Tropical Gardening 101

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  • 13
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  • 124
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  • 4
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Course Description

This course on tropical gardening is designed for beginner gardeners who are looking to start a tropical garden or to cultivate a garden they have inherited on their property.  We start with the basics, such as choosing tropical plants and learning where tropical plants come from. We'll then learn how tropical plants work and what their special needs are.

Some of the more common tropical plants are reviewed, as well as information about watering, growing, protecting, pruning, and training these plants to thrive in your yard.  Additionally, this course covers the basics of pest and disease control, and also discusses the ideas of organic gardening, planning an effective garden, and choosing the right garden type for your needs. You will find out how to garden effectively – even if you don't have a green thumb.

Join us today and learn more about how to bring the tropics into your yard!

Where Tropical Plants May Have Begun

If you look at a globe of the Earth, you will notice there are distinct zones in which certain countries and continents lie. In the middle of the globe, halfway between the North and South poles, is the equator. This line separates the northern and southern hemispheres from each other, even though it is not an actual feature of the lands.

The line is where the climates of the Earth can also be separated. The areas that are close to the equator are considered tropical, as they have the highest temperatures and they have the best conditions for growing tropical plants.

These areas are not only hot, but some of these areas also have higher levels of moisture, which allow for better growing conditions.

(After all, the Sahara Desert also lies along the equator, but verdant tropical gardening is not possible there.)

However, it is not just the equator that designates where tropical plants can be found. There are also two other lines of measurement that have been placed onto maps for reference.

These lines are the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, located respectively, above and below the equator. Within these lines, slightly above, and below them are the higher temperatures and the ability for people to grow tropical plants.

Of course, the Earth itself already has plants that are tropical in those areas, so humans are not completely responsible for the growing patterns there. 

How Tropical Plants Migrated Around the Globe

While the tropical plants in these tropical zones are lush and vibrant, this does not necessarily mean that the plants have stayed in those areas forever.

Since it is possible for us to buy potted plants from tropical regions and to find tropical plants in some non-tropical areas of the world, thus, it is clear that the plants were brought to new areas over the course of time.

Many people believe that the tropical plants of today were brought into other areas by explorers of the period. When the explorers saw that the plants were new and exciting, they decided to bring them back to their homelands.

This did not always mean that the plants survived and thrived, but the introduction of many plants was a successful one.

Think about the introduction of the orchid or the palm tree, not native to Europe in the time of the explorers. In addition, the rubber tree plant of India was also brought into new countries.

Once these plants were brought in and cultivated, then the people of the areas would bring the plants into other areas, and those people then brought the plants into other areas.

Before long, tropical plants were not long confined to their original home. They had found a number of new homes, and now, they might find a home in your backyard. 


Tropical plants are generally found within the tropical zone of the world, between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, the two lines of delineation above and below the equator.

These plants were found by the explorers from Europe and then brought into other countries with trade and through successful planting.

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  • 6 Months to Complete
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  • Universal Class is an IACET Accredited Provider

    Course Lessons

    Average Lesson Rating:
    4.8 / 5 Stars (Average Rating)
    "Extraordinarily Helpful"
    (296 votes)

    Lesson 1. History of Tropical Plants

    When you think about the tropical plants of the past, one image may come to mind, Paradise. 11 Total Points
    • Review 2 Articles: Canoe Plants of Hawaii; World Climates
    • Take Survey: Reasons for Taking this Course
    • Complete Assignment: An Introduction
    • Complete Exam: Lesson 1: History of Tropical Plants

    Lesson 2. Types of Tropical Plants

    Just like any plant, tropical plants can be divided into different subcategories. 11 Total Points
    • Take Poll: Tropical Plants
    • Complete: Lesson 2 Assignment
    • Complete Exam: Lesson 2: Types of Tropical Plants

    Lesson 3. Common Tropical Plants

    When you are heading to the garden store or you are ordering plants online, you might not know exactly what plants to buy. 10 Total Points
    • Review 2 Articles: Caring for Hoya Plants; Buying Plants
    • Complete Exam: Lesson 3: Common Tropical Plants

    Lesson 4. Tropical Garden Ideas

    If the idea of paradise is what originally attracted you to the idea of having a tropical garden, then you may have had a distinct image in your mind. 10 Total Points
    • Review 2 Articles: Tropical Garden Ideas; Small Tropical Gardens
    • Complete Exam: Lesson 4: Tropical Garden Ideas

