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Gardening with Tropical Plants

Course CodeAHT109
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Study  Gardening with Tropical Plants

  • in greenhouses
  • protected garden spaces
  • indoors or
  • in warmer climates.

It provides a good first step for anyone new to serious horticultural study, whether amateur gardeners, volunteers or aspiring professionals.

 Note - This course is based on our CPD "Tropical Plants" course - adapted to be more suitable for entry level students.

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
  2. Plant Cultural Practices
  3. Tropical Annuals, Perennials, Bulbous Plants, Bamboos and Lawns
  4. Tropical Gingers, Heliconias and Related Plants
  5. Cordylines, Palms and Cycads
  6. Tropical Climbers, Shrubs and Trees
  7. Orchids, Ferns, Aroids and Bromeliads
  8. Tropical Food Plants
    • Herbs
    • Vegetables
    • Fruit
  9. Growing Tropical Plants Outside the Tropics
  10. Landscaping with Tropical Plants

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


LEARN HOW GARDENING WITH TROPICAL PLANTS CAN BE DIFFERENT

Any plant that comes from a tropical area is adapted to growing in those tropical conditions. That often means hot, humid and wet conditions; but it can also mean extreme dryness, extreme fluctuations between dry and wet, different light conditions, or something else.

The following are some of the problems commonly encountered by the home gardener when growing a tropical plant: 

Size of plants

Labels on nursery plants can also be deceptive as they may be designed to encourage sales to a public which dislikes large plants; and may be written with a particular regional market in mind; but then get used in a much cooler area. Check them carefully and you should be aware that books and labels are not always correct, or they may apply to other areas. For example, the Blueberry Ash (Eleocarpus reticulatus)  grown in Cairns (Northern Tropical Australia), is a very large tree, eventually reaching heights of over 20m, in sub-tropic Brisbane (Australia), the same plant may only grow 10 m when planted into a garden, and in a temperate greenhouse it may be grown as a large potted plant (smaller again). Umbrella trees are grown all over the world as indoor potted plants, perhaps 1.5 or 2 metres tall; but in the forests they come from, they commonly grow over 8 metres tall.

 

Safety with plants

Don't plant large trees too close to power lines or buildings   the maintenance of these trees in the future could become very high, and they may eventually pose serious safety problems.

Growing In Pots

When grown in pots the quality of potting media varies widely, always use the best quality potting medium.  Potting medium can also become ‘air dry’ (hydrophobic) with age or if allowed to dry out, it also loses nutrients through leaching (due to watering). All of these things need to be considered if you are growing plants in pots or similar containers. 

Growing Indoors

When growing plants indoors (as is often the case with tropical varieties you also need to consider the type of microclimate you can create. Tropical plants generally prefer warm humid conditions. The smaller the greenhouse, glasshouse or conservatory the more difficult it may be to maintain this microclimate. Over watering or under-watering can also present problems by introducing fungal disease or causing plants to dry out and die. 

 

Types of plants used

Bamboo, rubber plants (Ficus sp.) and some other species can cause damage to paths, buildings, pipes etc. Problems of this kind serve to emphasise the need to plan a garden   as this will, naturally, involve considerations of where to put various species, what species to use and what will be required to care for them.

Watering

Over watering many tropicals in winter can often lead to root rots. If they are not growing and the water isn't evaporating, the plant may not need much water at all.

Frequent light watering in summer will cause roots of large trees to come to, or develop at, the surface. This can lead to paths, buildings etc. being damaged. Other problems from improper watering may include increase susceptibility to drought by developing only surface roots. Also, over-watering can damage plant health, soil structure, nutrient availability, and cause still other problems such as fruit splitting, etc.