New in the Nursery: Tropical Plants for the Patio


Since summer temperatures currently feel tropical all over the US and we’re headed into another month of warm weather, we thought we’d share some of our favorite tropical plants that are in the nursery right now. The best part? While they thrive outside, once fall arrives, these bold, hardy plants will be just as happy indoors. We chatted with Kerry Ann McLean from our green goods team to get her expert tips on keeping these beauties happy all year long.

1. Kimberly Queen Fern, ‘Nephrolepis obliterata’: A tropical fern that can bask in partial sun but will show stress if allowed to dry completely. It’s best to keep the surrounding soil and air around your plant as moist as possible. Try a pebble tray to “up” the water content of the air within your plant’s immediate sphere but don’t allow it to sit in standing water or plant into water-logged soil. Like other tropicals, a Kimberly Queen fern must be tucked inside before the first frost of the season. Sometimes referred to as the “sword fern” for its upright fronds, the Kimberly Queen fern sheds less than their Boston fern cousins and keep a less sprawling form.

2. White Bird of Paradise, ‘Strelitzia nicolai’ (mature): While the white Bird of Paradise produces a gorgeous white, steel blue, and blueish-purple flower that looks like a hummingbird launching from its perch, it’s best known for its stateques leaves and upright architectural habit. These grow into large plants with leaves that are adapted to tear in wind (this is normal) and do not need to be removed unless browning or if the entire leaf stem breaks. Tolerant of neglect, Bird of Paradise plants should receive regular hydration but can bear some dryness between waterings. Provide shade from hot afternoon sun.  

3. Alocasia ‘Regal Shield’:
A hybrid of Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’ and Alocasia odora, the Regal Shield boasts improved cold hardiness (though still much too tender for the Northeast region) and a more captivatingly complex color story than the average elephant ear. Bulbs should be lifted and stored for winter or the plant should be grown inside as an exotic houseplant in a bright window. When outside, protect it from hot, direct sun. For a striking contrast, combine with other foliage plants that are more filigree-like, i.e. a fern.

4. White Bird of Paradise, ‘Strelitzia nicolai’ (young): See 2.

Ready to add a tropical touch to your patio with some new plants? Find your local terrain nursery here and visit us soon!

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