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Index > Garden Blog

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Plant Horoscope. Gemini Zodiac lucky plants: Anthurium and Philodenron

Gemini - 5/21-6/20. Ruled by the mutable, changeable planet Mercury (also patron of the art of medicine), Gemini is an AIR sign. Plants ruled by Mercury tend to have ferny or highly-divided leaves or stems (like the bronchi of lungs), hairy or fuzzy leaves (related to the cilia in the lungs), or subtle odors.

Gemini rules the lungs, shoulders, arms, and hands. Its plants help to strengthen the lungs and respiratory system, relax the nervous system, strengthen ears and hearing, the tongue and speaking, the vocal cords, lungs and thyroid, as well as the shoulders, arms, and hands. Gemini has so much going on mentally that they may need a little help to digest all the information they're constantly absorbing. Herbs that have clean, pure flavor not only help physical digestion, but assist spiritual and mental intake as well.

Gemini Zodiac lucky plants: Ferns, Blechnum, Tree ferns and Cyatheas, Fern Tree, Aralias, Jackfruit and Breadfruit, Paulownia, Anthurium, Philodendron, Philadelphus, Clerodendrums, Anise, Lavender, Myrtle, Nut trees, Macadamia, Ficus, Piggyback plant - Tolmiea menziesii, Aloe vera, Fig, Honeysuckle, Azalea, Mint Tree Satureja, Vitex, Ironwood, Mulberry, Osmoxylon, Acalypha, Allamanda, Aphelandra, Iboza, Ruda, Kiwi, Caesalpinia, Cyphomandra, Monstera, Kalanchoe, Magnolia, Oregano, Ocimum, Naranjilla, Zamia, Delionix, Acacias, Calliandra, Patchoili, Palms, Geranium, Grevillea, Eucalyptus.

For other signs information, see full Plant Horoscope.

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Care of mail-order plants during hot summer

Q: I live in California and about a month ago ordered several plants from you, including fruit trees (Carambola, Mango, Avocado) and flowering trees (Xanthostemon, Adeniums, Champaca, Ylang Ylang). They were all doing well until I tried to move them into full sun, when they got leaf burn immediately. Ylang Ylang was doing great in a shade, but I repotted it from 1 gal into 3 gal and it is drooping leaves now. It has been very hot (over 100F) and dry (humidity is less than 25%). Any suggestions?

A: Hot summer can be pretty challenging time for establishing new plants. These are some guidelines to make your summer gardening more successful and rewarding.

  1. You can order plants at any time, but keep your eye on your local weather forecast and try to chose cooler periods to schedule your plant shipments. Here at TopTropcals we monitor weather at destinations, and we can also delay shipment per your request until more favorable conditions.
  2. During hot Summer months, many plants are still OK to ship, and to be planted, many species are heat tolerant. It's usually safe to ship most succulents, including Desert roses and Euphorbias. Some fruit trees are pretty easy too, like Loquats, Mango, Eugenias. Many flowering trees can take heat: Acacias, Clusias, Jatropha, Sausage Tree, Plumerias and many others. Check our full list of plants suitable for hot and dry conditions. Most jasmines, including Jasmine Sambac and Trachelospermum make also a safe choice for hot weather planting.
  3. Use shade cloth or simply white sheets to protect young plants and new plantings from hot sun.
  4. When establishing mail ordered plants during hot weather, keep them in shade for longer period of time than average recommended 1-2 weeks. Give them a chance to establish really well. In areas with low air humidity, try to create a simple mist system. It can be purchased in your local Home Depot for only $20 and set up takes only 10 minutes! It makes a big difference and can help you save many plants from hot weather stress.
  5. Although it may seem that during hot weather plants need more water due to high evaporation, be careful with watering, and check soil with your finger before watering - don't water if it is still wet. Combination of "hot and wet" can be as harmful for the root system as "cold and wet" during winter. Protect root systems from overheating: covering black pots with white cloth will work. Remember when temperature is above 90F, most of plants slow down their metabolism, which means roots slow down or even stop pumping water and become more vulnerable to overwatering. For the same reason, do not hurry to step up into bigger container if roots haven't filled yet the existing pot.

