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Quirky Brazilian Starfish Pepper

by Onika Amell, tropical plant expert

There is something very rewarding in growing your own peppers. Brazilian Starfish pepper - Capsicum baccatum is a little bomb of flavor! This is not a plant you will find just anywhere in the United States.
This is a very uniquely shaped pepper which makes it an excellent ornamental plant. But unlike many other peppers with pretty faces and lacking in flavor, the Brazilian Starfish pepper is delicious too. It is hailed for the complex floral and fruity undertones and a medium level of heat for most folks. These fruity and juicy, crunchy peppers are perfect for pickling or just eating raw in salads or salsas. They are irresistible in a glass pickling jar because of their unique shape. Bold and crisp, this pepper is much sought after by foodies and gardeners alike.



PeopleCats amid COVID-Cat-20

"It's not the size of the cat in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the cat"
- Mark Twain -

While the whole world is suffering the virus attack, cats are no exception. They do not get COVID-19, but they have their own coronavirus - a respiratory condition that may become very dangerous for them. And although cat coronavirus does not affect humans, we can transfer it to other cats through our hands/petting, shared bowls and bedding, etc.
At TopTropicals, we had several cats sick with the flu and it took us a long time and long hospital bills to bring them back to health! Below we are sharing with you a few tips from our own experience that may help you fight and treat cat coronavirus, that we call "Covid-Cat-20".

Chief is breathing through his mouth: "Stuffed nose sucks!"

How to treat Cat Coronavirus

When cats get a flu/virus/cold, they suffer congestion, sneeze and cough. Just like us humans. But for cats, stuffed nose is much worse trouble, because they can't smell food = they won't eat it! In tough cases, they won't even drink any water. Due to specifics of cat metabolism, if a cat doesn't eat and/or drink for more than a couple of days, it may become life-threatening. It is not the virus that kills a cat, it is dehydration, lack of nutrition, and possible secondary infections.

- Vet. During Covid-19 lockdown, many animal hospitals are closed, but if you are lucky to find a vet, it is wise to give the cat a long-lasting shot of antibiotic. You can't treat a virus with antibiotic, but it will prevent secondary infections (like pneumonia, etc.)
- Water is absolutely essential! Make sure your Cat drinks water. If he (she) doesn't want to drink on his own, you need to give him water with a syringe. As often as you can. Little by little. Or, ask a vet to put a "water pouch" under cat's skin. This will save the cat from dehydration.
- Food is the main key! Your cat must eat a normal size portion per day in order to fight the illness. Because he can't smell, it's possible he won't eat on his own. Offer him a smelly, soft/wet food of room temperature or slightly warmer: usually tuna works well. Get Salmon Oil and put on top of the food: it is smelly, plus a great vitamin supplement.
- Hand-feeding. If congestion is bad, even a smelly tuna may not help. Mix a spoonful of pate with some water and try to hand-feed this "soup" to the cat either using syringe, or a small spoon. Little by little. Remember, his nose is stuffed and he can't swallow and breath at the same time, so it must be tiny bites. (Wrap the entire cat tightly in a large thick towel to save yourself lots of scratching damage, leaving out just the face. Guaranteed, he won't like the procedure and you will be surprised how strong he is for a sick cat.)
- Supplements. For an extra nutrition support, you may use Critical nutrition food and other protein supplements. Consult your vet and you may want to try the following aids: High Calorie Liquid or Gel (easier to administer), HomeoPet Nose Relief (for de-congestion), Lysine Soft Chews, and Mirataz ointment (to promote appetite).
- Rest. Keep the cat indoors, in a warm place, away from drafts. Cover with a towel to make comfy. Keep lights dimmed. Change bedding, towels, blankets at least daily to keep clean, get rid of germs and drooling accidents.
- Quarantine from other cats, the cat coronavirus is super catchy! Find that spare room. Bleach, soap, alcohol and Hand Sanitizer - are your friends now to maintain germ- and virus-free environment.
- Mild cases. Some cats have mild symptoms (we've noticed that black cats and tuxedo cats are more susceptible regardless of age). In this case, do not panic - just give them time to recover. Lots of rest, privacy, and be sure to monitor water/food intake!
- Tough cases. Most cats look lethargic when sick. At some point, if within 3-4 days you don't see improvement and the coughing continues, you need x-ray to rule out pneumonia.

Stay well and healthy, PeopleCats!

Biggy sneezed... Ooops, sorry for no mask!

TopTropicals PeopleCat Club

Thank you everybody for supporting us in helping PeopleCat Community!
Make your kind donation today and receive a surprise gift from us. Every little bit helps! Thank you and God bless you and your pets!

