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Ten steps to Happy Gardening in 2023

Beginning of the year checklist

Lagerstroemia flowering tree on crossroads

To assist our customers in creating a happy and enjoyable gardening experience this year, we consulted with our horticulturist to compile a list of ten recommended items. Here are the results...

1. A favorite. Get yourself a favorite small flowering plant that is compact, manageable, and easy. Such as Ground Orchid. Keep it in a pot or plant in the ground by the entryway where it can be seen often and enjoyed.
2. A fruit of your labor. You need at least one (or one more) fruit tree for your garden, or for container culture if you live in colder climate. Growing and especially harvesting tropical fruit will make you happy. The Winner of the last year was Cherry Lolita - an easy, compact fruit tree that can produce almost year around. Some fruit trees will fruit right away!
3. Be exclusive. A rare plant is a must for every gardener. It can be a useful gem such as Noni Tree or an unusual-looking like a Bat Lily - Tacca. Show your friends and neighbors something different they have never seen!
4. Make it cool. Finally plant that shade tree by your driveway. Yes it takes time to grow, but the sooner you plant it, the sooner you get that shade! There are some fast growing species, some only take a couple of years to the mature size.
5. Beauty. If you have an ugly fence or unwanted view in your yard, cover it with a flowering vine. Look at the beauty every day and make your life better. Replace a boring standard hedge with colorful flowering shrubs that will make you smile.
6. Scent. Add some fragrant plants to your landscape and inhale their healing magic.
7. Tropical. For a shady corner, select a showy tropical with lush foliage such as Philodendron or Monstera, or all time favorite Banana. Get a feel of tropics.
8. Happiness of giving. Buy a gift plant for someone you care about but don't know how to thank them. Live plant is the best expression of love and gratitude. If you are unsure what plant to pick, ask our Team or simply buy a Gift Certificate that will never expire - let them chose the plant they like.
9. Food for all. A set of quality liquid fertilizers is a must - try Sunshine Boosters that can be used year around. They will make your plants healthy, strong, fast growing, cold hardy and disease-resistant. You can choose formulas for different plant types from our selection, or simply buy online a Nutrition Kit of 8 bottles that will cover all your needs and save you 50% on fertilizer cost!
10. Share. Subscribe your friend to TopTropicals Newsletter so they can get a weekly Piece of Tropics in their mailbox. Cool Cat Photos come as a bonus!

Sunshine boosters Robusta and C-Cibus with a bunch of bananas

Make sure to always have on hand at least 2 main formulas of Sunshine Boosters - Robusta for vegetative growth, and C-Cibus that will satisfy plant needs for both fruit production and profuse flowering


Cold protection for tropical plants

greenhouse and cold protection covers on tropical plants

Pushing the limits of tropical gardening

The year is almost over but the winter is not. This Christmas weekend at our Sebring B-farm we had it down to 30F. As a tropical gardener, winter can be challenging, especially if you grow plants outside of tropical zones.

greenhouse with tropical plants

To protect your garden from the cold, consider the following:

1. Monitor freeze watches and be prepared to take action if necessary.
2. Create temporary structures like mini-greenhouses using PVC pipes, carport frames, or bamboo sticks to support covers.
3. Use covers such as frost cloth, cardboard boxes, blankets, and bed sheets.
4. Use Christmas lights and other heating elements, including propane heaters, to keep plants warm.
5. Add a layer of heavy mulch around plant trunks to protect them from the cold.
6. Apply plant boosters that improve cold hardiness, such as Sunshine Epi, Sunshine-Si, and Sunshine Superfood.

At TopTropicals B-Farm, we sprayed our plants with a special cold hardiness treatment Sunshine-Si and covered and wrapped everything we could. We also moved cold sensitive species inside greenhouses. All of our plants are looking great and happy!

Mulching mango trunks and using Christmas lights for cold protection

Photo above: Mulching mango trunks and using Christmas lights for cold protection

Read more about this special treatment plan: Cold Hardiness Improvement Kit.

Covering plants during cold night

Plastic warm house wrapping

Photo above: Temporary wrapping of a section of a greenhouse with a plastic or frost cloth protects from a windchill. It may also win you a few degrees even without a heater. In this particular case, according to our temp sensors, it was 30F outside, and 41F inside this "dome", no heaters used.

