Hi everybody.

With the quiet hurricane season so far, there is plenty of time to add some great plants to your garden! How about adding some exotic tropical plants to your landscape? One of my favorites is a plant called the Travellers Palm. These graceful plants can add tropical spender to just about any garden. The plants boast huge leaves that resemble those of a banana tree. In fact, the Travellers Palm is not a palm at all but rather it is related to the banana family. The plant can grow upwards to 20 feet at a very rapid pace. My plant has withstood three hurricanes and several freezes but still always comes back hard and strong. I have to do some major trimming after a hurricane but the plant has a remarkable ability to revive itself and comes back looking better and stronger then before. My Travellers Palm is nearing that 20-foot mark as we speak.

The Travellers Palm has some unique history in how it received its name. Many years ago back in the pioneer days, people traveling long distances on foot did not have any of the conveniences we have today. Finding water was not as simple as going to the corner grocery store. Since these magnificent plants store abundant amounts of water in the base of their trunks, pioneer travelers could tap that water in the trunks of the tree and use it for drinking. That is how the name Travellers Palm came about. If you have ever have the opportunity to trim one of these trees, you will get nothing short of an unexpected shower!

A lot of people want a plant that gives them a great tropical look but they want something that will not grow really fast and stay small as long as possible. The sago Palm may be the answer. These plants are actually not palms at all but are actually considered a cycad. And the plant boasts a lacy appearance similar to a fern. These plants are very slow growers and will grow to around 10 feet. If you find a larger plant a nursery, they will be costly mainly because of how long it takes to grow them. They are very hardy and mine has survived 3 hurricanes and several freezes with flying colors. They will make a great addition to your exotic tropical landscape.

If you have a shady spot around your house and want a real treat, try a Bamboo Palm. The plant features a reed like appearance, hence the name Bamboo Palm. The plant gives the viewer the image of exotic bamboo with small palm leaves. The plant can grow from 6 – 10 feet and is hardy to just below freezing. I have one that has been in the ground for about 10 years and has also survived hurricanes and freezes with flying colors.

The next exotic tropical on the list is the Washingtonian Palm. This palm is a very fast grower that can easily get to heights of 60 feet. This plant does great during periods of drought and extreme temperatures. It can easily tolerate dessert heat into the 100-degree range. The plant also will survive in an area where soil stays moist.

Today’s Garden Tip: Bougainvillea plants can be rooted if you use cuttings that are semi-ripe. These cuttings can take as long as 4-6 weeks to root and are best kept outdoors. Take your softwood cuttings from new plant growth that has not yet formed into hardwood. Make your cuttings about 3 inches long with at least 3 leaves on the stem. Dip the cutting into a rooting hormone such as Rootone or another similar product and then place in a good quality planting medium that is suitable for new plantings. It is beneficial to place the cuttings in a covered environment similar to a mini greenhouse. Hardwood cuttings can also be used but will take as long as several months to root. This rooting process may take some time so be patient.

That’s all for this week and I hope you found the content useful and entertaining. I will see you next week for more great garden tips.

Joe Zelenak has more than 30 years experience in gardening and landscape. Send e-mails to hometowngarden@gmail.com or visit his Web site www.hometowngarden.com.

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