Dreaming of Tropical Trees

Croton: real or a dream?
When the bright holiday lights fade and spring still seems years away, visions of palm fronds swaying in the warm tropical breeze enter our minds.

Jacaranda is an example of a tropical tree at the edge of its natural range here in Northern California.  Perhaps best suited as a multi-trunk tree, the fern like foliage softens the overall effect of a wide canopy.  The most striking characteristic of the tree is the purple blue flower that appears in summer.  True blue is a very rare color in the landscape and Jacaranda comes very close.

Crotons are over-the-top displays of color that squeal at the slightest temperature drop.  In their native habitat of Asia, they form oversized bushes that could be confused as trees if they stood alone.  The magenta and yellow leaves are the land equivalent of tropical fish.  The best we can do in the SF Bay Area is grow them indoors.

Your garden will forgive you if the weeds start to pop up while you're dreaming of a tropical escape.