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Heat Pack will keep them snug!

cat keeps warm on the stove

How to keep plants warm during shipping

Q: Can I buy tropical plants mail order during winter? I have a warm sunroom for plants but it is pretty cold outside, is it a problem for shipping plants?

A: If you are thinking of getting a tropical plant to brighten up your winter, but worried it might get too cold during delivery, no worries! We have a simple solution for you - the Heat Pack.

The Heat Pack, or Shipping Warmer, ensures that your plants stay warm and safe during their journey from Top Tropicals to your home. It keeps a cozy temperature for up to 72-96 hours (depending on outside temperature), making it a must-have if the weather drops below 40F in your area.

For larger orders, you might need 2-3 packs, and if you're ordering big 3-7 gallon plants, especially the extra-sensitive ones, consider using one pack per plant. Reach out to us for more details about specific plant species.

Hold locations. Also note that the carriers we use - FedEx and UPS - keep their boxes in temperature controlled rooms during transportation (unless it's a ground service). To ensure the box is not sitting on your cold porch all day, you may use temperature controlled FedEx Hold locations at FedEx stores, Walgreens, many Dollar General Stores and others. See more information on Hold locations.

Don't let the cold weather spoil the excitement of getting your new plants - grab a Heat Pack and keep them snug!

Heat Pack, Shipping Warmer


Butterfly Bush: Fast, Pretty, Low Maintenance...

Cassia (Senna) bicapsularis - Butterfly Bush

Five unbeatable reasons to plant Butterfly Cassia

Q: I am trying to find some easy flowering shrub to screen the ugly corner of my neighbor's yard, can you suggest something fast growing and pretty?

A: One of our favorite flowering shrubs in Florida is the Cassia bicapsularis, commonly known as Scrambled Egg Bush or Butterfly Bush. It is one of the most desirable plants for the southern landscape. It has all the benefits any gardener may dream of, whether a beginner or an expert:

1. Very fast growing, can screen unwanted views and create a beautiful flowering hedge. Cassia bicapsularis is known for its rapid growth, making it an excellent choice for quickly transforming an unsightly corner into a vibrant and lush area. Its dense foliage and attractive yellow blooms add both beauty and privacy to your outdoor space.

2. Easy to grow, not fussy about soil or water, drought and flood tolerant, cold tolerant. Butterfly Bush is incredibly adaptable and resilient. It thrives in a variety of soil types, is not demanding when it comes to water, and can withstand both drought and occasional flooding. Additionally, it is cold tolerant and can withstand occasional frosts once established.

3. Blooms for many months, featuring especially in winter flowers from Fall to spring. Very pretty, large "sunny" flowers resembling bright yellow butterflies, hence the name. It is a generous bloomer, gracing your garden with vibrant yellow flowers for an extended period, particularly from fall to spring. The large, sunny blooms not only add visual appeal but also attract pollinators, enhancing the ecological balance of your garden.

4. Attracts lots of butterflies. As the common name suggests, the Butterfly Bush is a magnet for butterflies. If you enjoy the presence of these beautiful winged creatures in your garden, planting Cassia bicapsularis is an excellent way to encourage and support butterfly populations.

5. Low maintenance. Butterfly Bush can be trimmed and controlled at the desired shape if needed, but if you have room for a big bush in a full sun area - just let it go and it will form a nice dense bush without any pruning: this shrub is a low-maintenance delight. While it can be pruned and shaped according to your preferences, it also flourishes when left to grow naturally. Its ability to form a dense and attractive bush without constant pruning makes it an ideal choice for those seeking a fuss-free gardening experience.

If you're looking for a fast-growing, low-maintenance, and aesthetically pleasing solution to screen an unsightly corner, Cassia bicapsularis is an unbeatable choice. It ticks all the boxes for a beautiful and resilient flowering shrub in the southern landscape.

A lady standing next to Cassia (Senna) bicapsularis - Butterfly Bush

"...Without a doubt, Butterfly Cassia became one of my favorite plants during my visit to Florida for Christmas a few years ago. I only wish I could have taken it back home with me to Latvia. If only my windowsill hadn't already reached its greenhouse capacity!.." - Alex Butova.

To see more options for flowering shrubs, check out the reference chart Hedges with Benefits Chart.