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Top Tropicals Video: Ambarella - delicious June Plum

Golden Apple, or June Plum - Spondias cytherea.

This exciting fruiting plant will amaze you with its ability to flower and fruit at a young age. It fruits in winter and holds the fruit up to 6-8 months, long after the leaves have dropped. The fruit appears in pairs and will turn a brushed-golden color as it ripens. Its feel and juiciness resembles that of a mango but with completely different flavor. The Golden apple is used both in sweet and savory dishes depending on its ripeness. When green, the fruit is commonly eaten as is (with or without skin just like green mangoes) with salt and other salty/spicy dips, made into salsas, chutneys, and into juices and smoothies. When fully ripe, the Golden Apple will be deep yellowish-orange in color. When yellow, the fruit is eaten just like an apple or stewed with sugar to make an applesauce-like dessert.

Check out this video: Ambarella - delicious June Plum...

Stay updated with TopTropicals Videos by subscribing to our channel at YouTube.com/TopTropicals and get our latest video news of what's fruiting and blooming!

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Top Tropicals Video Presents: Doctor Noni

Top Tropicals Video Channel. We are happy to introduce to our customers our new project - Top Tropicals Video. Gardeners have been enjoying our Tropical Treasures Magazine with its unique stories on fascinating plants, their history, plant clinic and Do-It-Yourself projects. Now you can have more fun to visit actual tropical paradise by watching our short movies in your convenience - from your computer, or simply on your smart phone. In our future video tours, we will be showing both popular and rare exciting plants and how to grow them. We will be sharing little secrets of how to make these plants happy, so they will make your own life brighter and happier. Stay updated with TopTropicals Videos by subscribing to our YouTube channel at YouTube/TopTropicals and get our latest video news of what's fruiting and blooming! Our today's video story -

Doctor Noni - life sustaining plant. Many people have heard about the mysterious and miraculous Noni fruit, yet few know exactly what it is. This odd-looking fruit grows on a beautiful tropical tree from Polynesia - Morinda citrifolia, that actually belongs to a Coffee family! The Noni fruit, also called Cheese Fruit for its special odor, has unique health benefits. It is said that this plant food is to be used when we are feeling really ill or really old... Do you want to know how to have your own FREE fresh Noni juice year round? Check out this Movie: Doctor Noni - life sustaining plant...

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Taking care of Soursop after shipping

Q: Since I have never grown a soursop tree before I need some pro help. My tree was delivered absolutely beautiful, leaves were a pretty green. I potted it and gave it a good drink of water and put it in a shaded area outside. Then the weather here became cool so I brought it in for a few days until the weather warmed, and it lost all the leaves. Is it in shock and will come around eventually? Will I be able to grow this tree indoors during winter?

A: Soursop - Annona muricata trees are very sensitive to temperature drops. This always causes leaf loss. You seem to be doing everything right. Do not water until soil gets slightly dry; keep it in bright shade. The weather should be good now with high temperatures and humidity rising. No fertilizer until the plant shows active new growth. Be patient with your plant, it should recover soon.

Soursop is an ultra-tropical tree and doesn't take any freeze. If you live in cooler climate, keep the plant in a pot (the good news is, Annonas in general have compact nature and are perfect for container culture). Bring the tree indoors during cold period, providing bright light.

We have very interesting article about growing and fruiting Soursop in apartment. Check out 4534 Tropical Treasures Magazine # 7.

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Scotch Bonnet Hot Sauce for Your Fiesta

You will need: Capsicum x baccatum - Scotch Bonnet Pepper, and -

- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 18 fresh Scotch Bonnet peppers, sliced and seeded
- 6 fresh jalapeno peppers, sliced
- 6 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/2 cup minced onion
- 3/4 teaspoon salt 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
- Leave some of all the Scotch Bonnets with seeds for a spicier sauce

In a large sauce pan over medium-high heat, combine oil, peppers, garlic, onion, and salt; cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour in water, and cook for 20 minutes, or until the ingredients are soft. Stir frequently. Remove from heat, and allow mixture to cool to room temperature. Transfer the mixture to a blender, and puree until smooth. Pour in vinegar and sugar; blend until mixed. Keep refrigerated.

Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

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Last reminder - week before Mother's day, use discounts on top of deals!