Sunshine Boosters:

Last chance to stock up
at a lower price!

Sunshine Boosters are natural, amino acid-based liquid fertilizers made with only the highest quality ingredients. Starting in 2023, the pricing for Sunshine Boosters will be adjusting to reflect the increasing cost of supplies. This is your last chance to stock up on Sunshine Boosters before the end of the year! Sunshine Boosters are safe to use year around, with every watering.

Don't miss out on this opportunity to get the best value for your money!

Use discount for even better deal:

for 22% off orders $220+

Min order $220. Offer expires 12-31-22

Sunshine boosters for different plant types


The food of the Gods:
A legend of the Guanabana

Guanabana fruit

Grow Your Own Food

Guanabana, also known as Soursop, is a tropical fruit native to Central and South America. It is known for its sweet, juicy flesh and has a variety of medicinal properties.

According to legend, Guanabana was once a rare and coveted fruit that only grew in the highest reaches of the Andes Mountains. It was said to have mystical powers and was believed to be the food of the Gods. Those who ate the fruit were said to be blessed with good health and long life.

One day, a young shepherd boy came across a guanabana tree growing in a remote valley. He plucked a fruit from the tree and tasted it, finding it to be the most delicious thing he had ever eaten. The boy returned to his village and told everyone about the magical fruit he had discovered. Soon, word of the Guanabana spread far and wide, and people came from all over to try the fruit for themselves.

Painting of a shepherd in a valley holding guanabana fruit

As the demand for Guanabana grew, the fruit began to be cultivated and grown in other parts of the world. Today, it is enjoyed by people all over the world and is known for its unique flavor and health benefits.

Download Article from Tropical Treasures Magazine: How to grow Guanabana indoors. Hand-pollinating and fruiting.

Guanabana fruit on a tree by a hand


Surinam Cherry Lolita and Bermuda Christmas Pie

By Alex Butova, the Witch of Herbs and Cats

Black Surinam Cherry Lolita, fruit

Eugenia uniflora Lolita also known as Black Surinam Cherry, is a tropical fruit tree native to South America. Black fruited Surinam Cherry starts as red and turns black as it ripens and has exceptional flavor. The plant is vigorous and ready to fruit the same year. The fruit is very sweet, without aftertaste, large 1-1.2 inch, very juicy. The fruits are being eaten fresh, and also used in jams, jellies, and pies.

One popular use of Surinam Cherry is in Christmas cherry pie - Bermuda Pie, a traditional dessert served during the holiday season. The fruit is cooked down with sugar and spices to create a thick, flavorful filling for the pie. The dark red to really black color of the fruit adds a festive touch to the dessert.

Bermuda cherry pie from Surinam cherry

In addition to being used in culinary applications, Surinam Cherry has a number of other uses. The tree is often grown as an ornamental plant due to its attractive foliage and bright ribbed fruit. The fruit is also used in traditional medicine in some parts of South America, where it is believed to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The pulp is a good source of calcium, and a fair source of phosphorus and iron. Its juice is fermented into wine or vinegar.

Black Surinam Cherry on plate

Despite its many uses, Surinam Cherry is not widely grown outside of its native range in South America. However, it is becoming increasingly popular in tropical and subtropical regions around the world, where it is prized for its attractive appearance and flavorful fruit. This tropical plant can successfully be grown in a pot indoors in the cooler zones.

See Video: Black Surinam Cherry Lolita

Black Surinam Cherry Lolita, tree


Heat [Cat] Pack for Winter shipping

James Coconuts and Riki staying warm and cozy

In the photo: James Coconuts and Riki are purrfectly hot People!

Not too warm on the way to your home? No problem! Heat Pack will help your plants to have a safe and warm trip from Top Tropicals to your house.

Heat pack

Heat Pack maintains warm temperature while shipping, and is good for 20+ hours. It is a must if temperature drops below 40F in your area. Large orders require 2-3 packs. When ordering large 3-7 gal size plants (especially sensitive ultra-tropical plants), you may need 1 pack per plant. Contact us for more information on particular species.

