Are all tropicals suitable for indoor growing?

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#1
Stupid question but what makes a tropical tropical? Is it purely zone? Can any zone 10 tree be overwintered indoors? Zone 9? Zone 8? I know indoor growing is not ideal, that's not really where I want to go with this.
Do some trees succeed only because they have waxy leaves for example?
 
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#3
So specific environments need to be considered. For example, California juniper is listed as zone 9, but wouldn't be considered a tropical. Is it the colder nights? Super high light requirements? Side tangent - there's a Banh Mi shop near me that's had some sort of juniper growing in It's front window for at least 10 years.
So one element to consider would be categories of indoor growth?
1. Indoors in window​
2. Indoors under grow lights​
3. Indoors in greenhouse set-up​
Anything else missing?
 

sorce

Nonsense Rascal
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#4
Surely not always that...most good indoor plants do well in low light....

Waxy leaf definitely.

The other day, I was thinking about how long it would take a plant to adapt to indoors, I think ficus is smart, a freak.

Sorce
 

Anthony

Masterpiece
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#5
First make sure the zone is free of frost -------- above 55 deg.F

Then look for a tree, that handles Dry season, no rain for 6 months.

Then provide around 2000 Lux [ candles - maybe 20,000 ? ]

So you are looking for deciduous Tropicals, with fine branching, small leaves and
maybe you need a Fustic or Tamarind or Pinus Caribbea/honduras mix.

Also a simple fluorescent bulb system alla Jack Wickle. His effort is on -line.
Good Day
Anthony
 
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#8
My trees are in a solarium that gets southwestern exposure. So natural sun is not a problem. Landlord cheaped out replacing them last year so have minimal uv coating.
 
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#12
My trees are in a solarium that gets southwestern exposure. So natural sun is not a problem. Landlord cheaped out replacing them last year so have minimal uv coating.
IMHO, "for your plants", not having the UV coating is probably a good thing... but not great for your skin.

An interesting read: https://www.blackdogled.com/blogwhich-is-better-uva-or-uvb/

I'd argue that being "off the equator" to any degree would greatly improve your protection from UV light, because (as I understand it), the ozone is denser at the poles.

The one thing that would concern me if I was in your position, is light refracting as it comes through the glass... in particular if the windows are wet.

Apparently Brazilian Rain Trees are highly susceptible to damage from light refraction and should be protected with a screen, or set in a position of indirect light.

Also IMHO, you only need one tropical; a BRT... amazing plants.
 

GrimLore

Imperial Masterpiece
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#13
True Tropical plants can and do thrive indoors but still have requirements. Our room is Humidity controlled, never under 50 percent. 16 hours of light, 8 on 4 off. Has constant air circulation and is HEPA Ion air filtered 16 hours a day. Things like Banana trees thrive in there. So yes a true Tropical can be kept inside but to thrive need certain needs met. Another interesting note here - I cut back the light in January, February, and March to 10 hours a day, turn it back up in April and put them outdoors in May.
There are other details too. The room is floor to ceiling mold and mildew proof semi gloss white, the entire room is cleaned and disinfected two times a year, and there is a electric backup heater the keeps it a steady 75F in there.

Grimmy
 
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#18
Tropical means no frost or freeze - ever. Average above 55F. There are many different tropical climates. Some are low and very warm, some are higher elevation, with a cooler temperature regime. And a complication is the extreme high elevation equatoria montane climate. Here the temperatures are pretty much constant year round, where every day is warm and sunny and there is a frost almost every night. This is not ''tropical'', but a very unique extreme of the possible equatorial climates.

Some tropicals are ''Thermophiles'', where they resent temperatures below 60 F, (15 C) and will be damaged by temperatures below 50 F (10 C) Cacao, source of chocolate is usually sited as a thermophile. Shrubs from coastal low elevation areas can fall into this group. Some ficus species are sensitive to cool, some are not.

There are tropical alpine trees and shrubs like some of the high elevation Vireya rhododendrons from Borneo, which will not tolerate frost or freeze, but fail to thrive if temperatures rise above 78 F, or 25 C.

And there are a host of trees and shrubs that will do well ''between'' the extremes.

Clyde is right on target with his suggestions.
 

GrimLore

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#19
What do you have growing inside as far as desert Clyde?
Same as Clyde -
Right now I am growing a Palo Verde and a desert ironwood and Texas Ebony. I have grown creasote (they really do well indoors)
There are several more that do good too. I use Full Spectrum T8 lights and they are still ok. You might consider Brazilian Rain Trees as well - very hardy but not a desert plant.

Grimmy