Jasmine Specials for your Mom! Check out these specials, and use Mother's Day discount coupons on top of these low prices. What a deal!
Most of these jasmines are in full bloom, and/or full of buds!

3255 Fragrant Jasmine Sambac G Duke - buy one get one free!
Only $14.95! (reg $29.95, save 50%!)

2247 Jasminum sambac Collection - Mysore Mulli, Grand Duke, Maid of Orleans
Only $29.95! (reg $59.95, save 50%!)

1133 Jasminum sambac Maid of Orleans - 1 gal pot
Only $9.95! (reg $19.95, save 50%!)

1131 Jasminum sambac Grand Duke - 1 gal pot
Only $14.95! (reg $19.95)

2488 Jasminum sambac Grand Duke - 3 gal pot
Only $19.95! (reg $24.95)

1134 Jasminum sambac Maid of Orleans - 3 gal pot
Only $14.95! (reg $24.95)

Mother's day discounts. Take advantage of these generous discounts to make a good present!

15% for orders over $100 (excluding S&H): MOTHERS15
20% for orders over $200 (excluding S&H): MOTHERS20
Can't be combined with any other offers. Not valid for past purchases. Codes are valid through Mother's Day - Sunday, May 8, 2016

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HEALING POWER OF HERBS

The most effective herbs to help you sleep. Tick-tock, tick-tock. Nothing is worse than the feeling of lying awake, unable to sleep as the numbers on the clock edge closer and closer to morning. Perhaps like many others, you toss and turn with your mind racing, playing the events of the day over and over again. Maybe you fall asleep easily, but wake up shortly after and can't get back to sleep for the rest of the night. If this sounds familiar, you are not alone. Fortunately, there are natural alternatives to prescription sleeping pills that are just as effective but are far gentler on the body. The following article by Marilyn Reid takes a closer look at some of the best herbs to help you sleep. Reed more...

Mother's day discounts. Fruit tree is the best gift for your Mother. Take advantage of these generous discounts to make a good present!
15% for orders over $100 (excluding S&H): MOTHERS15
20% for orders over $200 (excluding S&H): MOTHERS20
Can't be combined with any other offers. Not valid for past purchases. Codes are valid through Mother's Day - Sunday, May 8, 2014

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Plant Horoscope. Taurus Zodiac lucky plants: Fragrant Cananga odorata and Chonemorpha

Taurus - 4/20-5/20. Taurus is an EARTH sign ruled by the planet Venus. Venus is the planet that represents desire and beauty, regarded as the female embodiment of sexual love and human appetite, so Taurus plants often have gorgeous flowers and enticing fragrances and, occasionally, red fruit. It rules the internal sexual organs, the nose and sense of smell.

Because Taurus rules the throat and ears, the best plants for the Bull are often soothing to the throat, or may calm the digestive system after overindulging in the finest foods. Taurus is related to those things we want and value. It harmonizes various body systems, and influences the complexion and facial appearance. Also under Venus’s dominion are the abdomen, kidney, thymus, and breasts. Venus-governed herbs are soothing and help to regulate the body’s metabolism through the endocrine system. Taurus herbs are traditionally used to attract money and resources. Earthy Taurus sign is all about building a stable and comfortable foundation and can help you generate greater abundance and prosperity in your life.

Taurus Zodiac lucky plants - Aglaia, Cananga odorata (Ylang-Ylang), Artabotrys (Climbing Ylang-Ylang), Cerbera, Night blooming jasmine, Chonemorpha, Erblichia, Euodia, Hiptage, Iboza (Musk Bush), Anise, Lavender, Lonchocarpus Lilac Tree, Nutmeg, Parijat, Camphor Basil, Osmanthus, Funeral tree, Quisqualis, Satureja (Kama Sutra Mint Tree), Viburnum, Carissa, Murraya, Curry Leaf, Bunchosia (Peanut butter fruit), Eucalyptus, Lily, Vitex agnus castus (Blue Chaste Tree), Alstonia scholaris (Sapthaparni), Papaya, Maple, Jasmine, Guaiacum, Camellia, Ephedra, Fuchsia, Geranium, Spider lily, Gardenia, Magnolia, Plumeria, PaeoniaVerbena, Clerodendrums, Apple, Pear, Apricot, Peach, Plantain, Olive, Grape, Pomegranate, Mango, Neem Tree, Cherry, Cypresses, all Berries, Raspberry, Asparagus, Mint, Clove, Roses, Stagshorn fern, Catnip.

