As one of the largest states in the Union, it's no surprise that Texas has a diverse climate. Texas is comprised of United States Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 6 through 11. In southern Texas, tropical plants can be grown outdoors year around. In central and northern Texas, true tropical plants should be sheltered from winter temperatures. Plants that require little maintenance and have large leaves and showy flowers will give your poolside Texas garden the tropical look you desire.
With its large, arching leaves, and low-maintenance, the banana plant is a popular tropical plant for growing near pools. It can be planted in the garden or a container, as long as there is good drainage. Although they grow as high as 15 feet tall, bananas aren't trees, but an herbaceous plant. The "trunk" is actually made of many compressed leaves. Bananas grow very quickly and with enough sunlight, will produce bananas in the spring. Throughout southern Texas, bananas can be left outdoors all yearlong. In the cooler northern areas of Texas, you will need to bring your banana tree indoors or winterize it by mounding 4 feet of mulch around the base of the plant. The adult banana plant will die back if it comes in contact with frost, but if the root ball is protected, will produce a new plant once temperatures warm in the spring.
For a tropical look around your pool, you can't beat cut-leaf philodendron. This evergreen plant grows slowly but can reach 10 feet in height and width when grown in partial to full sun. Cut-leaf philodendron is a tropical plant with large, deeply lobed green leaves and small, inconspicuous white flowers that bloom in the spring, according to Monrovia. For northern Texas gardens, grow this plant in a container so it can be moved indoors before the first hard frost. This plant will need consistently moist, but not wet, soil.
The large, papery flowers of the hardy hibiscus plant bloom throughout the summer months. This herbaceous shrub grows throughout Texas. For southern Texas, the tropical hibiscus is an option. These plants are very similar to hardy hibiscus except that they are evergreen and bloom almost year round. Both of these hibiscus varieties can reach heights of up to 6 feet high and 5 feet in width, and are an ideal addition to your poolside garden. They need full sun and consistently moist soil. The flowers bloom in numerous colors and will attract many hummingbirds to your garden. Hibiscus can be grown in a container or planted in the garden.
- Photo Credit pool image by palms from Fotolia.com Banana Tree image by SISS-Solutions.com from Fotolia.com tropical leaves image by green308 from Fotolia.com hibiscus image by photlook from Fotolia.com
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