Jungle Music Palms and Cycads Nursery

Mon-Sat 9AM-4PM

Phone: (619) 291-4605
Fax: (619) 574-1595
Email:phil@junglemusic.net   

  Delivery for palm trees and cycads is available

  Delivery is available!

 

  credit cards accepted 

     

     Banner, tropical plants
TROPICAL PLANTS

Tropical Rainforest Plants That Look Great In The Garden

     

 SEE DISCOUNTED PLANTS                                                     

There are a multitude of types of tropical plants that blend nicely with palms or other trees and will add charm to almost any garden.  These "companion plants" add  different colors, textures, leaf patterns and appearances to the garden.  This article will present to you various tropical rainforest plants that blend nicely with larger trees that you have and add vivid color and diversity.  Almost all of the pictures below were photos of plants at our nursery.  Many say that the "garden is not done until you add companion plants".  This is because they mix well and can fit among the larger trunked out existing material in the garden.  This will be mostly a photographic tour.  I will only make brief comments about each group of plants and include information on culture where possible.

 

The tropical plants that I'm showing you below could be considered a "seasonal crop".  They are available only during certain times of the year.  This is particularly true with Ti's and Crotons.  In the spring season, we usually have the best color.  So, if anything in particular interests you, drop by to see what we have available or give us a call.  We're always searching for new rainforest type plants.  We can obtain many larger tropical trees that make big specimens, but these will be for another article some other day.

 

TROPICAL PLANTS

 COLORFUL TI PLANTS
Ti plants are a Cordyline and known for their lush colors  and are among the most sought after tropical plants.  These colorful plants give a wide range of colors for the garden and tolerate shade.  Some will take sun.  They originate from Asia and tropical islands.  They do have some susceptibility to cold and must be protected during the winter if you live in areas that see freezes.  We have found that they like good draining soil, average water and fertilizer, and filtered light with most species.  We have also found that those with darker colors such as dark red, black, or a combination of these colors do better over the long run.  Those with sherbet colors are more difficult to grow.  Ti's are one of the most colorful of the group of tropical rainforest plants.  Significant cold weather and freezes are hard on this group of plants. Over the seasons, colors and availability of these change. 

Ti, red Ti, red

 

Ti, sherbert          Ti, hawaiian

 

Ti, red                              T, bicolor

Ti, black Cordyline ti
Ti, tricolor Cordyline Tree
Ti, white Ti, red orange

 

ALOCASIA

Alocasia are a group of ornamental plants known for their foliage more than their flowers.  Some have very large leaves with striking colors.  Native to many areas of the world, these exotic plants give a different flair to the garden.  Many have tubers or rhizomes below the ground.  Some species are not cold hardy at all while others can live easily in Southern California.  Some species are dwarf tropical plants while others get up to about 10 feet.  Most prefer part day sun although a few take full sun.  Also, most prefer a frost free area.

Alocasia caladora Alocasia

  

Alocasia
Alocasia\

Alocasia wentii tropical plant Alocasia Alocasia tropical plant
Alcocasia species  Alocasia wentii 

COLOCASIA
Colocasia is a group of plants very similar and often confused with Alocasia.  These are known for their leaves not flowers.  Many have difficulty with cold temperatures but they are strikingly beautiful.  Included in this group is the sought after "Black Magic", as shown below.  This hybridized species
can have leaves that are almost black in color, blue on the underside of the leaves.

 

Colocasia antiquorum Calocasia black magic    
Calocasia black magic Calocasia black magic by Wayside Gardens website
photo by Wayside Gardens Website
   

 

PHILODENDRONS
This is a group of tropical foliage plants that typically take on two forms: rosette (confined) or climbing.  The first group form a smaller plant that doesn't crawl along the ground.  The second group put out growths that crawl the ground or can grow up palm trunks, fences or structures.  Most Philodendron prefer filtered light or shade.  The climbing type can be propagated from tip cuttings.  This group of plants is more known for their foliage than for any blossoms they might have.  There are quite a few species that thrive in Southern California. 

