Flowers to Grow in Mérida, Yucatan

 in Garden

Right after the food you are growing,
flowers are an important part of the urban garden.

In all places but especially our urban areas bees and other pollinators don’t have enough food. Flowers brighten your yard and day while also giving fuel to all our flying friends.

Some say due to regenerative gardening techniques like planting flowers next to farms and fields the bee population is recovering. Many of my mid-western friends are involved in prairie restoration as a form of soil preservation. It’s important to choose flowers for your region and conditions. This guide will focus on easy to grow tropical flowers.

Growing flowers in the tropics takes learning the local varieties. When I first moved to the hot and humid weather I marveled at the huge looming trees all throughout the year. It seemed each month there was a new bloom from the flor de mayo to the flamboyan, the african tulips and others. I don’t have the space for large flowering trees no matter how much I enjoy them. 


Jasmine

My favorite evergreen bush, produce soft white flowers a few of times each year. The scent of jasmine is clear when these open. Mostly I use this bush to attract pollinators but sometimes I make some tea too. The traditional method scents green tea leaves with jasmine flower essence by enclosing them overnight with closed blooms on the point of opening. This process is repeated as many times as needed to give tea leaves a jasmine flavor. I usually pour warm water over a handful of blooms and enjoy the slight flavor they empart. Mostly I don’t harvest them, instead opting to stop by and smell them but leave most for the bees to enjoy. 

Growing jasmine in the tropics is fairly easy.
It enjoys full sun, continuous trimming and about 1 meter of space.
It can be trimmed to stay small, or left to grow very large.
The more foliage the more flowers you will have.
If treated well it should last a lifetime in your tropical garden.
I fertilize the base of the plant with compost 1-2 time each year. 

Sunflower – Girasol

The seeds of this plant are world famous and it’s bright and sunny face is too. I don’t think anyone is ever mad to have sunflowers around. They make a great decoration, grow easily in rocky soil and if you want you can even eat the seeds. I don’t grow the giant sunflowers instead opting for the normal size because I grow them as a distraction. The birds love to eat the seeds and this way they stay away from my more precious tomatoes. It’s a winning flower for pollinators, birds and me too.

Growing Sunflowers:
I seed directly in the soil or rocky borders of my garden with a handful of fertilizer and cover with a handful of mulch. They mature in about 80-100 day and you can sew new rows every month (or more) all year round depending on your space.

Calendula

This is a medicinal plant that also does wonders for attracting pollinators.  It’s a very short plant and will stay around knee length, but can easily branch out and seed itself. 
Constant growing in the tropics isn’t unheard of. 
The blooms can be cut off when fresh  to use in tea, or dried for other uses.
Great for the skin, healing cuts and sunburns.

Growing calendula:
It requires a lot of sun. Honestly it doesn’t tolerate shade well at all, give it sun. It does great all year round, but should be full sized by the time the rainy season starts. It probably won’t flower during the heat of May and June but will grow well.
I seed in trays and then transplant when the seedlings are 4-6 inches tall.
Plant where you want to attract many bees. 

The plant will likely self seed if left with many blooms. 
It will mature differently depending on the month and heat.

Justica Spicigera – Mexican Honeysuckle

This plant is a hummingbird magnet and was the first reason I enjoyed it in my yard. I later learned traditional medicine uses the leaves and stems in tea to counter dengue fever.
When you live in a tropical place you learn quickly prevention is the best, but when you get dengue only painkillers and lots of rest will cure you. A good tea is never a bad addition when sick therefore this hummingbird plant serves as human food as well. 

Growing Mexican Honeysuckle
This plant will grow 1-2 meters wide and 1 meter tall. The more you trim it the more bushy it will become. It will grow for years if treated well. I give it compost 1-2 times the year.
Best if used fresh, but even the dried leaves are medicinal, hang dry all cuttings. 

My favorite flowering trees:

If you have the room the shade of trees is always welcome. 

Buganvilias  –

This one has thorns but the beautiful paper flowers are known throughout the world. It’s more a vine bush than a tree, but it will grow tall and strong and needs little tending. You can trim them just about any way you like and they will keep growing back.
Historically because of their many thorns, they were grown as protection along the border walls of houses.  The fuchsia colored flowers can also be boiled into tea when you have cough or throat issues.

They are great for brightening the corners of your garden and need lots of direct sunlight.

Growing Bougainvillea
Plant with 3-5 meter of space.
Preferes direct sun or light partial shade. 
Fertilize 1-2 times yearly with compost and mulch.
Trim as needed for aesthetic.

Plumeria – Flor de Mayo

Another beautiful tree that is a good size for in front of the house.
It’s hard to pick my favorite flower so I won’t pretend to start but I love this flower. I love the shape and smell. I love the thin woody stem and trunk.
It’s a delicate beauty in the sub-tropical garden scape. 

Growing Plumeria:
The young plants may need a stake or other support, especially during the first couple of rainy season.
They like moisture and near daily watering. The first couple of years pruning will also not be required. After it starts to branch naturally you can prune as needed to create a round top.

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Showing 2 comments
  • Cara
    Reply

    Thank you for this succinct summary! I am new to the area and am just learning about the best plant selections to grow here. Nice to know that some of these are medicinal – as well as being bee and hummingbird attractors!

    • Nik
      Reply

      I am glad you could use this article, thank you so much for the feedback.
      There are more in the garden section about compost and growing season planning too.

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