As many of you know, I have a sizable collection of tropical plants at my Bedford, New York farm. Caring for these plants means following a strict schedule, particularly at the end of the warm season. During the colder months, these plants are all gathered, moved and stored in a special greenhouse down near the chicken coops, where temperatures and humidity levels can be closely monitored and adjusted when necessary.
Here in the Northeast, we woke up to freezing temperatures and another light layer of snow, this morning. Thankfully, in my tropical hoop house, where the temperatures range from the upper 50s to 80-degrees Fahrenheit, my warm weather specimens continue to thrive.
Enjoy these photos.
This is the plastic greenhouse where many of my tropical plants are now stored. They actually spend about seven months of the year in this heated shelter, but are checked every single day by my gardeners.
The plants are all arranged with enough space in between them, so they don’t touch each other.
The temperature in a tropical plant greenhouse should never drop below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and should always have very good air circulation. This enclosure has three ceiling fans and roll up side walls.
On one side is a row of bird’s-nest ferns, Asplenium nidus. Bird’s-nest fern is a common name applied to several related species of epiphytic ferns in the genus Asplenium.
It’s identified by the flat, wavy or crinkly fronds.
Bird’s nest ferns get their name because the center of the plant resembles a bird’s nest. It is also occasionally called a crow’s nest fern.
Cyathea cooperi is the Australian Tree Fern. Also known as the Lacy Tree Fern, it derives this name from its delicate fronds. It it has a slender trunk with distinctive “coin spots” where old fronds have broken.
Farfugium japonicum ‘Crispatum’ has gray-green flowing leaves. It forms a dense clump with upright arching foliage and grows up to two feet tall.
The leaves are round and ruffled, giving it a most interesting texture.
Its cousin, Farfugium japonicum ‘Aureomaculatum’, known as a Leopard Plant, forms an evergreen mound of large, rounded leaves, dark green in color, with unusual bright yellow polka-dots. Short spikes of yellow daisies may appear in late fall.
Jasminum polyanthum, also known as pink jasmine or white jasmine, is an evergreen twining climber native to China and Burma.
This is a banana plant, Musa. Though these grow as high as trees, banana and plantain plants are not woody and their “stem” is actually made up of the bases of the huge leaf stalks.
This is a bird of paradise, Strelitzia. The plant grows to more than several feet tall. It was first introduced to Europe by explorers in 1773, and has become a common ornamental plant in places that feature a warm climate year-round.
Nephrolepis obliterata is a large fern, which grows in rainforests upon rocks or in soil near lakes or streams native to northeastern Australia and New Guinea. It is considered one of the most beautiful among all ferns. It has large fronds and upright bushy and sword-shaped leaves.
Colocasia, or elephant ear, will switch energy resources in colder temperatures from producing leaves to flower and corm production.
Here is another Colocasia – I bring a number of these plants to Maine during the summer months.
Lady palms have broad, dark green, fan-shaped foliage on tall stalks. They need to get east-facing exposure, out of direct sunlight, and thrive in comfortable indoor temperatures around 60-degrees to 80-degrees Fahrenheit.
Hedera helix, commonly known as English ivy, is a vigorous, aggressive, fast-growing, woody evergreen perennial that is primarily grown as a climbing vine or trailing ground cover.
This is a staghorn fern, Platycerium. Staghorn ferns are valued for their highly variable and unusual growth habits. I keep several displayed on my large porch during warmer months.
Fatsia japonica is the most distinctive of all evergreens with large palmate leaves. The lobed leaves can reach 16-inches across and provide contrast in the shade garden. It can be grown in mass plantings on larger sites or as a specimen in smaller spaces.
Look at these large and interesting leaves.
This is a nasturtium. In Latin, nasturtium literally means “nose twist.” Nasturtiums have a peppery taste. Plus, it’s not just the flowers and buds that are packed with flavor; the young leaves are tender and edible as well.
I love the shape of its leaves.
The sago palm, Cycas revoluta, is a popular houseplant known for its feathery foliage and ease of care. This very symmetrical plant supports a crown of shiny, dark green leaves on a thick shaggy trunk that is typically about seven to eight inches in diameter, sometimes wider. I always look forward to when these precious plants come out of hiding in spring.