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Q: I want to order a plant that you have only one left in stock; however the weather is extremely hot in my area right now. Do you have any temperature limitations when you ship your plants?

A: We ship plants year around and do our best to watch weather forecast at destination. However the forecast may change to worse within a day or two while a plant is in transit. To ensure your plants have a safe trip during extreme weather, follow these steps:
- notify us if you want to wait until weather permitting so we hold your shipment until further notice;
- make sure to track your package and be at home at time of delivery. The only time when a plant can get temperature damage, from our experience, is when the box is left on your doorstep while too hot (or too cold) outside.
- you may use your business as shipping address if no one is home during regular business hours of delivery.
- unpack the box immediately and follow planting instructions. Keep plant in shade until recovered; never plant directly from a box into the ground; never plant into hot, full sun: protect a new plant with a shade cloth for a few days until established, and water as needed.
- use SUNSHINE booster to help plants recover from shipping stress. It really works! For only $4.95 with FREE shipping!

On the photo: Adenium is the easiest plant for shipping!


TROPICAL GARDENING: How to grow Brugmansia (Angel Trumpet) in the ground outside.


Q: I recently moved from New Jersey to Florida and I brought with me my Brugmansia that I used to have as a house plant. Can I plant it in the ground now?

A: Angel Trumpet - Brugmansia - is a very popular container plant valued for its large, stunning fragrant flowers. Originated from South America, it will be happy to grow in tropical to subtropical climate outdoors. These are a few useful tips to get the most out of this beautiful plant:

  1. Light. Plant it in full sun - the more sun, the more flowers you get, although Brugmansias tolerate shade. If the plant was previously grown in container indoors, to avoid leaf burn, keep it protected with a shade cloth or simply white sheet for a while and gradually open to adjust to full sun.
  2. Soil and fertilizer. Use fertile soil with lots of organic matter (add compost to existing soil). It must be very well drained, Angel Trumpet won't tolerate waterlogged conditions. Plant it on a little "hill" elevated 3-4" above the surrounding area. Brugmansias are very heavy feeders. Once the plant is established, fertilize on regular basis with Slow Release Fertilizer - a handful once a month.
  3. Water. Water daily until established. Once the root system is well developed, the plant is drought tolerant and won't require too much care. But at the beginning, watch the leaves - the lush foliage droops quickly if the plant is thirsty.
  4. Plan space. Brugmansia is a short tree, but it needs a lot of room to spread branches with its heavy hanging flowers. Think 12" wide and maybe almost as much tall.
  5. Support. Being widespread plant, Brugmansia can be blown with strong winds. Stake with strong support until established.
  6. Propagation. Brugmansia is one of the few plants that propagates with semi-woody cuttings; soft green cuttings usually have little success. Other than that, it is pretty easy!

    Check out our Brugmansia collection and... collect them all!


Fabulous Frangipani - Plumeria

New article! By Jane Jordan, a horticulturist who studied and worked at the RHS botanical gardens in Cannington, England. She now lives in Sarasota, Florida. Alongside her passion for horticulture, she is also a novelist.
"...The name Frangipani is derived from a 16th century Italian Marquess, who invented a plumeria scented perfume. While in Hawaii they are known as Lei trees. Lei means garland or wreath, and Lei flower garlands are famously given as a symbol of affection. Hawaii has become synonymous with this beautiful flower, although Frangipani, is native to warm tropical areas of the Mexico, Central America, India and the Caribbean, accordingly, this plant is well suited to the Floridian climate and hardy to USDA planting zones 9-11..."


Adenium: a Rose by any Other Name

New article by Jane Jordan.
"...The famous quote is often used to imply that the names of things do not affect what they really are, in the case of The Desert Rose (Adenium obesum) it is not a rose at all, rather a succulent that thrives in hot, dry and sunny conditions. These spectacular plants have no relation to the rose family, they are a species of flowering plant from the dogbane family, Apocynaceae. The naming of this plant is partly correct as they originate in sub-Saharan Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, where they can grow into large trees with huge swollen trunks..."
Continue reading...


Tip of the Month: dealing with heat waves

Q: I live in California and this summer has been super hot, with temperature above 100 degrees. This heat wave is killing my plants! Please help!

A: If you live in Southwest, then you are familiar with heat waves, when temperature raises above 110F and up to 120F, while humidity is below 10%. Scorching heat can damage and kill unprotected young plants. Especially if they're recently planted.

Most tropical plants came from humid tropics and they don't easily tolerate high temperatures and low humidity. You can tell such plants immediately. Desert plants have small, waxy succulent leaves, which are capable to reduce evaporation. (See list of plants tolerant to hot and dry conditions). Tropical plants have large soft leaves and need high humidity.

These steps will help to protect them... Continue reading...


The Enchanting Datura

New article by Jane Jordan
"...Commonly known as the Devils trumpet, Datura has long been associated with witchcraft and voodoo rituals. Ideally suited for moon or night gardens, the blooms are fragrant and particularly so at night..." Continue reading...

