Q: I need something to plant by our pool that would add a tropical look. I tried tropical hibiscus but it is not winter hardy. I saw fatsia at a local nursery. These have a great tropical look! What do you think?
A: I have been very pleased with my two fatsia, Fatsia japonica, plants for five years. The wide, lobed leaves are very tropical-looking and they have not suffered winter damage. I think you have a fine location by your pool. I also have a fatshedera, a fatsia-English ivy hybrid, growing near the fatsia and it seems to be fine so far as well. Consider other tropical looking plants like paper bush, canna, scarlet hibiscus and swamp hibiscus. They aren’t evergreen like fatsia but they’re great for spring and summer texture and color.