Last minute gift shopping:
Gift Card with 15% BONUS VALUE

Gift Card Bonus offer

Live plants make perfect gifts! Take advantage of this special offer during this holiday season and make your loved ones happy with some tropical treasures. Remember, you can also purchase a gift card for yourself, especially if it's cold now in your area. Just use it later to buy plants when the weather is more permitting.

Order now and the gift card automatically will be 15% larger face value, for example:
You pay $100, we'll issue a $115 gift card
You pay $200, the card will be of $230 value.

Offer valid through 12/25/2023.
The Gift Card has no expiration date.
The Gift Card can be used to buy plants, seeds, and garden supplies.

Make Your Gifts Tropical!

Christmas tropical landscape 


Easy compact bush for sandy soil

Caesalpinia pulcherrima - Red Dwarf Poinciana, Bird of Paradise

Caesalpinia pulcherrima - Red Dwarf Poinciana, Bird of Paradise.

Q: Can you recommend a flowering bush that will be in full sun and in sandy soil. I do not want it to exceed 10 feet.

A: For a garden specimen bush that is medium size and tolerates poor soils, we can recommend to choose from the plants below. These are all easy to grow, not fussy about soil and water, and stay compact and require minimal or no trimming at all.

Calliandra surinamensis - Powderpuff - 6-8 ft
Hibiscus mutabilis Cotton Candy - Mallow Hibiscus - 5-6 ft
Dombeya seminole - Tropical Rose Hydrangea 4-6 ft
Allamanda schottii - Dwarf Allamanda Bush 3-4 ft
Brunfelsia pauciflora Compacta - Dwarf Yesterday-Today-Tomorrow - 4-5 ft
Calliandra schultzii - Dwarf calliandra - 4-5 ft
Plumbago auriculata Imperial Blue
Caesalpinia pulcherrima - Red Dwarf Poinciana, Bird of Paradise - 2-4 ft
Hibiscus schizopetalus - Coral Hibiscus - 5-6 ft
Jatropha integerrima compacta - 4-5 ft
Clerodendrum bungei - Glory Bower - tolerates shade, 4-5 ft
Eranthemum pulchellum - Blue Sage, Lead Flower (prefers shade) - 4-5 ft
Magnolia figo - Banana Magnolia - small tree, 6-8 ft
Megaskepasma erythrochlamys - Brazilian plume (tolerates shade) - 5-6 ft
Tibouchina lepidota - Ecuador Princess, Jules Dwarf - 3-4 ft
Leonotis leonurus - Lions Ears - 3-4 ft

Also, for your further reference, check out the reference chart Hedges with Benefits Chart to see different flowering bushes that are great for hedges as well as garden specimens, depending on your specific needs.

Megaskepasma erythrochlamys - Brazilian plume

Megaskepasma erythrochlamys - Brazilian plume.

Brunfelsia pauciflora Compacta - Dwarf Yesterday-Today-Tomorrow

Brunfelsia pauciflora Compacta - Dwarf Yesterday-Today-Tomorrow.

 Leonotis leonurus - Lions Ears

Leonotis leonurus - Lions Ears.


This Saturday, 12/16:
Holiday Plant Market

Plant Market at Top Tropicals

December 16, 9 am - 4 pm

Escape the ordinary and join us at Top Tropicals for the most anticipated event and the biggest plant sale of the year - the Holiday Plant Market! Immerse yourself in a kaleidoscope of colors as you stroll through a garden bursting with life. Uncover incredible one-day-only deals on tropical treasures...

Highlights of the event include:

30% OFF online price
Special discounts and offers on selected plants
Fruit tree specials: selected varieties as low as $45 Avocado and $60 Mango
Secret Garden: Super savings area 50-70% off
$5 and $10 plants, raffle
Free plant with any purchase as a token of our appreciation

Event discounts 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


Our Garden Center and Farm both will be closed on Thursday Dec 14 for maintenance and preparation for the event.

closed for maintenance


Sunshine supplement kit for cold hardiness

Link to YouTube Video

Video by Scott Riddle

Discover the cool story of Scott Riddle, a well-known plant enthusiast with a popular YouTube channel dedicated to his tropical plant collection. In this video, Scott shares his firsthand experience with our Sunshine micro-element kit, designed to enhance the cold hardiness of plants.
Living in the unpredictable climate of the California mountains, where he cultivates tropical plants in a zone higher than recommended, Scott faced the challenge of unexpected freezes. The boosters hopefully will be a game-changer for him, reinforcing his plants for the winter season. This insightful and detailed video is a valuable resource for anyone engaged in zone-pushing, aiming to fortify their tropical plants against the rigors of challenging weather conditions.