5 important tips for successful growing Datura and Brugmansia;

  1. Full sun
  2. Use fertile soil that must be vewry well-drained. Plant in elevation
  3. Ample water encourages fast growth, but never allow wet feet!
  4. Fertilize heavily during hot season
  5. Propagate Brugmansia with semi-woody cuttings, Datura - with seeds that have a long shelf live

    Buy Datura and Brugmansia from our store


We can ID plants for you! Even Mango Elephant...

Q: I had a mango tree, the fruit was very large and no one knew the name of it. Can you please tell me the name of it or something about it? I have never seen this variety before. It weighed in at 7 lbs, it smells a little like bubble gum, its flesh is fiberless and the taste is watery with a little sweet. And do you have it for sale? I don't have the tree anymore. My pictures are about a year or two old, lighting struck the tree and it died so I have been trying ever since then to find another tree but I don't know what kind it is. I originally bought the tree on side of the road cause I always wanted a mango tree so I didn't care at the time what kind it was so I bought it but I was shocked at how big the mango was. However I collected rotten mangoes off the ground and planted the seeds. Only one germinated.

A: This mango is called Elephant. We will try to find this grafted variety and let you know when we have it. Unfortunately seedlings take many years to fruit (8-15 for mango) and usually do not come trues to seed.
The closest variety by fruit size is Lancetilla, it is a giant 5 lb fruit, of a very good quality. And the best tasting and the most popular - Nam Doc Mai!

Remember at Top Tropicals, we can help you to identify plants for you! Just send us a picture. Close up of leaves and/or flowers/fruit will be always helpful. Top Tropicals plant experts are always here to help!


Choosing the right Mango for your garden

Q: Do the mango trees you sell already have fruit? Or how long does it take to get fruit? Are they tricky to keep up? I live locally and have been interested in getting a few!

A: Some of our mangos in both 3 gal and 7 gal pots have fruit on them. All our mango trees are grafted which means they are ready to produce fruit. So if not the same year, you should get fruit the next year.
Mangoes in general are easy to grow plants. They are not picky about soil and water, however they need full sun for fruiting. When you are lucky to live in tropical or subtropical climate, your mango will thrive in a ground, and within 2-3 years you will have a mature tree, and a crop every year (those who have cold winters, still can grow a mango tree in a pot, and move it indoors for colder period). Visit our garden center for a tour of our Mango Gardenthat is only 3 years old and is full of fruit! Tasting table available :) We offer over 100 varieties, and our experts can help you to make the right choice for your garden. To start your own mango tree collection, depending on space available, you may begin with the following varieties:
Nam Doc Mai - one of the most popular and delicious Asian mango
Carrie - very compact grower, reliable producer with great taste
Cogshall and Ice Cream - dwarf varieties for small yards, excellent taste
Alphonso - considered one of the best tasting

See full list of our mango varieties, all fiberless and great sweet flavors.


Tip of the day: Growing Plumeria from seed

Q: I purchased a Plumeria from your company. It has done quite nicely and now has produced a seed pod. Please forward me information on how to care for it and use the seeds that may be inside to propagate another plant.

A: Wait until seeds are ripe (seed pod turns brownish). Soak seeds overnight. Use only well drained soil, or cactus mix. Insert heavy end of seed 1/4" into soil, leaving feathered end exposed. Place the pot in direct sunlight. Don't allow soil to completely dry out, but don't let it be soggy. Germination occurs usually within 3 weeks. Do not overwater. For more information on growing Plumerias, see our slideshow guide: Plumerias - perfumed Lei flowers.


Cold hardy tropical fruit trees for Luisiana

Q: I’ve just moved to Louisiana and have been wondering whether it would make sense to plant some tropical fruit trees in our garden. Average lows in New Orleans are 41 deg F in January and February, although we did hit 25 once with the Arctic vortex. I’m interested in litchi, longan, rambutans, and persimmons. Do you have varieties that can tolerate Louisiana’s temperature range? I’d love mangosteen but I don’t suppose they will survive. Do you have any suggestions on tropical fruit trees that I could try?

A: Average temperatures are for statistics only; it is actual temperatures that may hurt your cold sensitive plant. This is what you should keep in mind when starting your tropical fruit collection:

  1. Ultra-tropical plants like Rambutan can not survive winters below 45-50F. However, they can be successfully grown in containers in a greenhouse or moved indoors into a sun room during cold periods.
  2. Tropical plants like Litchi and Longan may take some light frost once established. Still, for areas with freeze our advice is - keep them in pots and move inside in case of cold.
  3. There is a number of subtropical fruit trees that are hardy enough to take some freeze. Persimmon, Feijoa, Fig, Cattley Guava, Jujube, Kiwi, some Eugenias and others. Please refer to our Tropical Fruit Sensitivity Chart.
  4. Remember that plant's ability to survive winter depends on several factors, not only temperature itself. Important factors are: wind protection (chill wind kills rather than low temperature itself), exposure, how close the tree is planted to the house, plant maturity and its overall strength and health. If a plant had received good nutrients during summer, has well established root system, planted in enclosed area protected from winds and has plenty of bright sunlight - it has better chances to survive than a weak plant in warmer conditions.
  5. Use SUNSHINE plant boosters for improving cold tolerance of your tropical plant. It only takes a few drops, and only costs $5!