Index > Garden Blog


New Video. Radio Top Tropicals.

New Video: 10 plants that will make you happy, Plant #2 - Candle Tree.

We continue your series about Ten Plants That Will Make You Happy. Today's story is about Candle Tree... one of the most fascinating ornamental and fruit trees in cultivation. This unusual plant will be a conversation piece of your plant collection. Happy candles will help you to cope with a cold and will definitely make you happy.
Visit our Facebook, YouTube Channel and stay happy!

Check out this video: 10 plants that will make you happy. Plant #2 - Candle Tree.

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!

Radio Top Tropicals - every Saturday 11 am! Introducing Radio Top Tropicals. Our first live webcast last Saturday was a success.
The topic was Plants of Love - Aphrodisiacs.

The webcast followed our Valentine's Day local sale.
We are extending this sale for 2 days, from local customers, to those who live in other states. Hurry up and take advantage of this generous 25% off on Plants of Love - Aphrodisiacs! Sale ends end of Valentines day, Tuesday, February 14.

Our next air time: Saturday February 18, at 11 am.
We will explore plants considered invasive species, or weeds, here in Florida, and reveal interesting and not-so-well-known facts about them. Our Host Robert Riefer - State Certified Crop Adviser, and Weed Specialist - answering all your gardening questions.

Listen to Radio Top Tropicals, every Saturday, at 11 am! You may use our website radio player DURING AIR TIME and see the pictures of plants we are talking about. To ask questions using live chat, you need to log in at Mixlr.com or simply call our office 239-689-5745 during air time!

Check out our upcoming radio shows and get your gardening questions ready!


After Super Bowl Sale

Chill out and relax by planting a tree! We just watched the most exciting Super Bowl ever... What a game! It was the greatest comeback in Super Bowl in history. Now it is time to let Top Tropicals help give your garden a great comeback too. Relax, have some peaceful happy time, and nothing can be better than planting a tree!

The best tree ever, by many features is a Mango tree. Here at least 5 reasons why:

  1. Mango tree is good for beginners since it has low maintenance requirements, including low water needs.
  2. Mango tree is easy to ship.
  3. Mango tree is a great present.
  4. Mango tree is a rewarding fruit tree that will produce fruit for you the same or next year - all our varieties are grafted and ready to bloom.
  5. Mango tree produces the most delicious fruit in the world. The sweetest, flavorful, fiberless varieties can be only tasted from home gardens - they simply are not available from grocery stores due to transportation reasons (only fiborous low quality fruit can be safely shipped and stored).

Take advantage of this generous 25% off offer and get yourself a mango tree:
- Dwarf varieties, "Condo" mangoes, great for containers: Carrie, Cogshall, Ice Cream, Julie, Lancetilla, Lemon Meringue, Mallika, Nam Doc Mai, Pickering.
- Large, fast growing, vigorous trees that will quickly create shade and comfort in your garden: Bailey's Marvel, East Indian, Haden, Jakarta, Philippine, Southern Blush, Valencia Pride.
- Exotic collectibles that are hard to find and almost nobody has, be a proud owner of delicious exotic flavors: Alampur Baneshan, Alphonso, Choc Anon (Miracle), Heidi, Maha Chinook, Pim Seng Mun.

Happy planting, end enjoy your fruit soon! See all varieties (for backorder items, add to your wishlist and you will be notified when available, very soon!)

Hurry up, WHILE THE STOCK LASTS! Offer is valid 2 days only, and expires February 9. Offer not valid for previous purchases.


Groundhog Day Feb 2

On Groundhog Day Feb 2: Groundhog Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow on Thursday morning, predicting six more weeks of winter during Groundhog Day festivities at Gobbler's Knob, a small hill just outside Phil's hometown.
According to folklore, if it is cloudy when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day, then the spring season will come soon; if it is sunny, the groundhog will supposedly see its shadow and retreat back into its den, and winter weather will persist for six more weeks.
Phil promised long winter, however, we should not cry in despair but starting to get ready for Spring!

Spring Check List:
- Make sure min temperatures are above 45F before you start bringing potted plants outside.
- When active new growth appears from buds, after-winter pruning can be done.
- You may start weekly fertilizing as soon as night temperatures raise above 55F.
- Start planting in the ground as soon as there are no more chances of frost, until then keep newly arrived plants in pots so they get better established.
- Low chill cold hardy fruit trees including Peaches, Nectarines, Plums, Apples, Mulberry, Loquats go in the ground first, so you can enjoy their blooms and early fruit set. Plant Pomegranates, blueberries and cranberries, raspberries and blackberries, grapes.
- Water as needed, still keeping on dry side until afternoons get hot and plants start using more water.
- Start seeds indoors. The sooner the better, to give seedlings more time to establish before planting out in the ground.

