In late January, sunny Fort Lauderdale, Florida is the site of the Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition (TPIE). This event showcases the latest trends in tropical plants—plants that are destined to become popular in our Canadian climates as houseplants in winter and container or annual bedding plants for our summer gardens. Here are five tropical plant trends to watch for.
Blue orchids, anyone?
Thanks to their affordability and blooms that can last for several months, moth orchids (Phalaenopsis) have become one of the most popular houseplants on the market these days. These plants are bred using a process used by growers that creates colours that nature just can’t manage. ’Blue Diamond’, with its vibrant blue blooms, was a standout at the show, though it met with mixed emotions. As part of an expanding line, Colorfuze Orchids, grown by Plainview Growers of Pompton Plains, New Jersey, are a novelty item that will appeal to those who want something different. Two other colours featured were ‘Purple Fusion’, a deep, purplish-blue hue with a pale edge and ‘Lavender Mist’, light purple with dark veins. As the orchids mature, the colours fade to softer pastel tones. But, don’t expect them to re-bloom in the same colour—the second time around, its back to basic white.
Medinilla ‘Magnifica’ was voted the best new flowering plant for 2012 at TPIE, and with good reason. It is magnificent. With exotic, pendulous, powder-pink "flowers" (actually clusters of bracts) that can grow to about 50 cm, combined with handsome, oval, dark-green leaves, this gorgeous houseplant is a must-have. With proper care (lots of light, keep it on the dry side), the blooms can last for about two months. This stunning plant is grown by Northend Gardens in Jordan Station, Ontario. See the Medinilla website for more information.
Photos: Blue orchid courtesy of Plainview Growers, Medinilla courtesy of Northend Gardens.