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Plants and Cats... do they mix well?

Cat with houseplant collection in a tub

How to keep cats and plants together without going crazy

Growing indoor plants is a great hobby because it provides a sense of accomplishment and allows you to have a piece of nature inside your home. Many people know that indoor plants improve air quality and have a calming and stress-relieving effect...
Having cats in the house is also fun: they provide companionship and can be very affectionate. Just like plants, they also have a calming effect on people and can be very entertaining to watch. Taking care of a cat can provide a sense of responsibility and can be very rewarding...
When it comes to keeping both of these rewarding hobbies in the same house, the question is: are they compatible? Cats may be attracted to houseplants because they like to chew on leaves or dig in the soil... others pull the vines or even swing in hanging baskets!

To keep cats and houseplants in the same house follow these tips:

  1. Grow a potted "cat grass" so a cat has some greens to chew
  2. Provide alternatives such as chew toys
  3. Train your cat... yes, sometimes it takes a spray bottle to teach staying away from a plant!
  4. Create barriers/screens
  5. Consider keeping plants in hanging baskets out of reach.

This will help keep your cats and plants happy and healthy together! As a purrfect start - order rare indoor plants online...

Cat James Coconuts working with 

In the photo: James Coconuts is planning his handyman project


Secrets of Winter planting:
Tropical Planting Breaks the Rules

Winter flowering tree - Ceiba

by Murray Corman, Garden of Delights

Wintertime does not just mean hard work for tropical gardeners. It is also a time to enjoy the fruits of our labor. Winter-blooming plants and the visitors they attract - birds, bats and butterflies - make the garden as enjoyable in winter as any other time of year.
What a welcome relief: January daytime temperatures in the 70s, dropping to the 60s at night. This is why I came to live in the subtropics of southern Florida. The balmy climate of South Florida represents one of the few places on the mainland United States where tropical plants thrive unprotected outdoors.
But just as I had to leave behind so many of my favorite northern trees, so too did I have to put behind me many of the so-called "rules" of horticulture. These had worked well for me up north and I thought they would hold true anywhere in the world. Florida's subtropical climate posed new challenges and I soon realized that gardening in the Sunshine State would not be business as usual...

See also: A Guide to Cold Hardy Tropical Fruit Trees and Avoicado Varieties (pdf download)

Noni tree with Christmas tree indoors

Photo above: Noni is not just a useful fruit tree, but also a great ornamental for both sun or shade. It is also great for interior floral design or as an exotic addition to your room decorations in Winter! It fruits year round even indoors!
Order Noni online.


Vietnamese Mickey Mouse Plant
Hoa Mai - a must for 2023 luck!

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Vietnamese Mickey Mouse plant

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The most celebrated flower in Vietnam, Ochna integerrima, called in Vietnam Hoa Mai or Mai Vang, blooms profusely on the occasion of Tet, the Vietnamese New Year. It will be celebrated soon - January 22. As we know, it is a Year of the Cat. So, all you will need is a Cat and... the Hoa Mai, the Mickey Mouse plant!

Mickey Mouse plant has pretty bright yellow flowers, believed to bring good luck and prosperity. They are followed by cute shiny black berries on bright red sepals that resemble the face of Mickey Mouse.

Vietnamese Mickey Mouse plant


2023 - a year of Hope,
a year of the Cat who protects your crop

Cat with tropical fruit

According to the Vietnamese Lunar Calendar, Year 2023 is a year of the Water Cat, starting from January 22nd, 2023 - same as Chinese New Year.
While in Chinese culture it is called a Year of the Rabbit, the Cat was seen as more relevant to the daily lives of Vietnamese farmers, who valued the cat's ability to protect their crops from rats, squirrels... or even rabbits?
At the same time, the Vietnamese year of the Cat also symbolizes tenderness, gentleness, and kindness. The sign of Cat is a symbol of longevity, peace, and prosperity.

2023 is predicted to be a year of hope

Year of the Rabbit Chinese Calendar

"Cats, rabbits, and gardens are what make a house a home."


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)