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How Gardening improves your health

Flowering Adenium

Q: Can gardening improve my health?

A: Gardening is not only a fun way to spend time but also an opportunity to bond with family and friends. Get everyone involved in planting flowers, starting a vegetable patch, or even organizing a whimsical Easter egg hunt amidst the blooming garden.

The joy of gardening offers mood-boosting benefits, leaving you feeling invigorated and cheerful during the festive holiday. Plus, the sense of accomplishment when your garden begins to flourish perfectly aligns with Easter's spirit of personal growth and transformation.

Head out to your garden with a spring in your step and a smile on your face. Revel in the beauty of nature, spend time with loved ones, and watch as your garden transforms into a lively, colorful haven.

Tuxedo cat with tomatoes


What are Low Chill Apricots?

Prunus armeniaca (Armenian plum)

Apricot var. Katy (Prunus armeniaca)

Q: Can I grow apricots and plums in Florida?

A: Low chill apricots have been specially developed for subtropical regions like Central and South Florida, where the climate is not typically conducive for apricot cultivation due to the high number of chill hours required. This is also true for other fruit trees such as plums and peaches. However, through successful hybridization, several low chill varieties have been created that require less than 300 hours of cold weather below 45 degrees.
One such example is the low chill Katy Apricot tree, which only requires 250 chill hours and is self-fertile. It is a popular choice among homeowners due to its large size, rich flavor, and free-stone characteristics with a semi-sweet, low-acid taste. Katy Apricot tree typically bears fruit early, usually in May.

Apricot fruit on a tree


Cat Horoscope

By Alex Butova, the Witch of Herbs and Cats

This year (March 2023) we are celebrating Alex's 75th Anniversary and her 20 years with TopTropicals. Here is a note from Alex...

Alex Cat

Aries Cats 3/21-4/20

Cats eating grass

The astrological sign of a cat can be determined by either their date of birth or adoption...More >>

The Aries Cats are a highly competitive and may initiate fights with other cats. With a natural inclination for combat, they may even confront dogs, humans, or even a giraffe...
...Tickling an Aries Cat's tummy can lead to an attack as they're also known to be biters...
...Aries Cats are adventurous and love to challenge themselves physically. They'll seek out the highest spots in the house, even if it scares their humans...
...Aries Cats love tall, well-branched trees that are good for climbing, and are rather indifferent to bright flowers and fragrant plants... But on the other hand, they adore the soft, juicy grass on which it is so pleasant to lie down and rest after all their athletic feats and fighting duels...
...One of the best things about the Aries Cats is that they make their priorities clear. With them, you'll always know your place, as they believe they come first, and you don’t....

Cats eating grass

Plant Zodiac for humans

Aries lucky Zodiac plant, Oncoba


Elderberry Kir Royale

Grow your own... drink and medicine

Sambucus canadensis (nigra) - Elderberry, American Elder

In the summertime, Elderberry bushes transform into small, bushy trees adorned with sizable umbels of white flowers. As late summer approaches, the tree produces an abundance of dark purple berry clusters. Elderberry is known for its ability to withstand cold weather and can thrive in a variety of soils in either full or partial sun. While it typically grows to a height of 10 feet, its spreading can be managed through pruning.

This dense shrub is beloved by nesting birds, who are not the only creatures that appreciate its fruit. People also prize Elderberry for its delicious uses in winemaking, cocktails, and jellies. Elderberry syrup or cordial can be used to create flavorful fruity drinks and cocktails, like the Elderberry Kir Royale. Alternatively, the berries can be left to infuse their flavor into spirits, with Elderberry gin being a particularly delightful option.

Sambucus canadensis Elderberry, American Elder berries

Elderberry Cordial

When it comes to combating various strains of the flu virus, Elderberry Cordial ranks among the top natural remedies. Whether sipped in small servings or drizzled over a delectable dessert, Elderberry Cordial is a guilt-free way to fortify your immune system against colds and flus.

