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

December 12, 2016

Why you should uplight the tropical plants in your garden

One of the coolest effects that you can create in your garden of tropical plants is uplighting. It's really quite amazing, and it's easy to do.

You will need to invest in a low-voltage outdoor lighting system. I got mine at Home Depot, and I got the most basic one I could. I got plain black metal lights because I don't want any attention to go to the fixtures, I want the attention on the plants. The fixtures still show, of course, but I try to hide them a bit behind the rocks. Because it isn't about the fixtures, it's about the light.

Get spotlights, and get bright ones. The idea is to light the plants from the bottom with the light pointing up, so be careful here - don't allow the light to shine into a window, especially your neighbor's window! Point them at the plants!

The light will give a wonderful effect to the plant, and the rest of the light will splash on the wall, and kick back a little bit. Palm trees, cycads, and agaves look especially great with uplighting.

If you've made the mistake of lighting your garden like a football stadium, try again. The light should be bright on the plants, but soft and indirect for the people. I put in a couple of path lights to be absolutely sure that I could see where I'm walking, but most of the light in the garden is just softly bounced back. I love the way it looks on the leaves of the plants, and I love the interesting shadows on the walls.

Uplighted agave and cycad.
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