- How often do I water Tropical plants?
Most tropical plants need to be watered as the top few inches of soil dries to the touch. Some varieties, like mandevilla, hold up better to drying out than others. If your tropicals get too dry, they may drop flower buds and stop making new flowers until they get watered regularly again. All tropicals bloom best if they never stay too wet or too dry. Using a moisture meter to probe the soil is one way to know if it’s dry. You can also use a fingertip.
When watering tropicals, keep in mind the water is absorbed by the roots. Water the soil instead of sprinkling water on the leaves of the plant.
The best time to water is in the morning or early afternoon. Watering in the evening or nighttime can encourage disease in some varieties.
- How much light do Tropicals need?
Most tropical plants love hot sunny weather. They do best where they soak up the sun all day long, or get at least 6 hours of sun each day. When tropical plants don’t get enough sun, they may stop producing flower buds and grow leggy and weak. Afternoon sun with shade in the morning is better for most tropicals than afternoon shade with sun in the morning. This is because the afternoon sun is more intense.
- Should I fertilize Tropicals?
You will find you get more blooms and faster-growing tropical plants if you fertilize them. But most will grow fine without any fertilizer over the summer.
When choosing a fertilizer to use, look for a general-purpose fertilizer. You don’t need to use specialized bloom-boosters or other types of fertilizers. Always obey the instructions on the fertilizer label to know how much of the product to use and how often to use it. Never use more than the directions say, otherwise you could burn your plant roots, causing them to lose leaves or flowers or even potentially die.
There are main types of fertilizer. Time-release fertilizer slowly provides nutrients to your plants over time. We use this type to grow our plants. For most tropicals, you just use time-release fertilizers once a season when you plant. The other main type of fertilizer is called water-soluble. These fertilizers need to be used more frequently and provide lots of nutrients at once instead of slowly over time. Use water-soluble fertilizers as you water your plants, following the directions on the fertilizer package.