2 cups of fresh elderberries
16 oz water

  1. 1/2 cups sugar
    1/2 lemon (rind + juice)
  2. tablespoons minced fresh ginger
    1 stick cinnamon, crushed
    1¼ cups dried elderberries
    1/4 cup dried rosehips

About 3 cups brandy
Honey, to taste

Add all ingredients in a jar and cover with a lid. Set aside in a cool, dark place for 3-4 weeks. When ready to decant, strain and squeeze through cheesecloth. For every 1 cup of liquid retained, add 1/2 cup honey. Mix thoroughly. Pour the cordial into a decorative bottle for storage, or gift giving.

Elderberry Kir Royale Cocktail

5 oz white wine, sparkling wine or champagne
2 oz Elderberry cordial
Mint leaves (optional)
Pour the Champagne in a flute glass. Add the Elderberry Cordial slowly.
Party time!

Elderberry Kir Royale Cocktail


How to grow Calathea indoors

Calathea zebrina - Zebra Plant

In the photo: Calathea zebrina - Zebra Plant

Calathea is a beautiful and popular houseplant known for its unique and colorful foliage. Here are the steps to grow calathea indoors:

1. Choose a suitable location: Calathea plants prefer bright, indirect sunlight, so choose a location near a window with filtered light. Avoid direct sunlight as it can scorch the leaves.
2. Select a pot that is slightly larger than the plant's root ball and has drainage holes. Fill the pot with a well-draining potting mix that is rich in organic matter. Plant at the same depth as it was in its previous pot.
3. Water: Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Water when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Use room temperature water and avoid using hard water or water that contains high levels of minerals.
4. Provide humidity: Calathea plants thrive in humid conditions, so provide them with regular misting or place a tray of water near the plant to increase humidity. You can also use a humidifier to maintain optimal humidity levels.
5. Fertilize: Apply Sunshine Boosters liquid fertilizer. It is safe to feed the plant with Rubusta formula with every watering and year around. Feeding plants is especially important in Spring when active growth starts.
6. Prune any yellow or damaged leaves regularly to keep the plant healthy and attractive. Use clean, sharp scissors to make clean cuts.

By following these steps, you can successfully grow a beautiful and healthy Calathea plant and any beautiful container plant indoors.

Calathea makoyana - Peacock plant

In the photo: Calathea makoyana - Peacock plant


The Robuster field test:
turning green!

The Rubuster and Champaka tree turning green

These two Champaka trees are of the same age, planted at the same time, 100 ft apart, with the same light, soil, and water amount... The only difference is - fertilizer schedule! The tree on the left is planted by our farm gate and gets pure water plus slow release fertilizer every 3 months. The tree on the right grows by our farm office with watering station hooked up to the Robuster active display. The Rubuster automatically dozes Sunshine Boosters liquid fertilizer with every watering.

Date of planting: 3/13/2022
The Robuster Started: 11/25/2022
Formula used: Sunshine C-Cibus 10 ml/gal with every watering
Drip irrigation: directly to the root zone once a day, 2-5 min (weather adjusted)
Image taken: 3/15/2023 @ TopTropicals B-Farm (Sebring)

The Robuster and Champaka tree by Top Tropicals office

In the photo: The Robuster active display by our B-Farm office in Sebring, with the subject Champaka tree behind it that gets its food first come first serve!

Installation available
for local customers

The instructions for assembly are included and are straightforward, making it easy for online purchasers to put together. If you're capable of basic PVC plumbing, then assembling this system will be a breeze!

For a green, lush and fruitful garden that allows you to relax and enjoy your tropical paradise, the Robuster automatic smart fertilizer injector system is a must-have. It takes the hassle out of gardening, ensuring that it's carefree! Do you have any questions, need advice, or require assistance with installation? Simply contact us, and we'll be happy to help!

The Rubuster - automatic smart fertilizer injector system


Mark your calendars: March 25
Hello Spring! Plant Market

Hello Spring! Plant Market at Top Tropicals

Saturday, March 25, 9 am - 4 pm

Join us for a celebration of Spring at our annual Spring Garden Festival! Immerse yourself in a world of colorful blooms, fragrant scents, and nature's beauty. Don't miss out on the opportunity to stroll through our gardens and nursery. Bring your friends and family for a day of fun in the sun!