Philodendron red congo Philodendron black cardinal
Philodendron autumn Philodendron
Philodendron Philodendron elegans

 

Philodendron pigskin Philodendron pigskin
Philodendron cannifolia Philodendron cannifolium
philodendron  Philodendron species 
Philodendron species  Philodendron prince of orange 
Philodendron species  Philodendron species 
 
Philodendron leaf Philodendron xanadu

Philodendron leaf Philodendron stems
Philodendron giant leaf                   Philodendron species
Philodendron species Philodendron species
Orange Philodendron  Philodendron orange' 

 

EXOTIC ZAMIA CYCAD SPECIES
Zamia is a genus of cycads that are native to Mexico, Central America and South America.  They tend to be lush, green in color and exotic appearing.  Some have red, bronze or pink emergent leaves.  Some have plicated (deeply grooved) leaves with a rough surface reminding one of the Pringle Potato chip.  Most prefer filtered light and are of a smaller size.  Many are sensitive to frost or freezes.  All like good draining soil.  If you can grow any of these rain forest plants, they are definitely a great addition to the garden.  As with any genus of cycads, they are very rare and tend to be more expensive than other tropical plants.   Shown below are photos of a few of these wonderfully beautiful plants.

Zamia skinneri                 Zamia elegantissima                     Zamia cremnophila
Zamia splendens Zamia dressleri Zamia kickxii
 
 

BROMELIADS
This group of plants are sometimes called "air plants".  This is because they are epiphytic plants (live on other plants without hurting the host plant) and can survive with only rainwater in the wild.  There are avid collectors of these plants and are many types.  We've found that Nerogelia are quite accommodating to the garden because they give color in shady locations and need minimal care.  The clustering Nerogelia below takes coastal sun, which makes it even more red.  It is possible to get hybrids in brilliant red, pink, orange and yellow.  Guzmania and Tillandsia are other types to consider.  Also, when available, the Vreisia imperialis is quite striking and of good size (photo bottom left, purple color).  Along with the Ti plants, Bromeliads are among the more colorful tropical plants. 

Nerogelia hybrid nerogelia, hybrid

 

Nerogelia red clustering  nerogelia bromeliad


Vriesia  Guzmania

Bromeliad species  Bromeliad species 

Vriesia Vriesia striped
Vriesia imperialis  
nerogelia red tilandsia 

RAVANALA MADAGASCARENSIS, THE TRAVELER PALM 
This plant is known by many but is not actually a palm at all.  It looks like one but is more closely related to banana or Birds of Paradise.  It is unique in that the foliage grows in one plant, i.e., it is flat plant when looking from one side.  It is quite common that people visit the tropics and see this unusual plant and call us to see if they can get one.  The Traveler Palm is not particularly cold hardy.  It prefers sun.  If you get colder than 32 degrees F., it is a risky plant for you.   Also, there is the wives tale that plants should be planted East-West to maximize sun exposure. 

Traveler Palm Ravanala  


Ravanala madagascarensis

 

FERNS
Ferns are a group of plants that typically prefer filtered light.  They make ideal companion plants, easily fit between larger plant species like palms.  There are many forms and varieties of ferns including some that even make trees that are over 30 feet tall.  There are also very ornamental smaller plants.  Ferns tend to like moist conditions with adequate water.  Like orchids and Bromeliads, ferns can be grown in trees.  The Birdsnest Fern below was mounted into a tree along with epiphytic orchids.  The Brentwood Tree Fern in the picture below is my garden and has over 25 feet of trunk.  From time to time we Brentwoods available.   

Blechnum Fern Epiphytic Ferns
Brentwood Tree Fern in Garden
Mature Brentwood Tree Fern
Birdsnest Fern

Blechnum Fern  Blechnum 
Brentwood tree fern
Brentwood Tree Fern
 
 

CROTON:
Crotons are colorful tropical plants with either thin leaves or broad leaves, but typically bright colors like yellow, orange, red, etc.  They like warm conditions and are susceptible to cold.  They are native to Asia and the tropical islands.  They are extremely popular in tropical areas because of their vibrant colors.  They are typically smaller plants, hardly ever over six feet of height.  They can be used as house plants.  For those of us in Southern California, the main threat is a cold winter which causes leaves to discolor, droop or fall off.  We do intermittently carry a variety of Croton but try to warn customers about the cold threat.   As far as rainforest plants go, the Croton are unequaled for tropical color. 

