, and be sure to say hello to the wild iguanas for me!

    Danger garden:
    Wow? I can't wait til the agaves get bigger! that little spotis home to the dyckia, giant yucca, fig tree, cordyline and mediterranean fan palms too, so it will be tight... but it will remind me of living in California.
    BTW... you'll notice your quesnelia under the oak and the billbergias are the ones you have too!

  9. Although I live in the part of world where everything is tropical, the nurseries here offer limited choices. You guys are so fortunate to have so many choices. I really like your cordyline and heliconia. They are simply delightful. Btw, I always wanted to grow a dyckia. The one in the first picture is really nice.

  10. Steve: Your garden looks very tropical again in this summer. You have done a great job to create a tropical garden in 9a! That Bolero is so unique, I got to go find some. I also love that pineapple lily, looks like I need to order some bulbs this spring. Sometime they just charge outrageous fee for shipping, even more than the plant itself!

  11. All I can say is "Wow!" Your tropical garden has definitely come into its own. I have heliconia envy now. They are just beautiful.

  12. everything is looking so lovely and lush in your garden now. Great job you did putting it all together.

  13. All gorgeous! I like those green broms next to the ferns!

  14. Wow.. it looks wonderful... I love Tropical plants ... it gives an adorable look to our garden... I want to buy Wholesale Tropical Plants... So that my garden can keep flourishing... Keep gardening.. all the best... Thanks.


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