If you intend to enhance the privacy of your backyard, plants are a better alternative to walls and fences because of their aesthetic appeal. Plants create a pleasant, natural environment. Tropical varieties that thrive well in full sun and tolerate heat are ideal for open gardens or yards, and we've found those that are perfect for adding privacy to your outdoor living spaces.
The best tropical plants for backyard privacy include birds of paradise, bougainvilleas, bamboo, ferns, palms, and several other species. They grow at a relatively rapid pace that generally encloses areas quicker and are resistant to warm climates compared to other trees, shrubs, or hedges.
In this article, we will guide you through the various tropical plants and how they can provide a well-designed privacy fence. Please keep reading to learn more!
Tropical Plants: An Overview
Tropical plants are so called because they naturally grow and flourish in a region surrounding the Earth's equator, an area referred to as the "Tropics."
They require consistently warmer and humid environments that are characteristic of their natural habitat. Most, but not all species do well in direct sunlight and generally thrive well with temperatures over 64 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celcius).
Bamboos, ferns, banana plants, palms, hibiscus, bougainvilleas, calla lilies, cannas, orchids, and bromeliads are just some tropical plants commonly included in gardens and landscapes.
Inasmuch as all tropical plants develop in the same warm and humid climate, they are very diverse. Trees, shrubs, vines, and numerous flowering plants coexist in a forest-like setting but grow under different conditions.
To illustrate, orchids and bromeliads usually attach themselves to tree surfaces and remain under the canopy, as such, they prefer shaded areas and do not tolerate direct sunlight well.
Palms, ferns, and bamboos on the other hand grow well in sunlit areas and actually need six to eight hours of exposure a day.
Full Sun Tropical Plants
Tropical plants are an excellent choice for privacy structures since they grow fast and most varieties are self-propagating. They require low maintenance and grow well in most soils. The plants we've featured below are highly recommended for full sun and could add privacy to your backyard.
Bird Of Paradise
The outgrowth of the plant resembles a tropical colorful bird, hence the name, but is actually closely related to the banana species. It features a red, yellow, and orange flower with actively growing leaves that provide shade and adequate privacy to open areas like yards and gardens.
The plant needs direct sunlight, moderate moisture, adequate fertilizing, and high humidity.
Bougainvilleas can be grown as trees, bushes, or ornamental vines which render them a versatile choice for privacy. They have thick foliage and small white flowers surrounded by paper-like structures called "bracts," which give bougainvilleas their distinct character.
Combining several species would produce vibrant blooms in pink, white, yellow, purple, red, and orange to beautifully deter from any backyard partition.
Bougainvilleas thrive in full sun and can tolerate most soil conditions. You could moderately water and occasionally apply fertilizer to enhance their growth. Note that pruning stimulates the foliage to thicken further.
The canna lily plant features red, orange, or yellow flowers with tropical-like foliage that last once established. They are easy to grow and require low maintenance as long as they receive adequate light and heat.
Cannas can be combined with other plants since their soil demands and watering needs are relatively flexible and none too specific. Their beauty is best appreciated in group planting, especially when combined with dominantly green backdrops like ferns or bamboos.
Jasmine vine is a perennial plant that produces pink, ivory, white, and yellow flowers. It is native to tropical regions, and it can either be grown as a vine or a bush, making it an ideal option for a privacy fence.
The plant itself requires a bit of maintenance, particularly when grown as a vine. It is important to train newly formed growth by providing climbing structures such as fences and trellises.
All varieties prefer full sun to partial shade and must be grown in well-draining soil. Apply fertilizers during spring just before newly-formed shoots appear. Prune the tip of your established plant to promote growth and lush foliage.
The Mandevilla plant is a vine that certainly adds visual appeal. It features lush foliage with pink, white, yellow, or red trumpet-shaped flowers. That said, it is an ideal choice or material for any landscape design including a privacy fence, patio, and other garden structures.
Mandevilla is relatively easy to care for. It prefers to be planted in well-draining soil mixed with plenty of organic matter. In the summer, apply fertilizers with high phosphorus content to encourage blooming. They generally thrive and produce vibrant flowers when placed in areas where they receive full sunlight.
Apart from this, pinching or pruning is relatively important to promote a bushier plant. You can do this by simply pinching the tips of the stems (a half inch) using your finger.
Bamboo has been widely used as a privacy fence in various residential areas. It is known for its versatility since it can thrive in various growing conditions. However, for your bamboo to grow best, plant it in well-draining, slightly acidic soil.
Some varieties (running bamboo) grow rapidly and can be quite aggressive when placed in areas where they receive full direct sunlight, so it is still best to know which species you own. Make sure to choose the clumping cultivar rather than the invasive one.
Ferns are hardy plants that can tolerate extreme weather temperatures (during the winter and summer seasons), making them an ideal choice for a privacy fence. You can even begin with your own landscape design, using ferns as your backdrop because they make excellent companion plants.
They are relatively easy to care for since they can thrive in environments where other plants do not. Adding a layer of mulch and regular watering is necessary only amidst long dry spells.
Palms are also an excellent choice for a privacy fence. Most varieties will only grow up to 7 feet tall, making them an ideal plant structure for backyard enclosures.
Newly-planted palms must be watered regularly, while established cultivars require less hydration.
During the first months, do not let the soil be completely dry in between waterings, however, avoid overwatering since they do not prefer to sit in wet soggy environments. It is preferable to plant them in alkaline soil amended with sulfur-based fertilizer
How To Plant And Combine Tropicals?
There are certain factors you need to consider before actually growing tropicals as a living privacy fence to optimize their function and appearance.
It is possible to grow and develop only one type of tropical plant to provide privacy but combining several varieties add depth, color, and contrast.
Pick plants recommended in the list above since they have basically the same requirements and tolerate sunlight and heat well.
To illustrate, you can use two rows of bamboo so that the overlap can create denser foliage and provide more privacy. You can supplement this by planting jasmine vine, birds of paradise, and other perennials to highlight the overall design and to provide aesthetic visual appeal.
Note that a different variety of the same plant can exhibit a different growth pattern. For instance, dwarf palms grow relatively smaller than regular cultivars. It is best to use the latter since it reaches a height of 7 feet, making it ideal as a privacy fence.
You can plant bougainvilleas or jasmine vine to fill the gaps between the trees.
Avoid Invasive Tropicals for Easy Maintenance
Avoid plants that are invasive since they may require heavy maintenance. For instance, certain types of bamboo grow rapidly and require regular pruning, choose the clumping variety instead. Birds of paradise and ferns are also good options since they grow relatively fast and need minimal maintenance.
A living fence creates a refreshing look while providing a natural barrier. A wide range of tropical plants may be used singly or in combination to accomplish this. We hope this article helped you with providing ideas for your next landscape design.
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