Overwintering Magnolia (Michelia)

Michelia alba Question: I have a question about Michelia alba. My Michelia alba leaves turning yellow and losing leaves. When I brought it inside for the winter, after the leaves falling off new one grow back not all of them grow back and now the new the branches start to die. I water once a week.

A: Whenever moving a plant in or out of the home it is always best to do it gradually. Moving a plant all in one day will cause stress to the plant due to environmental changes such as, new humidity levels, new light levels and new watering requirements. Michelias usually loose their leaves once in the spring and once before winter but grow them back right away. Now that your plant is inside with less humidity, light and leaves, you only need to water once the soil as almost dried out. You will need to stick your finger in the soil to see if it is still wet as the top layer dries before the under layer. If the branches are starting to die at the tips this usually means too much water. Move the plant to a bright light window, decrease water and you may want to also use a humidifier.


Plants of Love. TopTropicals Webinars

Plants of Love - Valentines Day Sale. For Valentines day, look beyond roses for a plant that will last a lifetime! It is not a surprise that the most popular plants that has been ordered from TopTropicals for Valentines day for the past 3 years, are: Vanilla, Chocolate, Grape, Strawberry tree, Rose apple - all things you get for your Valentines!

This year we are celebrating Valentines day with our special local event - "Aphrodisiacs, or Plants of Love".

When: Saturday, February 11, 2017, from 10 am to 2 pm
Where: Toptropicals Garden Center, 13890 Orange River Blvd, Ft Myers, FL 33905
10:00 am - Explore the grounds: Customers can come in to look through the nursery and guided tours through gardens.
12:00 pm - Aphrodisiac plants. Class on plants used for aphrodisiacs throughout history.

  1. pm - Plant giveaway. Must be present to win one of the aphrodisiac plants in lecture.
  2. pm - sale ends.

Special Love Discounts for local visitors! Snacks and drinks.

Just a few examples of the most famous plants of love that we will be talking about -
Coffea arabica - in East Africa and Arabia it was a sacred beverage to African sufis. For aphrodisiac results mix in cardamom and honey.
Banisteriopsis caapi, Ayahuasca - giant liana from tropical Amazon forests psychedelic, ritual inebriant that promotes potency. Drink is made from the bark and is taken in love rituals to revive the mythical past of the tribe.
Areca catechu, Betel Nut - seeds have stimulating effect on the entire body and eros. It’s a traditional aphrodosiac in Ayurvedic medicine and is counted among the eight types of pleasure in the Brahmanic tradition. It has magical and religious properties and used as an offering to the Gods.
Theobroma cacao, Chocolate - mild stimulant, beans contain aphrodisiac. Antient Indian "recipe of chocolati" will be shared at the event! Cocoa was considered the "food of gods".
Cinnamon - in Southern Asia used as stimulant, in food or massage oil for erotic stimulation.
Cola nitida, Cola nut - used in love magic, was used as currency in W Africa.
Cananga odorata, Ylang-Ylang - increases eroticism with oil inhaled. Prescribed to treat impotency and frigidity.
Butea monosperma, Flame of The Forest - is traditionally used to manage male sexual disorders.
Mimosa pudica, Sensitive Plant - significantly increases the libido and hormonal levels of testosterone.
Satureja Viminea, Kama Sutra Mint Tree - used for love gel...
- and much more!

TopTropicals Webinars. Welcome to Top Tropicals Webinar! Discover the world of Rare Plants and surround yourself with a Tropical Paradise! Our plant experts will be answering your garden questions. Our next LIVE air time is just before Valentines Day - Saturday February 11, at 2 pm ET, with a topic of... of course, Aphrodisiac Plants! Get your questions ready!


Aquarius Zodiac lucky plants

Aquarius - 1/22 - 2/18. Aquarius is an AIR sign ruled by odd-ball Uranus.
The water-bearer's plants will often grow in unusual places and may vary in appearance. They often have purple or blue flowers, or may have unusual colors.
The most healing and beneficial plants for Aquarius are the ones that help circulation, relax the nervous system, or promote inspiration. When Uranus was discovered, it replaced Mercury as ruler of Aquarius. Physiologically, Uranus rules the bioelectrical impulses that power the body’s nervous system (nervous tension and nervous exhaustion brought on by powerful changes in the environment are related to both Mercury and Uranus). Physically, Aquarius rules the lower legs, the calves, and the ankles, and the electrical impulses that travel through the body’s nervous system. The nervous system itself is ruled by Mercury, and Uranus is said to be a "higher octave" of Mercury. Since Uranus was discovered after the correspondences with plants had been established, the herbs used in Aquarius are Mercury herbs. Always difficult to pinpoint, quirky Aquarius appreciates the unusual and complex flavor of star anise. Use this star-shaped spice when you wish to bring happy surprises into your life.

