TOP 10 Flowers For The Anthopile In You
Tobago is blessed with two seasons, the Dry season from January to May and the Wet season from June to December with a constant average temperature of 29 degrees Celsius.
This is the best balance for vegetation on the island as it allows you to experience flowering plants throughout the year. Traditionally, one had to go far and wide, across the island in order to experience the different vegetation and plant life according to the time of year. Fortunately, there is a hidden gem, easily accessible to a chosen few where there resides a wide variety of exotic tropical flowering pants 365 days a year on your visit to Tobago. This Gem in the Tobago Plantations resort and Golf Course. The grounds here abound with different flowering plants and some fortunate guests of the Luxury villa rentals of Shandisson and Sea La Vie can experience the private gardens that the villas offer their guests.
With so many flowers to choose from let's narrow them down to my top 10 favorites:
Hi there! This Tobago Travel blog is intended to be an unbiased guide for visitors, staying at my family’s vacation properties of Villa Shandison, Sea La Vie & Sea La Vista in Tobago, to allow our guests the best experiences that Tobago has to offer…. through my eyes and stomach. ☺
#1 - Hibiscus
Harder to find in recent years due to the influx of a pest called the mealybug, which has destroyed many local plants the hibiscus is making a strong comeback in recent years, there are over 200 different species of Hibiscus plants in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. For me, you can't beat a simple white flower, that symbolizes the Tobago beach.
FUN FACT – Tobago makes a tea made from hibiscus flowers and is served both hot and cold. The beverage is known for its red color, tart flavor, containing vitamin C, and is rich in antioxidants.
When growing up on the islands, locals would treat children’s fevers and colds with fresh, hot Hibiscus flower Tea, but lucky for you, you don’t have to get sick to enjoy a cup, just grab a flower, use only the petals, add hot water and enjoy – add sugar or honey to taste.
#2 - Lantanas
Lantanas are hardy and flower all year round in Tobago. There are about 150 species and you can easily see the variations, look carefully as they are subtle. Lantana's aromatic flower clusters (called umbels) are a mix of red, orange, yellow, or blue and white florets. The flowers typically change color as they mature, resulting in inflorescences that are two- or three-colored.
You can’t miss the distinct citrus fragrance that this multi-hued little flower emits. If the sight of it doesn’t relax you, then take a deep breath, and when ready, exhale all that doesn’t bring you joy.
#3 - Mussaenda
In Tobago, we have 3 colors – white (Donna Aurora), pink/ peach (Donna Laz), and red. These plants are treated as “soft” flowers by locals as they do not do well as cut flowers and normally only last a few weeks on the trees. Once in bloom, they are a sight to behold.
DID YOU KNOW? Mussaenda has been traditionally used in the treatment of eye troubles, skin infections, ulcers, wounds, cough, and Bronchitis. The current study investigated the antimicrobial effects of Mussaenda against bacteria and fungus.
The feeling of these petals in your hands can simply be described as luxurious. Its velvety texture allows water to bead easily – forming perfect little gems that catch the light, causing these flowers to gleam even more, after the rain.
Whether they’re white, pink, peach, or red, the Mussaenda makes my list of the beautiful flora that Tobago has to offer. And you can spend many hours in the shade of this plant, without even leaving your villa.
#4 - Oleander
These flowers year-round can be seen in pink, white, and blood red. The flowers grow in clusters at the end of each branch, they may give off a sweet scent.
This subtropical shrub / small tree is most commonly grown in its shrub form. It does exceptionally well in either inundation as well as drought, making it a perfect plant for a novice or seasoned gardener.
With a specimen like this greeting me every morning, come rain or shine, the Oleander brightens my day, every day. I’m sure it will do the same for you, all you have to do is book now.
#5 - Crinum
I dub them into the family of wall flowers as their beauty goes mostly unnoticed.
In the Gardens of Shandison, you can find many Crinums spotted throughout the Tobago Plantations.
A member of the ‘lily’ family, these perennial plants have large showy flowers and are sprouted from bulbs. From these bulbs, many “pups” or suckers widen the base of the plant.
These flowers are a beautiful option, as a centerpiece of a garden, but fear not. I know a place where you can find some all-year-round.
#6 - Heliconia ("False" Bird Of Paradise)
Can’t get more tropical than that!
Tobago has them in red and pink with both varieties found in abundance in the wild and in the homes of most gardens. There is a myth that snakes abound in these patches… but… this is far from the truth.
Heliconia is a gorgeous, highly sought-after plant. Known to bushmen as ‘lobster-claws’, they are native to tropical Americas. Used in modern, Caribbean flower arrangements, cut flowers can last over a week, and with regular water changes, these flowers can bring joy both on the stalk as well as in the vase.
These hearty plants sprout from bulbs, and are constantly growing, cutting down a patch of these flowers only means that much more is going to fill the space.
#7 - Desert Rose
My Aunt Alicia’s favorite and perhaps the reason we have a few plants at our home, given to us by my aunt for safekeeping.
I learned that they belong to the family of succulents and Cacti, but with constant water, they thrive and flower year-round.
The Desert Rose is a true dramatic show of brilliant reds and pinks, and the best part is that this low-water, low-maintenance beauty can easily be natured by any gardener.
Don’t be scared, this rose has no thorns, feel free to get as close as you desire.
#8 - Croton
Don’t let my rating fool you – I love them. The colors…the colors….the colors. These abound in Tobago with every home having differing specie. They are extremely hardy, which lends to their popularity
In more modern gardens they have been grafted, where the leaf shape, size, and colors are spectacular and worthy of pictures by themself. Traditionally treated as ground covers, I think they can stand on their own as one of Tobago’s most tropical plants.
Croton or “Joseph’s Coat”, known for its multicolored Patten, is a perennial with a woody stem. It is a member of the Euphorbiaceae family and broadleaf evergreen. Its ornamental appearance is largely due to the vividly colored foliage containing irregular splashes of green, pink, yellow, red, orange, purple, and even bronze. Crotons grow well outdoors during warm months and require medium care.
The plants of this genus were described and introduced to Europeans by Georg Eberhard Rumphius. The common names for this genus are rushfoil and croton. The generic name comes from the Greek κρότος (krótos), which means "tick" and refers to the shape of the seeds of certain species.
#9 - Bougainvillea
Once again don’t let the rating fool you, you cannot get a more tropical flower than this. The colors are iridescent and long-lasting. These plants grow anywhere, on anything, have been known to be alive for more than 50 years, and with modern grafting can be seen with different flowers on a single stem. They are drought-resistant and need very little care to remain in full bloom, year-round. But don’t get too close, if you thought rose thorns were bad, then let me introduce you to ‘Mr. Bougainvillea’.
These Brazilian flowers known as Bougainvillea have become synonymous with Tobago landscaping. You will see them lining house gates and walls, with sprays of flowers that look like paper, that come in vibrant colors of pink, magenta, purple, red, orange, fuchsia, indigo, violet, and even white. But don’t get too close, if you thought rose thorns were bad, then let me introduce you to ‘Mr. Bougainvillea’.
DID YOU KNOW? The species can grow 1 to 12 meters (3 to 39 ft) tall, scrambling over other plants with their spiky thorns.
They are evergreen where rainfall occurs all year, the leaves are alternate, simple ovate-acuminate, 4–13 cm long and 2–6 cm broad.
A popular choice for any landscape, you’ll see these spiked beauties dotted throughout Tobago, from homes to hotels, villas to government complexes, everyone loves Bougainvillea, we hope you do too.