Event agenda:

9 am - 4 pm: Plant Market. 20% OFF all plants. Raffle.
Gift bags - for first 25 customers with $50 order
Secret Garden: Super savings area 50% off
Avocado tree special (pricing includes event discount):
$55 - 3 gal, $95 - 7 gal, $143 - 15 gal
(pick up only, quote for delivery and installation)

Event discounts and specials valid at both locations:

Ft Myers Garden Center: 13890 Orange River, Ft Myers, FL
Sebring B-Farm: 9100 McRoy Rd, Sebring, FL

Facebook event page - Download invitation

Outlook.com - Office 365 - Google


Cat Zodiac
Pisces Cats 2/19-3/20

By Alex Butova, the Witch of Herbs and Cats

Cat is swinging in a hammock

Watch TikTok video: Philemon and Bob are dreamers, not doers. Typical Pisces cats! Philemon was born 2/20, and Bob 3/13. They can swing in their hammock all day long!

The astrological sign of a cat can be determined by either their date of birth or adoption...More >>

Pisces Cats possess a remarkable ability to escape reality and enter alternate dimensions they can spend hours watching fish swim by... They explore the world with great curiosity... These cats are dreamers, not doers... Bright flowers with subtle scents should adorn their space, delectable grass can be chewed, and foliage creates shade and coolness for sweet dreams...

Orange cat chewing lemon grass

Cat catching a Gekko behind the screen

Watch TikTok video: Bob is trying to get a Gekko behind the screen (followed by Philemon's advice) and falls on Philemon's head...

Pisces lucky Zodiac plant


How to move plants from indoors to outdoors

Cat with indoor plant hiding behind curtain

Q: When moving my tropical plant collection outside in the garden, what do I need to know to get them adjusted to this change?

A: As a tropical plant gardener, it's important to assess the temperatures outside before moving your plants outdoors. Most tropical plants thrive in sustained temperatures above 60F.
Moving your plants outside during the summer creates optimal growing conditions for sun-loving plants, providing them with more light and warmth than they can ever get inside. This active time of growth, along with the outdoor conditions of humidity, heat, sunlight, and natural day length, gives the plant a chance to experience growth in an outdoor environment, making for a much stronger plant.
However, be aware of sun burn. Direct sunlight can burn patches of white or brown on the surface of the tender leaves, so it's best to move your plants outside by hardening them off first. Gradually increase the amount of direct sunlight they receive over several days before moving them into full sun.
It's also a good time to prune your plants and repot them if needed, providing better aeration to the root system. But avoid root pruning as it can make your plant susceptible to disease and shock.
Overall, moving your tropical plants outside encourages their natural bloom cycle and provides extra vigor for the upcoming indoor season. However, be aware that you may have to deal with insects when you bring your plants back inside in the fall, so use preventive sprays like Sunshine NoBug before bringing them back inside. Leaf drop is also common when plants come back inside, so make sure to provide a well-lit location.
When moving plants outside, it's important to provide them with proper nutrients through fertilization. Outdoor conditions can deplete the soil of essential nutrients, so giving your plants a boost of fertilizer before moving them outside can help them acclimate to their new environment. Apply Sunshine Boosters with every watering, include micro-elements and bio stimulants to boost their immune system.

Sunshine Robusta Booster with lush foliage indoor plant


Organic or inorganic fertilizers, which is best?

A very smart article by Fedor, Mike, and Ed

Colorful garden

Q: Which one is better - organic or inorganic fertilizer?

A: When it comes to fertilizer, gardeners always wonder if one better than the other. Does a total organic fertilizer make sense for you? Is it easier to just use a cheap granular fertilizer a few times per year? You may be surprised to learn that there is one fertilizer that has advantages over both!

While organic fertilizers may be all the rage, there is the difference between Sunshine Boosters fertilizers, organic and inorganic fertilizers. Sunshine Boosters fertilizers have been especially developed to provide optimal conditions for cultivating crops in pots and greenhouses. These specialized nutrient blends are essential in order to maintain an appropriate environment for successful crop production, as they compensate for the lack of natural beneficial bacteria and nitrifying organisms which are specific to open soil cultivation.
Learn about why Sunshine Boosters is the best choice...

Hungarian hot wax pepper

In the photos: Hungarian hot wax pepper (above) and a Baby Cucumber (below), both grown in Ed's organic garden with Sunshine Boosters

Baby Cucumber in organic garden