Croton, curley Croton, Oak Leaf

 

Croton Croton

 

DRACAENA DRACO, THE DRAGON TREE:
Dracaena are a type of plant that is popular as a houseplant.  However, there is one species that makes a magnificent tree:  Dracaena draco.  It becomes a blue gray tree that branches and gets to about 20 to 25 feet when totally mature.  The foliage and the shape of the leaves are its hallmark.   From time to time we carry nice Dragon Trees in 25g or 24 inch box sizes.   The trunks are very beautiful.  They don't require a lot of water and enjoy heat.  They can fit into a tropical garden or a succulent garden and really look at home.

Dracena draco Dracena draco
Dracena draco trunk Dracena draco


ANTHURIUM:
As a group, Anthurium  is a diverse group of plants known for either their blossom or foliage.  The most common type are the 'boy flowers" which are commonly seen in blossom at general purpose nurseries.  Far more interesting are some of the plants more known for their foliage.  There are terrestrial bush forms of Anthurium as well as epiphytic plants that natively live high in the canopy and have hanging aerial roots.  Many people will include these plants in the general group called "Aroids".  There are many species which make great companion plants with their unusual tropical leaves. At the bottom you'll see a few of the classical flowering Anthurium, known more for their flowers than foliage. 

.

Anthurium brownii Anthurium species0

Anthurium Ed Moore Anthurium ed moore

Anthurium pink  Anthurium pink2 
Anthurium red-black Anthurium red flower 

HELICONIA:
Heliconia
are a group of tropical plants known mostly for their blossoms.  Many have heard of the "lobster claw" flower.  This is a reference to the Heliconia blossom.  The foliage is similar to a banana plant.  Blossoms can be upright or pendulant.  Heliconia can be dwarf plants or get quite tall, up to 15 feet or so.  They sucker and each stem will eventually blossom if conditions are right.  They light heat.  Some species will survive a freeze.  It is beyond the purpose of this article to show an array of Heliconia blossoms.  Rather, suffice it to say that I have researched as to which species will blossom for enthusiasts here in Southern California.  These species are the ones we grow and offer for sale.  Availability does change over time.  I'll show below some examples of 5g plants which we offer for sale.  This includes Heliconia subulatum, latispatha, lingulata, scheidiana, rostrata and a few others.  The first picture below is an example of a dwarf species that doesn't get over 3 feet.  When plants get to 15g in our nursery, it is not unusual to see them in blossom.

  

heliconia heliconia

heliconia HELICONIA ROSTRATA
Heliconia 15g heliconia blossom red
Heliconia blossom Heliconia blossom
Heliconia flower  
 


LIGULARIA:
Ligularia
are a group of Old World Plants that have leafy, typically "roundish" leaves and typical inhabit bogs and wet areas, mostly in Europe.  The leaves may be round, heart shaped, have serrated edges and can be variegated.  From time to time we get various forms for enthusiasts.  They all like damp conditions and can tolerate coastal sun or good filtered light.  An unusual characteristic is that, if they are subject to dry soil, the plants will become limp and actually lay down on the ground.  But, if they are promptly watered they will be erect in the morning as if nothing had happened.  Most species produce daisy -like flowers.  One we always have in stock is below with leaves similar to a Lilly.  Snails do like Ligularia.

Ligularia  Ligularia

 

Ligularia species  Ligularia leaf

SUCCULENTS:
Although not typical thought of as topical plants, if used in the right fashion many succulents can add a real charm to a tropical garden.  We've found that one of the best locations is right along the edge of a sunny pathway.  Succulents, if chosen correctly, stay small and have wonderful spring blossoms.  Also, their foliage is often interesting in color and texture.  Below are a few examples of smaller succulents that people have liked.  From time to time we offer smaller sizes of very interesting and colorful succulents.  The selection changes quickly over time.  If we don't have what you want, we can probably obtain it.  Succulents are fairly affordable and we can ship sampler packs of interesting succulents right to your door.
 

