South Florida sits 25° 46′ 26″ N / 80° 11′ 38″ W. That’s tropics baby. Hot and humid during the summer, breezy and temperate during the fall/winter. A tropical climate that’s perfect for sun bathing, swimming and ohhh yes, gardening. Miami is a mecca for growing exotic flowering trees, tropical fruit trees, fragrant shrubbery, orchids, vegetables and hummingbird and butterfly flora. If you like to garden like me, South Florida is a Tropical Garden Designers Paradise!
The sun is always shining in South Florida, which makes for accelerated growth. Landscapes mature quickly in the Sunshine State providing homeowners with instant satisfaction. No need to wait 40 years for a mature tree, we can grow it in half the time. That privacy hedge you long for can be had in just a couple years. Butterfly flora always blooming. Such an perfect climate for a Tropical Garden Design.
Here’s Landscape Designer Brent Knoll’s top 10 Tropical Garden Design ideas for South Florida.
1. Pergola- If you’ve got the space for it, then you need a pergola for an exotic flowering vine like a Jade flower or New Guinea trumpet vine. Majestic structure with a stunning flower!
2. Trumpet Tree- The trumpets are sounding! This is what I always tell my clients when I plant this exotic flowering bush from the tropics of South America. The foot long bell shaped flowers are sweetly scented, with a variety of colors ranging from purple to coral. An amazing plant for any Tropical Garden Design.
3. Want to cover up an old fence with something stunning and easy to grow? New Guinea trumpet vine is one of my favorite flowering vines. Vine grows quickly, treating you with hundreds of tubular hot pink flowers that will make your jaw drop in wonder.
4. Privacy hedge- Bamboo is my favorite impact plant and makes a wonderful privacy hedge. Fast growing, non invasive clumping bamboo comes in a variety of sizes and colors. Plant some butterfly and hummingbird flora around your bamboo and you’ve got my favorite tropical garden design of them all, Tropical Butterfly Zen.
5. Hummingbirds- You would think that we would have more hummingbirds in Tropical Florida than we do, but we’re only graced with their presence from November to the 1st of April. Don’t bother with the hummingbird feeders, you’ll attract ants and wasps. Instead plant turks cap, ruby red pentas, firespike and firebush. You’ll be gauranteed to have hummingbirds visit your Tropical Garden in no time.
6. Koi pond- Tropical Zen Gardens wouldn’t be complete without a Koi pond. Imagine the Zen feel of colorful Koi swimming in a pond surrounded by papyrus, water lilies, and iris.
7. No tropical garden design would be complete without tropical fruit trees like mango, papaya, banana, avocado and mulberry. Rejuvenate your soil with organic material and plant away!
8. Butterfly gardens- As a landscape designer in Miami for over 20 years, I’ve become very fond of the numerous native butterflies we have in South Florida. I’ve also become a specialist in attracting these beautiful creatures to my gardens. By planting flowers like ruby red penta, lantanta, milkweed, corkystem and porterweed, your Tropical Garden design will become a Sanctuary overnight.
9. Tropical flowering trees- As a member of the tropical flowering tree society, I get to exchange horticulture information with tropical flowering tree collectors from around the world. As a designer, one of my favorite trees to plant for my clients is the Joy Perfume tree. Loaded with jasmine scented white blooms, this tree is a focal point of any Tropical Garden Design.
10. Exotic flowers- No tropical garden design would be complete without exotic flowers like monkey brush, passion flower and the bat plant. The bat plant flower from Thailand is over 20″ long from the top of the hood to the base of it’s whiskers.