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Privacy Hedges with Benefits

Flowering hedge

What's the numero uno question we get bombarded with at Top Tropicals Nursery? Well, it's a real head-scratcher:

Q: "...Can you recommend me a flowering privacy hedge to spice up my yard's life? My current hedge is just a green wall and I'm tired of the monthly trim routine. I need something lively, fast-growing, and unusual if possible. No plain old ixora, please!.."

A: After over two decades of being the go-to advice-givers, we thought, "Why not spill the floral beans and share our tropical wisdom?" But where to begin? The jungle of flowering ornamentals is vast, and picking the perfect shrub is like finding the missing piece of a gardening puzzle. So, in our new column "Hedges with Benefits" we're dishing on those not-so-average shrubs that'll not only prettify your patch but also bring some serious practicality. Today's lineup is -

Top Ten Winners:
Fast growing flowering shrubs

Below is the top selection of spectacular flowering shrubs that can create a nice hedge or a natural screen within just a couple of seasons.

Flowering hedge Tithonia diversifolia - Sunflower tree

Tithonia diversifolia - Sunflower tree.
Grows super fast to a very tall dense hedge, and starts flowering right away. Full sun, very easy, not fussy about soil or water. Winter bloomer.

Flowering hedge Calliandra surinamensis - Powderpuff

Calliandra surinamensis - Powderpuff.
Pretty pink powderpuffs almost year around! Easy to prune.

Flowering hedge Dombeya x wallichii - Tropical Hydrangea

Dombeya x wallichii - Tropical Hydrangea.
You can see this beautiful bush right at Top Tropicals gate. Winter bloomer, large lush leaves and huge, pink hydrangea-like blooms. Very large and fast growing, likes water, tolerates shade.

Flowering hedge Acalypha hispida - Cat tail, Chenille plant

Acalypha hispida - Cat tail, Chenille plant.
All time favorite, everblooming with red cat tails! Full sun. Easy to control.

Flowering hedge Hibiscus variegated Snow Queen

Hibiscus variegated Snow Queen.
Popular landscape bush with unusual look, red flowers over snow white variegation, very showy! Responds well to pruning. Full sun.

Flowering hedge Leonotis leonurus - Lions Ears

Leonotis leonurus - Lions Ears.
Winter bloomer, great for low hedges. Covered with bright orange curious flowers, medium sized, easy to control at 3-4 ft. Full sun.

Flowering hedge Plumbago auriculata Imperial Blue

Plumbago auriculata Imperial Blue
One of the most popular Southern hedge plants, everblooming with bright blue flowers, tolerant to drought, heat, and poor soils. Can be maintained short or tall (2-6 ft).

Flowering hedge Eranthemum pulchellum - Blue Sage, Lead Flower

Eranthemum pulchellum - Blue Sage, Lead Flower.
Great for shady spots, winter bloomer with dark green leaves and unusual sky-blue flowers. Can be trimmed if needed. Nice and dense.

Flowering hedge Clerodendrum paniculatum - Pagoda Flower

Clerodendrum paniculatum - Pagoda Flower. Happy in the sun or shade, easy plant. Loves water.

Flowering hedge Tibouchina lepidota - Ecuador Princess, Jules 

Tibouchina lepidota - Ecuador Princess, Jules Dwarf.
Sun or shade, blooms on and off throughout the year. Beautiful Purple Princess!


Veterans Day: November 11
Special Deals

Veterans Day Cat

Our special Veterans Day sale on tropical plants is a salute to those who served! Enjoy this discount code - a small token of gratitude for our heroes:


Your savings with this code:
5% off orders $100+
10% off orders $150+
15% off orders $200+

Excluding S/H. Exp. 11-12-23

Mango & Avocado Super Sale!

Cat with mango and avocado

Instant 20% off Mango and Avocado trees

Celebrate Veterans Day with the taste of the tropics! Indulge in our exclusive offer on Mango and Avocado trees, available now at unbeatable prices. With the discount code above, your qualified purchase of these trees can be as low as:

$64 for Mango trees
$61 for Avocado trees

Hurry up! Limited time quantities - while supply lasts!

