No tropical garden is complete without a giant alcantarea! Larger than a bushel basket, the rosette of strappy light green leaves eventually forms a towering red flower stalk with curving yellow bracts and ivory flowers. This evergreen perennial bromeliad is a lithophyte (growing among and upon rocks) native to the montane cliffs in extreme southeastern Brazil.
Each leaf is light green, occasionally with speckles or a casting of gray, and strap-like. It tapers to a soft point while the base...
Carol Cloud Bailey
(Alcantarea, Fragrant Alcantarea)
No tropical garden is complete without a fragrant alcantarea! Larger than a bushel basket, the rosette of strappy light green and silver-banded leaves eventually forms a towering red flower stalk with canary yellow flowers. This evergreen perennial bromeliad is a lithophyte (growing among and upon rocks) native to the montane cliffs in extreme southeastern Brazil.
Each pointed, strappy leaf is light green to silver with phantom bandings. It tapers to a soft point while the base of the leaf congregates...
Carol Cloud Bailey
A large, evergreen climber native to the tropical areas of Central and South America; purple allamanda is a striking addition to any frost-free landscape.
Pretty violet-shaded flowers are trumpet-shaped, very showy and appear all year in consistently warm climates. This vine has thin, arching, twining woody branches. The bark is brown, furrowed on mature stems and yellow-green on younger branches. These emit a milky irritating sap when broken. The leaves are elliptical in shape, slightly fuzzy,...
Gerald L. Klingaman
(Alocasia, Elephant Ear)
Beautiful dark leaves are the shining glory of Alocasia ‘Black Velvet.’ This smaller tropical elephant ear is adapted to the warm, moist areas of southern Asia. Some list this selection as a cultivar of Alocasia reginula but the parentage of this Borneo discovery is still unclear.
Evergreen in the tropics, 'Black Velvet' is a dwarf Alocasia, which grows via rhizomes (underground lateral stems) that branch to form large clumps. The leaves are roundly heart-shaped, dark greenish...
(Alocasia, Blue Lady Taro, Elephant Ear)
Alocasia is a genus of about 70 huge-leaved species of tropical plants native to the warm, moist areas of southern Asia. They are usually perennial evergreens and have large rhizomes (underground lateral stems) or bulbs. The leaves are roughly oval with lobes at the base. Some are arrow-shaped and all have the petiole (leaf stem) attached inside the leaf edge. Large, prominent, variously colored veins often decorate the leaves. The leaves top long, variously-hued petioles which grow directly...
(Alocasia, Elephant Ear, Green Shield Taro)
Grown for its beautiful, bright green, heart-shaped leaves with dark venation, 'Green Shield' is a vigorous elephant ear ideal for large garden spaces. First introduced in the Philippines, its thick leaves are quite leathery and can stand up to heavy rains better than many Alocasia with thinner leaves. This cultivar is likely the species, Alocasia clypeolata.
When weather is favorable, 'Green Shield' will flower sporadically throughout the year. Its Anthurium-like flowers...
Gerald L. Klingaman
(Alocasia, Elephant Ear, Hilo Beauty Taro)
The mottled leaves of this stunning Alocasia are unlike any other. Each huge, heart-shaped leaf is rich green with beautiful, irregular, greenish yellow blotches and gentle wavy edges. During the growing season, 'Hilo Beauty' produces spathe and spadex flowers, but these are not particularly showy and overshadowed by glowing foliage of this tropical gem. The parentage of this cultivar is unknown.
Ornamental taro is best grown in partial sun to partial shade with protection from scorching...
James H. Schutte
(Elephant Ear, Portodora Elephant Ear)
The eye-catching, upward facing leaves of 'Portodora' are rich green, spade-shaped and have wavy edges. This hybrid seedling resulting from the cross between Alocasia odora and Alocasia portei makes a superb architectural component to the shade border. During the growing season, spathe flowers appear but are generally overshadowed by this hybrid's majestic and imposing foliage. Stems are thick, fleshy and seemingly muscular as they hold the massive wavy-edged leaves.