Coughing Marco is practicing Social Distancing


Fast-fruiting trees

Grafted trees, including Mango and Avocado, will start flowering and fruiting right away

Q: It would be easier for us buyers, if we could search for plants that produce fruit in 2 years or less... I don't have the patience to wait longer than that for fruit. I'm trying to buy for a fairly good sized garden but want some fast growers and fruit produced in 2 yrs. Can you help me out?

A: Fruiting time depends on many factors (growing conditions, fertilizing, and even specific variety), this is why we can not just put a simple icon "will fruit within 2 years". However, most grafted and air-layered fruit trees, including all Mango, Avocado, Loquat, Sapote, Sapodilla, Longan, Peaches and Nectarines - will fruit right away.
If you see in our store "grafted" or "air-layered" in plant description - these trees will fruit soon. Some of them are already flowering and fruiting!

Some non-grafted trees will fruit within a couple of years or even sooner (those from cuttings, root division or even seedlings) - such as: Annona, Artocarpus (Jackfruit), Eugenia, Guava, Banana, Dragon fruit, Mulberry, Blackberry/Raspberry. Banana, Mulberry, Dragon fruit, Blackberry-Raspberry - usually fruit within a year. You may refer to our store directory page for fruit specials.

Also, all spice trees like Bay Leaf, Bay Rum, Allspice and many more - will produce spice for you right away, so you don't need to wait at all!

Annonas start fruiting within 3 years from seed and are the most popular fruit trees for both container culture and small gardens.

This Jackfruit started fruiting on the second year after planting in the ground.

Carambola - Start Fruit - will start producing fruit the same year or next year. We have them fruiting in pots, sometimes as small as 1 gal pots!


People of TopTropicals. Chic of the Day: Easter Present from Klaksa

In the photo: Duck versions 2.1 and 1.0

In our last newsletter Cat of the Day was Klaksa with her hunting habits and her love for birds...
While we are still sticking to the statement that "no birds were hurt in the process so far", she brought us an Easter Present! Yes, the Present is very much alive and super hungry. Klaksa did not tell us where she got it and how can we bring it back... So we are stuck with another duck! The previous version - Duck Dobi, has been raised by Kristi from a little chic-duckling, and after 2 years of ruling the Cat Community in our Garden center, Dobi finally left with her boyfriend - without saying thank you or even good-bye!
The Duck Version 2.1 has been eating and pooping happily all day. Luckily we found a person with a duck farm, and hopefully will get this baby a good home soon!

In the photo: Duck Dobi

TopTropicals PeopleCat Club

Thank you everybody for supporting us in helping PeopleCat Community!
Make your kind donation today and receive a surprise gift from us. Thank you and God bless you and your pets!


Exotic Easter Lily Vine

by Onika Amell, tropical plant expert

If you happen to love Easter Lilies, let us introduce you to a very beautiful and hard-to-find vine... The magnificent Easter Lily Vine - Beaumontia grandiflora, is not sold at most nurseries and is not widely grown for this very reason. We certainly feel it should be, as this woody vine is a tremendous climber which rewards the gardener with large clusters of white flowers resembling Easter Lilies, during early spring to late fall. The flowers are sweetly scented and make excellent cut flowers, which last for at least a week! An added bonus is the twining ends, which makes a very unusual and interesting addition to floral arrangements...


Here at the nursery, our Easter Lily vines are almost ready to burst into full bloom. We are waiting impatiently. Order yours, and have a Happy Easter!

Seeds of Easter Lily vine also available at BOGO deal - buy 2 packs for the price of 1 with FREE shipping!

See how to how to create a fragrant privacy fence of virtually unlimited size.


PeopleCats of TopTropicals. Cat of the Day: Klaksa, the Bird Purrrson

Klaksa is a tiny cat. She is almost 4 years old but she weighs only 6 pounds!
Klaksa considers herself a serious hunter. She spends her days chasing birds on neighbors' roofs. With very little success though. However she never gives up her dream to catch a Bird of Paradise.
In the meantime, she has been only catching the Birds of Paradise from our garden. No birds were hurt in the process so far!

Can you find a cat in the picture?

In the photo: Mini-Klaksa with her full-size buddy Google

TopTropicals PeopleCat Club

Thank you everybody for supporting us in helping PeopleCat Community! Donations accepted from our website. Thank you and God bless you and your pets!


Gardening has hooked another fan!