Avocado fruit on a branch

Cat with 


Cat Horoscope
Scorpio Zodiac Cats 10/24-11/21

By Alex Butova, the Witch of Herbs and Cats

Scorpio Zodiac cat with indoor plants

In the photos: Typical Scorpio cat Sonya, born 11-4-2010.

How to know the astrological sign of your cat?
The astrological sign of a cat can be determined by either their date of birth or adoption, as adoption is often considered a second birth for cats...
More >>

Scorpio Zodiac cat with seagull

Love all around them, be they cats, other animals, or humans...

Scorpio Cats exhibit a profound passion for life and love, extending not only to their own romantic affairs but also to the relationships of those around them, be they cats, other animals, or humans. These feline individuals thrive on being intricately involved in everything...

Scorpio Cats are inclined to assert dominance in any situation...

Scorpio Cats are known for their intense focus. Once they set their sights on something, they pursue it relentlessly, demonstrating fearlessness and a confrontational spirit...

One of the most distinctive traits of Scorpio Cats is their unwavering fidelity and loyalty. You’ve heard stories of cats separated from their families who travel miles to get back to them? They were probably all Scorpios!..

Scorpio Cats harbor a fondness for tall flowering shrubs and fragrant creepers with large blossoms. They possess a unique connection to scents, and while ordinary cats may recoil from potent odors, Scorpio Cats exhibit a particular affinity for select aromatic plants. For instance, while most cats are drawn to Catnip (Nepeta cataria) and Valerian root (Valeriana officinalis), Scorpio Cats go wild for the fragrances of Patchouli and Chinese Perfume Plant (Aglaia odorata). Even female perfumes containing oils from these plants bring the Scorpio Cat bliss, as they savor the scent and affectionately attend to the "mistress" of this aroma...

Scorpio Zodiac cat with flowers on a balcony


How to grow a happy Moringa Tree

Moringa tree in the garden

Q: We purchased some tropical edible and medicinal plants from you in August this year. I have a question pertaining to our Moringa tree. When we purchased it, it was about two foot tall. It has put on tremendous growth and is now a little under ten foot tall. My question is, should a Moringa be losing lower leaves at this point? The bare limbs are still green and the top looks to have healthy green leaves.

A: Thank you for choosing our Moringa tree, and sharing the picture. It's great to see that your tree appears healthy and happy - it's a resilient plant. Given the relatively dry Fall we've experienced this year, a little extra water can make a significant difference.

Here are some suggestions to ensure your Moringa thrives:

Moringa branch with flowers

Watering: While Moringa is generally drought-tolerant, during dry periods, in addition to relying on your lawn sprinkler system, add some extra water with a hose. Adequate moisture is crucial for maintaining healthy foliage.

Pest Control: Moringa is not only a nutritious plant for humans but also attracts pests that appreciate its medicinal properties :) If you notice insect damage on the leaves, consider spraying with Neem oil or using an over-the-counter systemic insecticide containing imidacloprid or a similar ingredient.

Seasonal Behavior: Moringa trees are semi-deciduous to deciduous, and their leaf-shedding behavior can vary depending on the climate. In Florida, for instance, it's common for Moringa trees to shed leaves in the Fall. However, this is a natural process, and you can expect new growth in the Spring.

Fertilizing for Vigorous Growth: To promote the most vigorous growth of your Moringa tree and other plants in your garden, consider implementing a fertilizing program. If using dry, slow-release fertilizers, apply them only during the active growth season: from March through November. If you're looking for a year-round solution, liquid amino acid-based formulas like Sunshine Boosters can be a great option. You can easily add them to your watering routine or use injectors like The Robuster for convenient and consistent feeding. If you're planning to expand your garden with other medicinal plants or an edible forest, The Robuster smart fertilizing system is an excellent choice, offering the most efficient, care-free way to nourish your plants with natural nutrients throughout the year.

The Robuster

This garden doubled the size during just one season under the Robuster care.