SUCCULENT
Succulent, assorted
Succulent
Succulent, assorted
Succulent assorted
Succulent, assorted
Succulent
Succulent, assorted
Succulent
Succulent, assorted
Succulent assorted
Succulent, Assorted
succulent  succulent 
succulent succulent 
Dudleya  Black Rose succulent 
Aftergrlow succulent  succulent 
   

ORCHIDS:
We don't carry a lot of orchids.  Growing of these plants is a specialty unto itself.  But, there is one that does quite well in the ground as a companion plant.  this is the Epidendrum Orchid.  As opposed to most orchids which are epiphytic and live in trees, the Epidendrum can survive in he soil.  Different varieties have red, orange, purple, white and other colors.  They like sun along the coast.  We usually have a limited number of these orchids available. 

Epidendron Orchid orchid
Orchid   

 

PLUMERIA:
This is a flowering tree that gives exotic flowers of many colors.  Sun is needed to promote flowering.  Plants do not tolerate freezes.  Blossoms are all colors of the rainbow.  An older plant will branch and can reach a height of 15 feet or more.  Below is a picture of a Plumeria blossom.   From time to time we offer various colors of this tropical plant.

Plumeria blossom Plumeria


BEAUCARNIA RECURVATA, THE PONY TAIL PALM, ELEPHANT FOOT PALM:
This plant is known for its swollen base.  It is not a palm at all.  It's woody base can get eight feet or more across after many decades of growth.  It does produce white flowers from the apex.  It is popular because of the peculiar swollen base.  These slow growing plants are quite peculiar in appearance and can be used as a houseplant
in a sunny location.

Becaurnia recurvata Becaurnia

Beaucarnia recurvata Beaucarnia recurvata
Becaurnia  becaurnia revurvata 
 

PACHYPODIUM, THE MADAGASCAR PALM:
This plant, like others before it, is not a palm either.  But, somehow it has come to be known as a "palm".  It is a spiny succulent plant, typically from Africa.  They like heat, sun and to not be watered when cold.  They do produce white flowers.  This is an example of a plant that fits well into either an area of a tropical garden or a succulent garden.  Their trunks can be quite interesting.  

pachypodium          Madagascar Palm               Pachypodium

COFFEE ARABICA, THE COFFEE TREE:
We grow Coffee Trees and yes, you can actually get coffee beans in many areas of  coastal Southern California.  We have trees up to about 7 feet tall.  They have gorgeous white flowers and the fruit (surrounding the bean) are red.  Also nice is they have shiny green leaves and make good house or patio plants.  Ideal for Coffee Trees is filtered light.  They have difficulty with full hot sun.  Below are pictures of young plants.  Although typically thought of as a tropical plant, Coffee can be grown in some temperate regions.

Coffee Tree coffee tree           Coffee Tree


GINGER:
On occasion we do have Ginger Plants available.  I personally prefer some of the very hardy Hedychium which give beautiful and fragrant blossoms.   Below is a picture of a beautiful variegated Ginger.  But, this doesn't take cold weather that well.  It is known for its foliage, not the blossoms.  The Hedychium blossoms on the contrary are superb.  There are lots of tropical rainforest Gingers, and many can grow in Southern California.  We have three or four different types of ginger, some super-fragrant.  The last three photos are a favorite of mine, Hedychium gardnerianum.

Ginger ginger
Ginger variegate Shell Ginger Ginger, variegated Shell Ginger 
Hedychium ginger  Hedychium gardnerianum
Hedychium gardnerianum  Hedychium gardnerianum 


CANNA LILIES:
When weather warms up and they are in flower, we try to obtain and sell an assortment of Cannas.  The foliage dies back a bit during cold weather but come back strongly when it warms up.  The blossoms are very nice.  There are many colors and types available in season.

Canny Lily


 Canna Lilly

 Canna Lily  
 

TROPICAL TREES:  From time to time we get in some flowering tropical trees.  This includes such types as Spathodea, Schizilobium, Tabebuia, Chorisia, and others.  Below is a Spathodea which gives gorgeous orange flowers and is easy to grow in Southern California. 

