Going to the tropics….

Winter finally arrived in the Northeast, so I left
town….temporarily anyway.  I traveled to
Costa Rica, the epitome of tropical rainforests.  I had full expectations of seeing amazing
things in the rainforest including monkeys, reptiles, birds and lush, tangled
foliage.  Costa Rica did not
disappoint.  I saw all those things many
times over.  What I didn’t anticipate was
the plethora of tropical flowering plants that clearly flourish in this consistently
moist environment. 

In case you are also in need of an escape from winter, enjoy
this mini, tropical getaway.  While these
plants clearly aren’t hardy in our zone, some of them would make pretty
houseplants!  I prefer the method of
traveling someplace warm during the winter months to enjoy seeing them in
One of the most popular plants in Costa Rica is the
Heliconia.  Often grown for the flower
industry, these flowers are amazingly colorful and architectural.  By looking at the images, you will understand
why the common names for Heliconia include lobster claw and false bird of
The amazing Heliconia

False Bird of Paradise

Lobster claw Heliconia
elatior, also known as ginger flower or porcelain rose, is another standout in
the Costa Rican landscape.  While edible,
I can’t imagine eating this flower when it’s so much more fun to admire.
A porcelain rose for sure
I would put red sealing wax palm (Cyrtostachys renda) in the ‘smart’ plant category.  Intolerant of temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit  (isn’t that smart?), it’s coveted for arresting bright red leaf stalks.  This ‘lipstick palm’ certainly contrasted beautifully against the deep blue of the pool.   
Lipstick Palm
The peach-colored
floral bells of Angel’s trumpets (Brugmansia) swayed gracefully in the breeze and
looked so elegant.  Apparently they smelled
liked rotten fruit though, which while not attractive to humans, was very
attractive to their pollinator – the bat! 
Angel Trumpets
I hope you have enjoyed this little escape from winter’s fury. When it’s cold outside, the world of tropical plants provides a perfect destination!  Don’t you agree?






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