Tropical plants are typically grown for their lush foliage and exotic flowers. These plants are not frost tolerant and will die in extreme cold weather. In Green Bay, Wisconsin's United States of Agriculture hardiness zone 5, where winters usually dip below freezing, tropical plants must be grown in a greenhouse or as houseplants. And as most houseplants are from the tropics, Green Bay residents can enjoy the colorful leaves of tropical plants indoors year around.
Native to Southeast Asia, pothos is one of the hardiest and easiest to grow tropical houseplants. Grow pothos in a hanging basket or a where the long vine stems can display the lush variegated leaves. Pothos requires bright, indirect light at least eight hours a day such as from a north-facing window. Insufficient light will cause the leaves to shrink over time according the Plant Care (see ref. 2). Pale green leaves indicate your plant receives too much light. Keep the soil moist but not wet. Average household temperatures assure your pothos will thrive in your Green Bay home.
The large dark green leaves of the peace lily have made it a popular tropical plant to grow indoors. And if that weren't enough, this African native plant produces large white flowers during the growing season. Peace lily prefers moist, but not wet soil and high humidity. Place your peace lily pot on a tray filled with rocks and add water to increase the humidity around your plant or place it in a room with high-humidity such as a bathroom. Feed your peace lily with a general purpose indoor plant fertilizer in the spring and again in the summer according to Living House Plants. (see ref. 3) Mix your potting soil with equal parts peat moss to assure your plant has the nutrients and soil conditions it needs to survive.
Begonias grow in a wide range of sizes and colors and, as these plants are easy to hybridize, there are more cultivars to choose from every year. Begonias grow from canes, as small shrubs, from rhizomes, or fleshy underground roots, and it a variety of colors. Cane-type begonias are the most common type found in homes. Under the right conditions, these tropical plants grow to over 12 feet high, but according to Begonias.org, are usually kept much smaller. The leaves are spotted and shaped like a single angel wing. Small pink flowers bloom from this plant during the growing season. Grow your begonia in bright, indirect light and keep the soil moist but not wet and it will bring a taste of the tropics into your Green Bay home.