Over the last few weeks, we've been discussing using this time to engage in the activities that make you happy, to do more of what you love. Of course, for all of us at Top Tropicals, we have been singing the praises of gardening and tropical plants for years and sharing the love with any friends and neighbors who have expressed an interest in our activity of choice.
Do we have an affect on some people? Do we encourage them to try their hand at gardening and experience the wonder of plants? Yesterday, we just saw it with our own eyes. Our neighbor, to whom we once gave an Ylang Ylang tree, has consistently and politely resisted a suggestion to try gardening herself and put some new and interesting plants in an otherwise traditionally landscaped builders' home. Even her husband emphatically stated that he was never going to put plants in, let alone take existing plain boring stuff out!
What a pleasant surprise when we saw them both and their 2 young children digging in the garden together yesterday. They replaced a whole section of generic stock plants provided by the builder and filled the area in with loads of colorful flowers and even topped it off with a healthy dose of new mulch! We couldn't believe our eyes and was so happy to see the gardening "bug" made yet another friend!

We hope our Dream Cart Offer will help someone make their dreams come true, and this forced vacation time will be well spent on their home and garden!

Save 20% on ANY 20 Dream Plants in your cart!


PeopleCats of the World. Cats of the Day: Hemingway's six-toed cats

If the mountain won't come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain. For today's trip to Tropics we invited PeopleCats from the famous Hemingway House in Key West, Florida.

The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum is home to approximately 40-50 polydactyl (six-toed) cats. Most cats have extra toes on their front feet and sometimes on their back feet as well. Sometimes it looks as if they are wearing mittens because they appear to have a thumb on their paw! All Hemingway cats carry the polydactyl gene in their DNA, which means that the ones that have 4 and 5 toes can still mother or father six-toed kittens.
Ernest Hemingway was given a white six-toed cat by a ship’' captain and some of the cats who live on the museum grounds are descendants of that original cat, named Snow White. The trait can appear in any breed, Calicos, Tabbies, Tortoise Shell. White, Black, etc. They vary in shapes, sizes, colors and personalities.
Hemingway named all of his cats after famous people so they follow that same tradition today. Cats are capable of learning and responding to their names...

In the photo: Hemingway's cats on Hemingway's bed.

TopTropicals PeopleCat Club

Thank you everybody for supporting us in helping PeopleCat Community! Donations accepted from our website. Thank you and God bless you and your pets!


You are safe in your garden!

"In front of my house, banana Musa basjoo in ground since more than 12 years!"
Lucie Herard, Montreal Tropical.

Lucie's tropical garden in Montreal, Canada:
"The movement of plants fascinates me!"

Our customer Lucie Herard shared pictures of her tropical garden with us... Many of you have beautiful gardens that you are proud of... but this one is... in Canada! Believe it or not, before winter she digs everything up and brings it inside! Then in Spring, she starts again every year. Dedication? Determination? Heroism! Lucie won the Planet Bananiers photo contest for the third time.
Look at these pictures and visit Lucie's Facebook page for more photos and videos of her amazing garden. Ask yourself: and what can I do? Is my life really that hard with mowing a lawn once a week and blowing the leaves? You don't have to be a hero to make something worthwhile in your life. Just take a shovel and start... one plant a day. And you will end up living in Paradise.
Lucie reminds you: "Ornamental horticulture production activities are now considered an essential service! Add soil in a pot, water very slightly for the first two weeks and put closer to the window. That's all, the leaves will start growing again!"

Tropical Paradise Contest 2020

Share with us photos of your garden. The winner of this contest will get plants $200 worth, with FREE shipping!

Submit your photos before April 15, 2020
and win $200 in tropical plants!


PeopleCats of TopTropicals. Cat of the Day: Chief, Employee of the Month

"Can we get to normal World?"

If you visited TopTropicals Garden center, you've seen our Employee of the Month board in the office. And the picture on it... with our Chief, who is truly an irreplaceable member of our Shipping Crew. He is definitely the most responsible worker and reliable Chief Supervisor. This week, while greeting customers, he asked everybody to follow these simple rules that he established in the Nursery for everybody's safety during COVID-19 alert:

1. Yes, we are open! But If you want to browse the nursery, please call for assistance at the gate and we will come over to help you.
2. Please NO CHILDREN on the property at this time. If you came with kids, have them wait in your car while you are shopping. Chief can entertain them!
3. Nursery is OPEN for browsing, limiting 2 customers at a time on the premises.
4. If you know what plant(s) you want, just call us directly at our customer service desk 239-771-8081 and we can bring those plants, for your convenience, to the office or even to the gate.

Stay connected and we will get through this, all together, and we all will be just fine! So says Chief.

TopTropicals PeopleCat Club

Thank you everybody for supporting us in helping PeopleCat Community! Donations accepted from our website. Thank you and God bless you and your pets!