Alternatively, we can include a warm cat!
(subject to limited supply)


Noni, the Superfruit

Nature's Food and Pharmacy

Noni fruit painting

At our Christmas Plant Market a few days ago, many guests purchased a Noni tree. Everybody loved its large, beautiful leathery leaves, and were buying Noni as a present. It was appreciated as ornamental, for example as a showy specimen tree with a tropical look for a pool area. But very few people actually knew that this tree was a source of a famous Noni Juice - a unique remedy from Mother Nature... Some were surprised the plant had so many health benefits! So we promised to tell more about Noni in our newsletter.

Noni fruit on a branch

The Noni tree - Morinda citrifolia - is a beautiful ornamental tree because of its glossy green leaves and curious fruit. The tree is prized for its medicinal fruit.
The Noni is considered to be a "superfruit" because of its high levels of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. The fruit, leaves, and roots of the Noni tree are used in traditional medicine to treat a wide variety of ailments, including pain, inflammation, and infections. Some people also use Noni fruit and juice as a natural health supplement because of its potential health benefits.
Additionally, the Noni tree is easy to grow and care for, making it a popular choice for both gardens and houseplant collections.

Noni fruit

For more information on health benefits of Noni, download pdf of Noni article (from our Magazine Tropical Treasures) and watch the video: Doctor Noni.

Noni tree houseplant indoors

In the photo: Noni as a houseplant. So much better than a boring ficus!

Noni tree producing in a pot

In the photo: Noni is happily fruiting in 7 gal pot. It's a beautiful ornamental and a conversation piece.


Eight best fruit trees that produce right away

Grow Your Own Food

Malpighia glabra - Barbados Cherry, Acerola

In the photo: Malpighia glabra - Barbados Cherry, Acerola

What fruit trees start fruiting right away?

Q: What fruit trees do you recommend that will start fruiting right away? I am 84 and I would really love to see the fruit sooner than later!

A: Most of grafted fruit trees will start producing the same year - such as Mango, Avocado, Peaches and other grafted trees. Besides, these are several garden favorites that start fruiting right in 1-3 gal container.

1. Eriobotrya japonica - Loquat
2. Spondias cytherea - June Plum
3. Psidium guajava - Tropical Guava
4. Musa sp. - Banana
5. Annona squamosa - Sugar Apple
6. Morus sp. - Mulberry tree
7. Eugenia uniflora - Surinam Cherry
8. Malpighia glabra - Barbados Cherry, Acerola

June Plum -Ambarella, Spondias cytherea


Plant Horoscope - Sagittarius
Zodiac Lucky Plants 11/22-12/21

Colocasia - Sagittarius Zodiac Lucky Plant

By Alex Butova, the Witch of Herbs and Cats

...Of all three fire signs, Sagittarius is the least likely to care with growing plants.... In the short hours of rest, he will gladly look and smell, and taste, and even will delighted with them (if time remains), thinking: "Beautiful! I hadn't noticed before?" And, instructing someone to start growing the plants he likes, this tireless Archer will hurry further... Plants that can attract the attention of Sagittarius most often have large spectacular flowers with a pronounced scent, often they have large, elongated leathery leaves. And he also really likes fruits and nuts - he loves a deliciousness....
...Colocasia's and Alocasia's heart-shaped leaves, arrow-like (named also sagittate!) shoots, and overall rarity makes these plants stand out next to more traditional house plants. These plants are known as needing little more love and care, but also for being able to return these benefits to their gardener. Alocasias are so perfect for Sagittarius, he feels their vibrations, which are so necessary for him in achieving his goals. They are the real talisman for this sign...


Heliconia rostrata (Lobster Claw) - Sagittarius Zodiac Lucky Plant

Philodendron Birkin
Striped Delight - Sagittarius Zodiac Lucky Plant


Quick Peak - coming soon:
The Robuster Smart Injector System

At B-Farm, we also demonstrated our first prototype of The Robuster - an automatic care-free plant feeder for liquid fertilizers. This smart electronic device has been developed in the past few months by our engineers in Ukraine. Yes, these heroic people continue their creative work amid the terrible war, during power blackouts, often with no light and no heat. In just the past few months they managed to design this unique and affordable smart injector that will be available soon for every gardener, for every backyard!
Check back with us for more information, pictures, video, prices - The Rubuster will be available for sale and installation soon!

The Robuster injector system