Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Whether they’re used for entertaining or everyday use, tropical floral designs dazzle. Tropicals offer everything you could possibly want in flowers. They provide fruit-punch colors and bold lines.
Tropicals are great any time of the year. They’re a wonderful choice for summer parties. At the same time, these sophisticated stems can banish the winter blahs.
Most tropical flowers will have a vase life of at least one to two weeks. Depending on the species, some can last even longer.
When working with tropicals, the style of the design is an important consideration. A contemporary design or minimalist approach often works very well. This is because they showcase the unique features that tropicals have to offer. Ikebana would also be a very appropriate choice as well.
Tropicals can be used in combination with ordinary, non-tropical cut flowers. Because many tropicals tend to be so distinctive, they’re best used as an accent in mixed arrangements.
There are subtle ways you can work tropicals into traditional designs. For example, if you’re doing a monochromatic display using different varieties of pink flowers, include stems of the pink urn plant, a type of bromeliad.
Because many tropical flowers are asymmetrical, the stems are often used for informal arrangements and bouquets.
With tropicals, a simple approach works very well. Just place a bunch of flowering ginger stems in a vase of water. With flowers like these, adding other floral materials can seem distracting.
Some tropicals look nice scattered in a bowl or shallow dish of water. Examples include the hibiscus. In the case of some tropicals, try cutting the individual blooms from the stem. This works well with the papery blooms of the bougainvillea. Then, place these on top of the water.
There are many kinds of tropical flowers that are sold as cut stems. These include all of the flowering gingers and related species, such as the torch ginger. A number of the bromeliads are used as flowering cuts as well. These include guzmania and the urn plant.
Anthuriums need no introduction. These are available year-round. Rattlesnake or calathea is related to the prayer plant. The shape of the flower is reminiscent of the rattle on a rattlesnake’s tail. The blooms are also a distinctive color—light green. They have a vase life of about ten days.
When it comes to tropicals, don’t ignore the obvious—the pineapples. The flowering/fruiting stems of the ornamental pineapples are used as cut flowers. These have highly colored foliage and tiny baby pineapple fruits.
In addition to tropical flowers, consider tropical foliage as well. These are often highly variegated or brightly colored. Examples include the prayer plant, copperleaf, Swiss cheese plant, variegated ginger, anthurium, peacock plant, sago palm, striped dracaena, New Zealand flax, variegated umbrella tree, and the variegated arrowhead vine.
The leaves of the bird-of-paradise have a twisted or curly appearance. These can be used either fresh or dried. They are available in natural colors as an everlasting. In addition, dyed ones are also available as well.