Welcome to my Central Florida Garden Blog where we garden combining Florida natives, Florida-Friendly plants, and tropicals.
Monday, August 1, 2011
Large Leaves::Simply Exotic
There's nothing that speaks tropical quite as boldly as enormous paddle-shaped leaves of banana trees.
Non-fruit-bearing Red 'Ensete Maurelii' bananas are just so lovely amidst the shade garden. It is here where moisture is naturally retained better than any other parts of the garden.
Mixing in elements of any large-leaved specimen adds a particularly appealing dimension to the garden. Feelings of exotic rainforest gardens come to mind and hot humid environments are the perfect place for them.
Large leaves come in various shapes and color tones. The rounded shape of Begonia 'rotundifolia' leaves, at the base of a Red Banana, are accentuated by the magenta hued veining they sport.
Queen Emma is known for her elongated presence and stately stance in the tropical pathway. All the Queens are wearing deep battle wounds from their plight with Eastern Lubber Grasshoppers that make her their first choice with voracious appetites. Makes. Me. So. Sad.
At the back end of the tropical pathway is one of my very favorite Alocasias. The 'Plumbea Nigra' is noted for its very dark, 18"-24" leaf length and puckering foliage surface.
The top of the leaf is dark green with the underside and stem being black-ish magenta. Just a beautiful stand out next to the Red Banana and bromeliads at their feet.
Philodendrons of all sorts say "tropical and exotic". The 'Rojo Congo' must be kept in the shade but requires little else.
The bright red petioles against its deep green, large leaves that emerge redish-brown just take my breath away. I've kept 3 of them in containers so they can be moved for protection against frost.
Caladiums most certainly fit into the category of large exotic leaves. Summer comes alive with their happy heart-shaped faces throughout the garden. 'White Queen' pops in the central pathway with cast iron leaves of green next to her.
'Red flash' is one of the largest leaves of any caladium variety.
Elephant ears of Alocasia 'Portadora' are without question the largest leaves in my garden. Easily 3' long and almost as wide. Half of me could hide behind them. Their upright habit is very different from the drooping leaves of most common elephant ears which I do NOT prefer. This one not-so tiny trait makes all the difference for me.
Snuggled up under this particular 'Portadora' (there are three others in the berm) is the show-off Colocasia 'Mojito'. And still another layer beneath them is more White Queen caladiums (barely seen in this photo).
'Mojito' grabs attention with its very large lime green leaves and black/purple-ish splotches randomly splattered about each large leaf.
The ever-so-common Split-leaf Philodedron or Selloum is in close competition for being the largest leaf in the garden. I take them for granted. They are so easy and care free. Standing at least 12 feet tall and almost as wide several of these monsters create the foundational backdrop for my back gardens. Under the shade of the oak trees they rarely even freeze back.
A young (second year) Musa 'Siam Ruby' banana is causing me to question whether it is sited correctly. It has me guessing if it is getting enough sunlight as it is not quite as tall as I would have expected by now. I chose it for the odd leaf-coloration and red stems. It's a cheery addition and I'm keeping my hopes up for it liking this spot.
As I write this I realize I left out a few others that I seem to take for granted just like the Selloums above which are such stalwart foundational plants. My garden is full of Saw Palmettos (Serenoa Repens) that I adore. I should give them their very own blog entry they are so valuable to me.
What are your favorite large leaves in the garden?
Feel free to wander over to my most recent Lowe's Creative Ideas Post Entry.
Hard Working Liriope