This blog is about growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area

April 18, 2013

A lovely day at The Tropical Paradise

It's April 18th and the weather just couldn't be more perfect for lazing in the backyard. Here at The Tropical Paradise I am seeing some strong growth from the cannas (the reddish-purplish leaf plants at left), which is nice. They got knocked all the way to the ground this past winter.

This is the first year I've had the table and the umbrella, and now it seems like I've always had it. There is just something so civilized about having a table, and it took me a long time to figure out that, since I have artificial turf, I could put it out anywhere. Did I mention how much I like the artificial turf?

I did lose some tender plants in the big freeze of January 2013, but I have a poor memory, so I won't dwell on that. Instead, I like to look at the big winners, the star of which is the Mediterranean fan palm in the corner. The trick, by the way, to getting the best out of a med palm is to leave it alone. I've seen people try to trim it into a single trunk, but it doesn't want to grow that way. Let it grow bushy and full and it will be glorious. Not to mention a whole lot less work!

The cycads along the back are dioon edules, and they also did great in the big freeze. In fact, they laugh off heat and blazing sun, too. Amazing plants, I have no idea why they aren't sold here in Phoenix. I know a grower here in town who sells them, if you're interested, but I would recommend starting with ordinary sago palms first if you aren't familiar with cycads.

The plant in the foreground takes more care. It's also a cycad, a dioon, but it is a spinulosum. And they do not like too much cold or too much sun. This plant gets some morning sun, but that's it. And in the winter I covered it every night with frost cloth.

By the way, that thing on the table is my little portable speaker attached to my iPod. Gonna go outside now and listen to an audiobook.

What a lovely day!
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