Aquarius Zodiac lucky plants: Anise, Orchid, Golden rain - Koelreuteria paniculata, Bird of Paradise, Heliconia, Petrea, Mandevilla, Jasminum, Kiwi, Persimmon, Loquat, Olive, Alocasia, Colocasia, Citrus, Apple, Peppers, Gingers, Carambola, herbs spicy with an unusual flavor, White Pothos, Ivy, Shami - Prosopis cineraria, Neem, Medinilla, Sheesham Tree, Catnip, Passion fruit, Valerian, Aloe, Myrrh, Kava-kava, Cinnamon, Clove, Eucalyptus, Coffee, Cola nut, Nepenthes, Vanilla Orchid, Strongylodon - Jade vine, Tacca - Bat Lily, Eranthemums, Agapanthus, Orchid trees, Bolusanthus, Chamaedorea metallica, Clerodendrum ugandense, Clitoria, Duranta, Guaiacum, Jacaranda, Lavanda.

For other signs information, see full Plant Horoscope.

New Video: TopTropicals at TPIE show in Ft Lauderdale. Last week, your friends at Top Tropicals attended the 2017 Tropical Plant International Expo in sunny Ft. Lauderdale Florida. The Expo was an opportunity for Top Tropicals to introduce our SUNSHINE in a Bottle plant boosters as well as to bring a very rare plant Enchanted Incense to the tropical plant market!

Check out this video: TopTropicals at TPIE.

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!


Growing a coconut palm

Q: I love your Facebook section "ask the Gardener"! I received a coconut palm from a neighbor four years ago. It sprouted naturally from seed. We moved it to a location where it gets morning/ early afternoon sun in my yard. It hasn't grown. No, really. I've fertilized it, water it, what gives?! It puts out new green leaves every so often to replace old brown ones, but never gets any vertical height changes. I'm stumped!

A: It could be a few things and it could also be the type of coconut you are growing. Cocos nucifera is the only type of palm tree that produces coconuts. Within this species, however, there are dozens of different varieties of coconuts. The different varieties are usually divided into two main types: tall and dwarf. If it is only getting water when it rains, it does need more water. There could also be a problem with the PH in your soil. Most garden centers will be able to test your soil and let you know what it is missing. It could also be a micro-elements deficiency. We do have a micro-elements mix you can find at Toptropicals.com. Micro-elements are not always found in regular fertilizer.


10 plants that can make you happy.
3D garden ideas.

3D garden ideas.
Can you make my yard bigger and prevent it from freezing?

A: Yes, we can make your backyard bigger by adding a 3rd dimension - trees as a upper level, shrubs as a second level, vines in between, low growing perennials below them. Add ground covers and potted plants as separate specimens in between in-ground planted trees and shrubs. One more separate dimension is orchids and other epiphytes that happily grow on the trees. This multi-level structure will allow you not only collect so many plants, but also maintain them in a natural environment, similar to how they grow in a wild.

As far as preventing from freezing - it depends. You can use greenhouse, cover plants, create microclimate under large canopies, etc. Some tropical plants are tolerant to light frost, once established. If it gets below freezing in your area for more than a few hours, and especially if you have numerous nights with frost throughout winter, we recommend to keep plants in pots (BTW, this way you save space and can collect even more!). Pots can be moved to protected area during cold nights. The more established the tree, the more chances to survive colder temperatures. You may also use propane heaters during cold nights.
We also use plant booster SUNSHINE boosters to increase plants cold tolerance.
Cold protection is a lengthy subject. Here is some more information on cold protection. Also, we recommend to check out our magazine Tropical Treasures (about pushing the limits of tropical gardening) for a detailed article on cold protection.
These are specific articles on Zone-Pushing in different issue #s regarding dealing with cold. See downloadable issues:
(#1) Growing Tropicals in Nontropical Climate, Three Freezing Nights in Southwest Florida
(#2) Temperature drops - an alert or a rehearsal?
(#5) Dealing with cold snaps, Cold hardy beauties
(#7) When winter is around the corner, Growing exotic Cordyline in colder climate
(#8) When the weather outside is frightful
(#9) Winter champions
(#11) Ready-for-winter checklist for in-ground plants
(#13) Winter checklist
(#18) Dealing with cold damaged plants
You may also order hard copies.
If temperatures drop below freezing in your area, remember to add Heat Pack to your order!


