Winter hardy tropicals need a few care steps to ensure they make it through our rough, canadian winters. Follow these simple steps and you can keep your plants for years and years.
1) Choosing the right spot to plant:
a) Soils: These plants enjoy nourishing soil, but because our springs can drag on for what seems like forever, this can be hard on the roots of your tropical. Choose a spot with fast drainage, like on a hill or planted in sand. If you do not have the ideal soils, feel free to add a bag of horticultural sand to the planting hole.
b) Location: All of the winter hardy tropicals we have enjoy the full sun, but because they are tropical they also enjoy a spot that is sheltered from North and West winds in the winter time. If you have to make a choice, allow the plant to loose an hour or two of sunlight if it means that it will be more sheltered in the winter months.
2) Choosing the right fertilizer:
Most winter hardy tropical plants are something that plant nerds refer to as “monocots”. This means that they have different nutrient requirements than most garden plants, and require special fertilizers. Don’t worry this is not a huge expense, you can buy a package for $3.99. Ask garden your garden centre representative.
3)Mulching around your tropical every fall. You will want to create a doughnut of mulch around the base of your tropical. None of the mulch should touch the stem of the plant, but rather be an inch or two from the stem (rotting wood on wood makes more rotting wood). Make sure the mulch is at least 3″ thick. This will insulate the ground and ensure that it freezes thoroughly, but does not freeze and thaw every time mother nature changes her mind.
4) Covering with a shrub cover between January and March. Again, not to worry a shrub cover runs about $5.99. When you cover your tropical you want to keep in mind that you are not trying to keep the shrub warm, rather you are trying to insulate it so that it remains frozen. It is very hard on plants to thaw and freeze numerous times in the winter, so a shrub cover mediates the weather and keeps it just right all winter long.