How to establish Tabernaemontana
and get more fragrant blooms

abernaemontana australis flowers

Q: I purchased Tabernaemontana australis from you back in June of this year and it recovered just fine, but the new growth got some chlorosis.  Older leaves still look normal.  The flowers also look normal but lack fragrance.  Since I live up north, I have it in a heated greenhouse for the winter, with a grow light to compensate for the short days.  I have it in a 10 inch clay pot in a mix of equal parts standard indoor potting soil, peat moss, and perlite.  It gets fed with half strength 10-10-10 about once a month on average. Is there some specific culture that you would recommend for this plant ? I really love it and want it to thrive.

A: Tabernaemontana is a plant that may take some time to establish itself, and leaf chlorosis often becomes a common issue when the root system is not well-established. This symptom is indicative of Iron deficiency, and possibly other micro-element deficiencies, such as Boron or Molybdenum, which become more apparent when the plant receives excessive water. This problem tends to intensify as temperatures drop, particularly when a combination of cool and wet conditions prevails. It's worth noting that your potting mix seems to be appropriate for this plant.

In light of these circumstances, we recommend the following steps:

1) Reduce watering during the cooler season, especially when daylight hours are shorter. Allow the top layer of the soil to dry before watering again.

2) Consider supplementing with microelements using a product like  Sunshine Superfood. You can apply this as a foliar spray and mix it with your watering can.

3) Maintain your regular fertilizing program throughout the winter months, but ensure that you use only liquid amino-acid fertilizer, such as  Sunshine Megaflor. Follow the instructions on the label for the correct dosage and apply it with each watering, even during the winter. Since you will be reducing amount of water, the amount of fertilizer also will be adjusted accordingly.
Important: do not use any dry fertilizers during winter months (Nov-March).

Regarding the fragrance of the flowers, they typically emit a mild, sweet scent, although it may not be as potent as that of gardenia or jasmine. The strongest aroma usually becomes more prominent during warm (but not excessively hot) and humid conditions, particularly in the morning hours. As the plant grows larger and healthier, the fragrance should become more intense because the flowers produce more essential oil when the plant is robust. You may also apply Sunshine Honey supplement to improve flower quality and fragrance strength.

abernaemontana australis bush


Cat of the day:
Shaka. The Tail of Two Kitties...

By Kristi VanBenschoten

New born kitten

For those of you who have been following the Cat of the Day stories, you may remember the heartbreaking story about Little Raja... When Raja passed, I was heartbroken and vowed, "No more new cats." Well, wouldn't you know, I would eat those words...

One of our shipping experts, Rob, came in and said that a feral cat around his house had just given birth to a kitten on his front porch, but the mother had left and not returned. I immediately asked him to go get me the kitten, knowing it was going to be cold and hungry and could not be left without warmth and food for long...
Rob rushed off to get the kitten and, within what felt like the blink of an eye, returned with the tiniest (about 4 inches), yet astonishingly vocal, kitten I had ever met.

And this is what happened next...

New born kitten


Happy Parrots Beak

Link to YouTube Video

Introducing Parrots Beak: a whimsical and vibrant shrub, with funny flowers that mimic the playful antics of a parrot, with its pendant branches and joyful handstand-like leaves... This low-maintenance, sun-loving plant adds a touch of the tropics and endless whimsy to your garden, making it a butterfly magnet!

Looking to add some funny Parrot's Beak to your life? Order large plants - Gmelina philippensis - Parrots Beak - right now while we have them!

Gmelina philippensis - Parrots Beak

Subscribe to our Channel:

Stay updated with TopTropicals Videos by subscribing to our channel at YouTube.com/TopTropicals and get our latest video news of what is fruiting and blooming!


Calathea Zebrina: Nature's Zebra Striped Star

Calathea Zebrina - Zebra Plant

Q: Can you recommend a showy houseplant for a living room that doesn't need much care?

A: Meet the Calathea Zebrina - Zebra Plant, the zebra-striped sensation straight from the Brazilian rainforests. This charismatic plant is like a piece of living art for your home! The Calathea Zebrina isn't just a houseplant; it's a conversation starter and a slice of jungle magic right in your living room. Get ready to embrace the zebra-stripes and let your home's wild side shine!