  Spathodea 

ENSETE AND BANANAS Most people know of the "Red Banana".  This is actually an Ensete, not a Banana.  Shown below are examples.  We presently have

the fruiting type of banana, Cavendish, available.     

Ensete ventricosum      

PANDANUS SPECIES, THE SCREW PINE:
There are many types of this unusual plant.  It gets its name from the fact that emerging leaves swirl around the trunk in an ascending fashion, giving it a "screw" appearance.  Trunks tend to be shiny and appealing.  Some species survive in Southern California and can get up to 20 feet or more.  Many have large arial roots at the base making them a type of "stilt plant".  There are two species we particular recommend, Pandanus utilus and furcatas.   A small example of Pandanus odoritissima is pictured below, which also grows in our locality.  Unfortunately, there are many species which don't survive here.

Pandanus Pandanus utilus
 
Pandanus leaves Pandanus furcatus 
Pandanus utilus  

DASYLIRION LONGISSIMUM (Mexican Grass Plant):
There are multiple species in the genus Dasylirion.  The most common is the Mexican Grass Plant.  It is a sun loving plant with long, tubular, round, thin leaves.  It looks much like a green "pom pom".  They will form a short trunk over many years and are quite cold hardy.   Although they appear to be a cycad, they are not.  We have two species of Daylirion available,
longissimum and wheeleri (blue plants, third photos below).

 

Mexican Grass Plant  Mexican Grass Plant 

Dasyliron wheeleri

SANSEVIERIA, THE MOTHERS-IN-LAW TONGUE PLANT
This group of plants are a suckering plant with long, blade like leaves coming from the soil.  They are fairly cold hardy, don't take much water and prefer filtered light.  They are easily adaptable to interior environments and are slow growing.  There are various species in this group.  All are easy to grow.  It is not unusual to see plants with patterns on the leaves or variegation as shown.

SANSEVIERIA sanseveria
Sansevieria hallii Sansevieria hallii
 


DRACENA
SPECIES
This is a group of plants that has a wide range of appearance and are a very popular house plant.  Known as the Corn Plant, they are typically upright growers getting up to about 8 to 10 feet tall.  The "Lucky Bamboo" Plant is actually a form of Dracena.  The Dragon Tree plant described above is also a type of Dracena.  But, the most common types are similar to the ones below.  They have soft leaves and a thin vertical stem.  They are very popular as houseplants and leaf appearances are different among the varieties and hybrids.

Dracena  Dracena 
Dracena  
 

 

TOO SEE ANY OF THESE TROPICAL PLANTS just drop by the nursery.  We'll show you what we have in stock.

TO MAIL ORDER ANY OF THESE TROPICAL RAINFOREST PLANTS, just give us a call.  We can ship almost any size plants.

Thank you for reading about our tropical plant companion plants.  We try to maintain a good selection of colorful rainforest plants and
unusual items for the garden.  If you are specifically searching for an unusual or specific item, feel free to contact me.

Phil Bergman

Jungle Music Palms and Cycads
Phone: 619 291 4605
Nursery Location: 450 Oceanview Ave, Encinitas, CA 92024
Email:  Click Here

 

 

Nursery Photo                     tropical plants
Assorted succulents  Assorted color 

 

LEARN MORE ABOUT TROPICAL PLANTS, PALMS & CYCADS: 
CLICK TO READ OUR PLANT BLOG

OR

READ ABOUT RARE PALM TREES

OR

READ ABOUT UNUSUAL TROPICAL CYCADS

 

JUNGLE MUSIC PALMS, CYCADS AND TROPICAL PLANTS

Nursery Location: 450 Ocean View Ave., Encinitas, CA 92024
Nursery Hours: 9AM - 4PM, Monday through Saturday
Phone: 619 291 4605
Email: phil@junglemusic.net
 


 

  Home Contents Palms Cycads Directions

  To be added to our mailing list click here. Receive quarterly species lists and announcements of Jungle Music's
famous Open House Sales!

Send mail to phil.bergman@junglemusic.net only with inquiries about Jungle Music nursery stock or mail order. Please see our
free
Palm Tree Help & Cycad Help Articles)

1997- Jungle Music Palms and Cycads
Last modified:

  All major credit cards accepted