Gardeners told of tropical plant winter problems

Gardeners in the US have been told of the potential pitfalls of attempting to grow tropical plants in comparison to a bed of winter annual offerings.

Keen gardener Terry Wolfley writes for the News-Press in Florida that the cold winter nights have a particularly harmful effect on tender tropical plants, which can take years to correct.

He remarked that covering the plants only prolonged their destruction by a few nights, with Florida particularly prone to yearly spells of frost.

According to Mr Wolfley, fruit plants that generate apples, peaches and cherries are among those that are not practical to grow, while pineapples and guavas have a chance during cooler winters.

Although, he added that most blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and citrus fruits have the best chance of survival.

He explained: "When a crop of vegetables or a bed of winter annuals freezes, youve only lost three months of time, your labor, cost of plants or seeds, fertilizer and water.

"When an expensive tropical tree freezes, youve lost several years of time."

The Journal of Medical Entomology revealed last year that Isolongifolenone, a natural compound found in the Tauroniro tropical forest tree, is an effective mosquito repellent.