Tropical plants are from sunny, warm regions. Growing tropical plants in the landscape is difficult when you live in a region that experiences a winter frost. Proper nutrition and care is necessary to help your tropical plant survive the summer and winter, especially if the plant requires movement in and outdoors.
Keep tropical plants indoors when you live in a cool region. A good potting soil is required to provide nutrition to the plant. Use a commercial potting mix that is porous and is of good quality. A high-quality potting mix usually contains a slow-release fertilizer, says Texas A&M University. Slow-release fertilizer fulfills the nutritional requirements of the plant during the first few months.
Tropical plants are generally moderate feeders. Check the plant variety for its nutritional requirements. This information is usually available on the tag that comes with the plant. Contact your university extension when in doubt of the plant's nutritional needs. Tropical plants require the three major nutrients required of all plants: nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P) and potassium (K).
Apply a water-soluble fertilizer to the plant regularly. Water-soluble fertilizers are quick release, meaning they immediately supply the nutrients to the plant. Most water-soluble fertilizers contain an N-P-K ratio of 20-20-20, meaning 20 percent by volume of each element. Mix the fertilizer and apply according to the packaging instructions. Some plants will require a feeding every two weeks. Apply every two weeks between March and September as a general rule. No feeding is necessary during the winter months.
Water is another nutritional requirement for tropical plants. Some plants require drier conditions than others, so look at the tag that comes with the plant or contact your university extension for information on watering requirements. Watering is not necessary when the soil feels moist to the touch. As a general rule, apply water when the soil feels dry to the touch. Stick your finger into the soil to a depth of 2 inches to see if water is required.
Light and Temperature
Check the light and heat requirements for your tropical plant so it receives the correct amount of light to feed it. Light requirements between plants vary as well. Locate information on the intensity, duration and quality of the light the plant requires. High light plants need a southern exposure window, while low light plants need a location away from a window during the summer. Most tropical plants require a temperature between 70 and 80 degrees F during the day and 60 to 68 degrees F in the evening.