Costa Farms


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Porchscaping: Tropical Style

You don’t have to live in the tropics to enjoy the look and feel of equatorial elegance on your own front porch. You just need the right plants! By Karen Weir-Jimerson

Screen with Palms

The wide airy leaves of palms make ideal screens for any front porch. Ferns and crotons add a mix of frilly, colorful, and leafy foliage. With a few plants and some colorful tablecloths and serving pieces, you’ll create a tropical paradise on your porch no matter where you are.

Color it Up!

Nothing says tropical vacation like boisterous linens, sea-hued containers, shell mulch, and standard dracaenas with adorable little topknots of foliage. These mini trees can be used as tabletop topiaries all summer long.

Channel the Tropics

The strappy foliage and citrus-color blooms of bromeliads add interest tropical punch to any porch. Use any large container (we used a wire urn), toss in a tea towel or a piece of burlap, and pack it full of plants. These beauties will bloom all summer long. Bring them indoors when the weather turns chilly, and you’ll be able to enjoy them a few months longer in a sunny spot.

Small-Space Foliage Festival

The joyous foliage of crotons (red, yellow, green, stripes!) adds instant pizzazz to any space. Here, a simple yellow bistro set is transformed with some colorful crotons, a bursting-at-the-seams red bromeliad, and a trio of colorful Hall pitchers. A exuberant hanging fern tops it all off.

Get Leafy with Croton

If you are looking for splashes of tropical color on your porch or patio, croton deserves a look. This beauty produces features varieties with drastically different leaves (long and strappy, almond-shape, crinkly and curvy). But all crotons display colorful patterns that would befuddle a chameleon, including leaves that are colored in red, yellow, orange, and black.

Go Compact

If your porch is on the small side, choose compact varieties of your favorite plants to add tropical ambiance without overpowering the space. ‘Compacta’ dieffenbachia has large generous leaves speckled and splotched with creamy yellow, but it doesn’t overstep its space.

Pick a Palm

Palms add instant tropical allure to any porch or terrace with leafy lushness. Majesty palms are one of the most readily available palms (and inexpensive!), so getting several for your tropical porchscape won't break the bank. They love moist soil and thrive happily in shade or partial shade. They can live outdoors in Zones 10-11, but elsewhere they can be brought indoors and enjoyed all winter.

Blast Color with Bromeliads

Some bromeliads can handle full sun and others prefer shade. This makes them ideal for porches that receive varying types of light throughout the day. Keep bromeliads moist, but not wet. The flowers will last for months, but when they fade, the mother plant will also start to decline. Look for baby bromeliads at the base of the plant.

Add Container Pizzazz

Consider festive tableware when looking for containers for your front porch plantings. Classic Fiestaware plates and bowls come in a wide range of happy colors that compliment tropical plants such as bromeliads or dracaena.

Plant Like The Rainforest

Tropical landscapes are known for their wide mix of leaf and flower diversity. You can achieve a similar look by adding porch plants that display a variety of leaf forms. A Majesty palm with long leaves looks stunning when paired with a lacy-leaf Boston fern. Varying leaf types (even if they are all green) builds textural drama on your porch.