Tropical plants can be some of the most beautiful, yet difficult, plants to raise. These plants tend to live in areas of a limited geographical range. Therefore, growing tropical plants outside of these native areas often involves understanding what the species requires and making sure those needs are met as effectively as possible. If this is done, tropical plants can grow successfully over many years and in many different environments.
Understand the soil type that is required based on the species of plant chosen. Subtle variations among the plants do exist and should be carefully considered. For example, banana trees prefer a soil pH of between 5.0 and 7.0, but lemon trees grow best in soil with a pH of between 6.0 and 7.0.
Consider the sun or shade requirements for certain plants. Not all tropical plants can thrive in the full sun, but other tropical plants may require it. This should also be part of your research before proceeding with the planting of a tropical plant.
Wait until the temperature has reached at least 65 degrees to plant tropicals outdoors; the growth of tropical plants typically stops below this temperature. The closer the temperature is to freezing, the more danger there is and, depending on the plant's cold tolerance some may even die before the freezing point.
Test the soil pH with a testing kit that can be purchased at most garden shops or farm supply shops. Once this is done, you can compare the soil pH with your desired species to see if it is acceptable.
Change the soil pH if needed. For most tropical plants, you will likely need to make the soil more acidic. Products such as organic mulches, some types of peat and sulfates can lower pH, which is another way of saying making the soil more acidic.
Dig a hole approximately twice as large as the root ball of the plant you are planting. This helps give the root system plenty of space to spread out and also ensures that when it comes time to fill the hole with soil and water, there is an adequate amount of both.
Use plenty of water during the planting process. Water should be put in the hole after the plant and the hole should be filled approximately 75 percent full. Wait for that water to soak in and then alternate filling in soil and water.
Pack the soil in as you go, making sure to remove as many air pockets as possible. Mulch instead of using fertilizer. Wait until after the plant is established and showing growth to fertilize.