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Discussion in 'Outdoor Tropicals' started by Jason33, Dec 27, 2008.
What is the Most Cold Hardiest Tropical Plant?
You'd have to think of species that go dormant during the winter. A surprising number of tropical grass, sedge, and grassland species make it well into the temperate zone. The little grass Oplismenus hirtellus has an astonishing range from southern Africa and South America all the way to Maryland.
The tropical tree Cyrilla racemiflora ranges from South America to Maryland!
Depends on how you define 'tropical plant'.
In terms of species with a native range completely restricted to between the tropics (23Â°26'22"N latitude to 23Â°26'22"S latitude), the answer is probably Pinus ayacahuite (Mexican White Pine; native range 14Â°N to 21Â°N), which is hardy to around -28 to -30Â°C, which makes it fully hardy in zone 7 and marginal in zone 6. It does of course occur at high altitudes in its native range.
Broussonetia papyrifera must surely be a contender. USDA GRIN suggests both temperate and tropical Asia for the native range of paper mulberry. Broussonetia was reputedly taken to Polynesia about 4000 years ago, where the islanders learned to make paper and the distinctive tapa cloth from the inner bark, and glue from the sap. The early migrating Polynesians are now generally thought to have been from Taiwan. Introduced to Europe in 1750 and subsequently, North America, paper mulberry is widely naturalized, particularly in the eastern US as far north as New York, as it is frost-hardy and reproduces both by root suckers and seed.
WOW, That is very interesting and thank you. Any other tropical plants. And what i mean about tropical plants, is plants that will make you feel like your in the amazon.
Musa basjoo (Japanese textile banana) is fairly cold-hardy if you protect the pseudostem in the wintertime, and if you are amenable to digging up corms and moving them into your basement for the winter, you can grow a wider variety of edible bananas as well. There are also hardier palms available, and you should never underestimate the power of aroids like Colocasia, Alocasia, Draconitum, and Anthurium (these will have to be overwintered indoors, but Colocasia at least goes dormant in cooler climates.)
Where exactly is Englewood? I'm guessing the States, but what USDA zone are you in? That will help us reccomend plants suitable to your area.
What you are looking for is really "tropicalesque" rather than truly tropical (in terms of environmental tolerances). By definition tropical plants are never cold tolerant. Northern gardeners use plants with large or otherwise conspicuously decorative leaves to evoke tropical planting schemes. Some quite hardy plants look tropical, Catalpa trees and cucumber magnolias for instance.
If you are located in Vancouver or nearby the banana mentioned above has been grown outdoors there for at least 50 years. One conspicuous old planting located north of UBC was flowering and fruiting when visited some years ago. The house attendant who answered the door said the clump was there when he came to the property around 1958.
I love Catalpa's as they bud out late look tropical and yet survive well into zone 4b! I also have tried Golden Rain tree into zone 5b...with success. Musa Basjoo ...I grow that In PEI! Also various types of bamboo and one type of cold hardy palm. Funny tho the first tree I thought was tropical wasn't...the Butternut..just by its leaves!
I would have to agree with Basjoo-
Bananas conjure a tropical feel more than any other plant(-:
Musa basjoo for sure like people have mentioned, but has to be dug up at first frost here in Canada. I also grow colocosia and alocasia
Here is one of my elephant ears I dug up yesterday