This article originally appeared as part of the story Bringing the Tropics to Minnesota in the June 2019 issue.
Just start. While growing tropical plants in our unpredictable Minnesota climate might seem difficult, Plank says the hardest thing to do is start. “Just do it,” he says. “Go to the local garden center … put them in the yard, and right before our first frost, dig them up and bring them inside.”
Hit the web. You might not find all the tropical plants you’re looking for at your local gardening store, but in the digital age, anything can be found online.
Set the thermostat. When it’s time to bring your plants inside, Plank says that the ideal range is between 60 and 65 degrees. Keep the temperature as moderate as possible; and keep plants away from fireplaces.
Make (a little) time. “I usually carve out about an hour to two hours a day” in the summer, Plank says. In winter, he makes sure he plants are well-maintained by watering and trimming them, and making sure the dirt is in good condition.