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

August 12, 2013

Secrets of The Tropical Paradise

If you're brave enough to look at the lower canopy of The Tropical Paradise, or if you have two-inch legs, you discover a very important secret: the misting system.

From a wiener dog's eye point of view, they are obvious, but from a distance they are virtually invisible. And this trick brings the one thing that these plants really need here in the desert, added humidity.

The heart of the misting system is a simple setup, the same that you would find at any Home Depot. Normally misting systems are installed along the edge of patios. If you've been to a restaurant that has outdoor seating in the Phoenix, Arizona area, you have seen them. They have probably dripped on you. But when it's over 100 degrees, that feels pretty good. And it feels good to plants, too!

The trick to making it work in the garden is to install the risers. They are made of copper, are ridiculously expensive, and bring the misting head up about three inches. If you don't do that, by the way, the heads get covered up fairly quickly and the whole thing fails. Ask me how I know this!

Of course, there's the regular watering system, which is based on a low-pressure drip line. (you can see a head of that, which is blue on a black riser, at the base of the Elephant Ear at right). That watering system alone would be enough to keep these plants alive all summer. But it's the misting system that makes them thrive!

The two systems are on battery-powered timers. In the summer, the water comes on daily for twenty minutes, the misters come on four times a day for fifteen minutes.
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