Calathea Zebrina - Zebra Plant

Zebra Stripes with a Twist:
With its bold dark green stripes on a velvety light green canvas, the Zebra Plant adds a touch of nature's whimsy to any room. It's like having a zebra with a green thumb as your housemate. The underside of the leaves are purple and not always visible because leaves grow horizontally (although some will curve or grow more upright).

Low-Light Lover:
Not only is it easy on the eyes, but it's also easy to care for. The Zebra Plant thrives in low light conditions, so you don't need to rearrange your whole house just to keep it happy. It even tolerates a little over-watering which all of us tend to do with house plants.

Green with Envy:
This plant may make your other houseplants a bit envious with its captivating appearance. Its zebra stripes aren't just a fashion statement; they're a botanical masterpiece. Keep it even greener with Sunshine Robusta plant food - safe to use year around!

A Slice of Serenity:
In a world that's always in a hurry, the Zebra Plant is a gentle reminder to slow down, appreciate nature's beauty, and bring a touch of tranquility to your space.

Calathea Zebrina - Zebra Plant


Prepare your plants for Winter with Sunshine Boosters

Tropical Plants on Winter Windowsill

We usually stop using dry slow-release fertilizers from November to March. However, liquid Sunshine Boosters, which are natural plant food, can be used all year. They help your plants survive winter. When it gets colder, we water less, so the fertilizer decreases too. The plants only use what they need. To learn more about how Sunshine Boosters work and why they're safe and helpful, check out this blog: Using Sunshine Booster during Winter.

Sunshine boosters formulas

Apart from giving your plants nutrients during winter, you also can improve their ability to handle the cold. Try the Sunshine Boosters supplement kit for tropical plants. Follow the schedule and use three different supplements: SUNSHINE Superfood, SUNSHINE Epi, and SUNSHINE-Power-Si. Read more about treatment with Sunshine boosters supplement kit.

Sunshine boosters supplement kit

Sunshine boosters supplement kit


How to help a weak tree to recover and thrive?

small and large lychee tree

Q: Look at my sad looking Lychee tree. Can you share with me any ideas about this tree condition?

A: From the photo (left), we see a few potential issues. The problem might be due to a combination of factors such as a heavy potting mix with poor drainage, over-watering, an underdeveloped root system sensitive to these conditions, leaf burn, and a lack of nutrients.

Suggestions for fixing the problem

1. Soil mix. First, assess the quality of the soil. If the plant has been in the same pot for a while, the soil at the bottom may have become compacted, leading to poor drainage. If this is the case, carefully remove the root system from the existing soil (by removing excess soil around the roots without disturbing the roots themselves). Repot the tree into fresh, well-draining potting mix with good drainage characteristics, which typically contains materials like bark and perlite. Ensure that the new pot is exactly the size of the root ball; using a significantly larger pot can lead to soggy conditions that harm the roots.

2. Light. Place the potted tree in an area with filtered light, avoiding direct sunlight throughout the day.

3. Water. Control the watering. During this recovery period, your plant will need very limited water until it shows signs of improvement and new growth. After repotting, water it thoroughly just once, and avoid watering again until the top layer of soil becomes dry. Then, water as needed. Avoid keeping the soil consistently wet, especially during rainy periods. Protect the plant from excessive rain.

4. Supplements. Consider applying Sunshine Superfood micro-elements following the label instructions, once a month. Additionally, using Sunshine Epi bio-stimulant, sprayed every other week, can help the plant recover from stress and encourage growth. You can also use Sunshine C-Cibus at half the recommended concentration with each watering. Hold off on any other fertilizers until the plant has sufficiently recovered and begins to show signs of new growth.

5. Transplanting. If you plan to transplant the tree into the ground, it's advisable to wait until spring when nighttime temperatures consistently stay above 65F for at least two weeks.

6. Temperature. Keep the tree in a warm environment. When temperatures drop below 50F, bring it indoors.

These steps should help the tree recover, grow healthy leaves, and establish a better root system, preparing it for successful transplantation into the ground or a larger container, ensuring a happy and productive life ahead.

Sunshine Boosters: C-Cibus, Superfood, Epi