    Lesson 5. Planting

    Once you have the plan for your yard in your mind and possibly on paper, the real work begins. 10 Total Points
    • Review 2 Articles: Healthy Succulents; Planting Tropical Plants
    • Complete Exam: Lesson 5: Planting

    Lesson 6. Growing

    Growing in your garden does not need to be a difficult process when you understand the basics of what your plant needs and how you can provide those basic needs. 9 Total Points
    • Review 2 Articles: Growing Tropical Plants Indoors; Growing Tropical Plants in Temperate Climates
    • Complete Exam: Lesson 6: Growing

    Lesson 7. Pruning

    Similar to the practice of weeding, pruning can become a helpful way to support your tropical garden. 10 Total Points
    • Review Article: Growing and Pruning Hibiscus
    • Complete Exam: Lesson 7: Pruning

    Lesson 8. Protecting

    Though you might think that your plants will be fine in the elements you have chosen for them, they still need your help. 9 Total Points
    • Review Article: Plant Pests
    • Complete Exam: Lesson 8: Protecting

    Lesson 9. Common Growing Problems and Solutions

    Many people think that having tropical plants means that you will need to spend a lot of time dealing with problems in your yard, but this is not the case. 10 Total Points
    • Review Article: Houseplant Problems
    • Take Poll: Garden Problems
    • Complete Exam: Lesson 9: Common Growing Problems & Solutions

    Lesson 10. How to Plan Your Tropical Garden

    Once you have the basics down of how to grow tropical plants, the fun part can begin, planning your garden. 10 Total Points
    • Review 2 Articles: Tropical-Look Garden Plan; Plants for a Tropical Garden
    • Complete Exam: Lesson 10: How to Plan Your Tropical Garden

    Lesson 11. Organic Gardening Options

    The idea of organic is something that is often attributed to food more than traditional gardening, but with the increased awareness of the environment, it is not surprising that many people are interested in going green. 10 Total Points
    • Take Poll: Organic Gardening
    • Complete Exam: Lesson 11: Organic Gardening Options

    Lesson 12. How to Train Tropical Plants

    Finally, when you have learned the basics of growing tropical plants and you are comfortable with managing pests and diseases, you can do more with your plants, train them. 10 Total Points
    • Complete Exam: Lesson 12: How to Train Tropical Plants

    Lesson 13. Conclusion

    The explorers of the past knew they had stumbled upon something special when they found tropical plants. 42 Total Points
    • Review Article: Tropical Plant Forum
    • Take Poll: What is your opinion of this course?
    • Take Survey: Program Evaluation Follow-up Survey (End of Course)
    • Complete: Lesson 13 Assignment
    • Complete: The Final Exam
    Total Course Points

    Learning Outcomes

    By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
    • Summarize the history of tropical plants.
    • Describe types of tropical plants.
    • Identify common tropical plants.
    • Describe tropical garden ideas and techniques for planting, growing, pruning, and protecting a tropical garden.
    • Identify common growing problems and solutions.
    • Describe how to plan your tropical garden.
    • Summarize how to train tropical plants, and
    • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.

    Additional Course Information

    Online CEU Certificate
    • Document Your Lifelong Learning Achievements
    • Earn an Official Certificate Documenting Course Hours and CEUs
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    Document Your CEUs on Your Resume
    Course Title: Tropical Gardening 101
    Course Number: 8900130
    Course Requirements: View Course Requirements
    Lessons Rating: 4.8 / 5 Stars (296 votes)
    Languages: English - United States, Canada and other English speaking countries
    Course Type: How To (Self-Paced, Online Class)
    CEU Value: 0.4 IACET CEUs (Continuing Education Units)
    CE Accreditation: Universal Class, Inc. has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
    Grading Policy: Earn a final grade of 70% or higher to receive an online/downloadable CEU Certification documenting CEUs earned.
    Assessment Method: Lesson assignments and review exams
    Instructor: Cathleen Chouinard
    Syllabus: View Syllabus
    Duration: Continuous: Enroll anytime!
    Course Fee: $50.00 (no CEU Certification) || with Online CEU Certification: $75.00

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    Student Testimonials

    • "It was all very informative." -- Catharine A.
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