For other signs information, see full Plant Horoscope.

April 22 Earth Day discount - 15% off fragrant plants! Earth Day is more than just a single day " April 22, 2016. It’s bigger than attending a rally and taking a stand. Plant one tree at a time to make our Planet better! This Earth Day and beyond, let’s make big stuff happen. - See more at: www.earthday.org

Check out our Fragrant Plants for 15% off! 1-day deal only!

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5 secrets of propagation

How to propagate rare plants? It is exciting and fascinating process - to be a Creator of a rare plant collection. Sometimes when you have a rare plant, you baby it and wish you could have at least two of the kind, just in case you lose one to weather conditions or an accident... If you lose one, it hurts! Plant collectors know the feeling - it is always a good idea to propagate a few more of the rare kind. Here at Top Tropicals we know that feeling too, and we want you to keep your baby plants alive and thriving, multiply them, share with others, and make our planet better - one plant at a time! Know your different plants, and different ways of their propagation. Ready for the secrets revealed?

1. Seeds. The most popular way and in most cases the most reliable. Also, a seedling has a strong, vertical root system (cuttings or air layers have shallow roots). However growing from seed is the only sexual method of propagation (vs other methods - asexual, or cloning), which means, some varieties don't come true from seed. Similar to a baby born from two parents, blonde mother and brunette father, can have either light or dark hair... or even red, genetically provided by the great-grand father! The most important factors of success when growing from seed are - well-drained germination mix (check out our Seed Germination Mix #3), and a combination of perfect temperature (high temperature 80-90F induces germination, but some species like it cooler!) and mix moisture level (can't stay soggy).

2. Cuttings. In most cases, works great as long as you know the secret for this method: clean (sterile) soil mix (check out our Propagation Mix #2), warm temperatures and very high air humidity (not moist soil, but humid air!). Mist house works well (see picture) with periodically controlled foggers (5-20 sec of fog every 5 to 20 min during light time - depending on species, and temperature), but simple clear plastic bag over a pot or tray works as well! Large leaves should be trimmed in half, or more, to eliminate extra evaporation, and soil should be only slightly moist, not soggy. Remember to use rooting hormone that not only improves rooting but keeps away fungus problems. You are welcomed to visit mist house in our facility, we will be happy to share experience.

3. Air Layers. From our experience, key to success with this method is patience. Most air layers take a few months to set root. Keep sphagnum moss moist, and create air layers only during active growth season - Sprint through Summer. Use rooting hormone.

4. Grafting. This method requires the most skills and experience but is not as difficult as it sounds. Plants can be grafted withing the same genus (e.g. one Gardenia sp. on another Gardenia sp.). There are many grafting manuals on internet. Try once, and you will get addicted to grafting! In many cases it is the most effective method. Especially when seeds not available and cuttings don't work with the species, while grafting works much faster than air-layering. The main secret in grafting is using the right type of graft, which comes with experience. Another important thing is keeping grafting parts and tools clean/sterile. Treat/clean surfaces with anti-fungicides horticultural soap (Example: Abound anti-fungal, Green Shield soap) and use rooting hormone.

5. Root divisions. All gardeners know that some plants are best to propagate by rhizome/root divisions, like Gingers, Heliconias, or Iris. And not everyone knows that some fruiting and flowering trees don't mind to reproduce by root divisions. For example, Jujube - Ziziphus jujuba, and Strawberry tree - Muntingia calabura, readily produce root suckers. Watch out for them and don't let them go to waist when spraying weeds. All time favorites, fragrant Clerodendrums also like this easy method of reproduction, especially C. bungei, C. philippinum, and many others.

Check out our Growing supplies section for professional soil mixes and drainage components that are so important in your propagation success. At Top Tropicals, we often use Coconut Coir for propagation. Good luck in your growing, and remember - if you propagated a few extra collectibles, Top Tropicals may trade or buy from you!