Whether it is a draping palm plant or a rough, leather-like cactus, many home gardeners want to include tropical plants in their yard or indoor garden. The plants offer a chance for some to see unusual species that they may not otherwise get to observe or care for. Tropical plant care, for blooming or non-blooming plant species, is generally not too difficult as long as you meet the plant's basic needs.
Fertilizer will likely be needed at some point, even with the best or most organic of potting soils. Plants will use nutrients in the soil and they will need to be replaced from time to time. Generally, a 20-10-10 fertilizer should be used for non-blooming plants and a 15-30-15 should be used for flowering tropicals. Follow all label directions, but fertilizing as often as once a month is recommended, especially if using a liquid fertilizer.
While many tropical plants require a great deal of light, some species do not. Some plants, for example, live underneath forest canopies and have therefore adapted to reduced light situations. Low and medium light plants include the snake plant and the white bird of paradise. Plants requiring full light include ficus plants and the spider plant. Palms may or may not require full light. Always research your species of choice before choosing a location.
The light required will often help you determine the best location for your plant. For example, a low light plant would do well by a north window, where it receives the least amount of direct sunlight possible. You could place a plant requiring a moderate amount of light near a north, east or west window. That way it only gets light for part of the day as well. A south-facing window is the best choice for plants requiring full light, and you may even need to provide a supplemental light source during the winter. More light generally encourages bloom formation in blooming species.
Even choosing the type of light for a tropical plant may require some research. If you have a blooming tropical plant, then use high-pressure sodium bulbs, which produce a more intense light at the red end of the spectrum. If your plants do not bloom, use a metal halide bulb, which produces more intense light at the ble end of the spectrum and promotes vegetative growth.
Though you may be tempted to water your tropical plants almost every day, be careful. Just like the lighting requirements, water requirements will also be very different. Some plants, such as those native to rain forests, may require a very wet, high humidity area. You may need to wait for others to have a dry soil before watering again. Always check your plant's documentation for watering requirements.