10 plants that will make you happy.

Everyone wants to be happy. Did you know that growing plants is not only fun but can also make you happy? In our new series we will introduce to you 10 plants for your tropical collection that will make you happy.
Visit our Facebook, YouTube Channel and stay happy!

Check out this video: 10 plants that will make you happy. Plant # 1 - Rose Apple.

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!


January kaleidoscope: Top Tropicals plants... and cats

Plants in Winter

My plants Mango and Sapodilla (I got from Top Tropicals) got cold frost recently up to the roots recently in a cold wave in NJ. The leaves are dry. The plant was kept in a green house. But the heater was off for a night. During that time the in the pot got frozen. Will the plants survive? Will they come back during spring?

A: Unfortunately, the chances are slim. It is hard to determine now if they will survive. Those plants can take a very short cold. They might survive when the root system was not frozen solid. To ensure your plants cold protection in the future, this is what we recommend:

  1. Use temperature alarm. Nowadays they're very cheap, they can send a message to your email or cell phone.
  2. Heaters like any other piece of machinery may fail. Redundancy is the keyword. Instead of one large heater use two of smaller capacity. If one fails, then second one will prevent catastrophic failure
  3. Insulation. Extra layer of insulation helps greatly.
  4. If you leave for vacation, then plan ahead. Have somebody to watch over your greenhouse. Move plants or at least the most sensitive ones inside of your house if possible.

    Meet Top Tropicals Team. Part 1 - PeopleCats! Did you know that here at Top Tropicals we care not only about plants, but also animals? Most of our PeopleCats and PeopleDogs either came to us from nowhere in hope of survival, or have been rescued. TopTropicals is proud to support all of our People. A portion of every dollar you spend on a plant purchase goes to our Cat Community maintenance, food and other needs of these Little People. We will keep you updated with more pictures and videos on our PeopleCats (that also includes one dog Bob). They all are members of our Team, helping us to grow plants for you, pack them and send to you from our Shipping Department. Visit our Facebook, YouTube Channel and LIKE all of our People!

    Check out this video: Top Tropicals PeopleCats

    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!


New Video: Coffee plant

Top Tropicals Showcase: Coffee plant.

Check out this video: Top Tropicals Showcase: Coffee plant

Most people drink coffee every day but not all of them realize where this delicious drink comes from. It comes from a Coffee tree!
Coffee is the best gift plant and perfect container fruit tree. It grows into a beautiful dark green shrub or small tree. Coffee tree prefers filtered light which makes this plant a perfect house plant.
The white, fragrant, star-shaped flowers are clustered and resemble gardenias to which they are related. The whole fruit is edible, it is a small fleshy berry changing in color from green to yellow to red. The seeds are the actual "coffee beans" as they called, and can easily be dried, roasted and ground at home. The most common coffee is Coffea arabica; related species are Coffea robusta (Robusta Coffee) and Coffea liberica (Liberian Coffee).

Get a Coffee tree and it will keep you happy with the favorite beverage at all times!
Enjoy this video and your morning coffee.

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!


6 easiest fruit trees and 5 spices to grow in containers indoors

Q: This is why I want to move so that I can grow absolutely anything I want from your catalogue. Prefered Puerto Rico. Right now I live in New York and there is absolutely nothing I can grow there.

A: Of course living in Puerto Rico brings more opportunities to grow tropical species. However, you can create your unique tropical paradise even living in New York. We have many customers from up North who successfully grow tropical species (and get them to flower and fruit) in greenhouses, and even indoors.
Here are a few suggestions of tropical fruit trees that adapt well for container/indoor culture - for both beginners and advanced gardeners.

Top 6 fruit trees great for indoors / container culture / beginners

  1. Mango (Mangifera indica). Select from one of smaller mango varieties
  2. Sugar Apple (Annona squamosa)
  3. Guanabana, Soursop (Annona muricata)
  4. Miracle Fruit (Synsepalum dulcificum)
  5. June Plum (Spondias cytherea)
  6. Guava (Psidium guajava)
  7. top spice plants (the spice will be with you right away, you don't have to wait for it to grow)
    1. Allspice (Pimenta dioica)
  8. Cinnamomon or Campor tree
  9. Bay Leaf (Laurus nobilis)
  10. Mint Tree (Satureja vimenea)
  11. Vanilla orchid (Vanilla planifolia)

See a brief article of growing tropicals outside of tropics.

Don't forget to get some SUNSHINE boosters for your plant collection - for both successful indoor culture and cold protection!

See also our magazine Tropical Treasures) - Pushing the Limits of Tropical Gardening, with list of issues.