Here at Top Tropicals, we have already applied two pre-winter treatments of Sunshine Power-Si formula, in combination with the bio-stimulant Sunshine Epi and micro-elements. One in November, the second one in the beginning of December. So far, after a couple of cold nights, the plants still look happy. Stay warm and get prepared!"

Cozy cat with sunshine boosters hardiness kit

Tropical landscape with Red Lipstick Palm


Cat Horoscope:
Sagittarius Zodiac Cats 11/22-12/21

By Alex Butova, the Witch of Herbs and Cats

Sagittarius Zodiac cat sitting on a post

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 >>

Sagittarius Zodiac cat on a deck

Cats that help regain faith in one's future...

Sagittarius cats are natural explorers, keen on investigating every nook and cranny of their abode and surroundings... Consequently, they may find themselves in situations requiring rescue, such as descending from a lofty tree pursued by curiosity or rescue from large birds of prey to whom your favorite decided to indicate who exactly is the sheriff of this district...

Restlessness characterizes Sagittarius cats, as they possess boundless energy and an insatiable curiosity for new experiences...

Sagittarius cats are exceptional healers for their human companions, alleviating physical and mental distress. Their mere presence, coupled with a soothing aura, helps individuals overcome serious illnesses and regain faith in their future...

Sagittarius cats are drawn to plants with large, striking, elongated, leathery leaves. Fruits, nuts, and chestnuts are particular favorites, satisfying their gourmet inclinations. Alocasias and Colocasias with their heart-shaped leaves and arrow-like (named also sagittate!) shouts, resonate well with both Sagittarius humans and Sagittarius cats, offering the vibrations necessary for achieving their goals. Opting for fragrant herbs, fruits, nuts, and aesthetically pleasing and fragrant flowering plants ensures the satisfaction of these feline aesthetes and gourmets.

Sagittarius Zodiac white cat with black bird

Note: The bird was fine and flew away! Sushi the Cat was very gentle.


What plants are good to order in Winter?

Christmas dog and night moon with snow

Photo above: Christmas time in Ukraine (left) and Florida (right)

Q: Are there any tropical plants that will do well if I order them in Winter? We just bought a house in New Jersey with a large sunroom, and I can't wait to fill it with tropical beauties! Should I wait until Spring, or do you have something for a Winter start?

A: This is indeed a very good question, as many tropical plant collectors grow their treasures outside the tropics. The short answer is - yes! You can start filling your tropical sunroom any time of the year, but some plants are easier to deal with in Winter than others. Below are some guidelines.

Winter bloomers: Jatropha, Champaka, Brunfelsia, Calliandra, Leonotis

Winter bloomers today, left to right: Jatropha, Champaka, Brunfelsia, Calliandra, Leonotis.

1. Plants that prefer Winter shipping to avoid overheating stress:
- All plants with lush foliage such as Philodendrons, Medinilla
- Trees with fine feathery leaves such as Moringa, Jacaranda, Poinciana
- Some fruit trees sensitive to overheating during shipping: Papaya, Stawberry Tree, Starfruit (Carambola), Bilimbi.

2. Subtropical plants that are relatively cold hardy
- Fruit trees: Loquats, Olives, Avocados, Tropical Cherries: Eugenia, Malpighia, Noni (more cold hardy than you may think), Canistel.
- Flowering trees: Champaka, Tabebuia.
- All Bananas
- see all relatively cold hardy plants

3. Winter-dormant and/or deciduous plants: Adeniums, Plumerias, Gingers, Sugar Apple , Peaches and Plums, June Plum and Hog Plum.
See all deciduous/winter dormant plants.

4. Orchids, including Ground Orchids.

5. Winter flowers. Keep in mind that many tropical plants are winter bloomers, and their flowering is most profuse in Winter months, so you can enjoy the blooms right away:
Dombeya, Thunbergia, Gloxinia, Brunfelsia, Calliandra, Tibouchina, Barleria, Leonotis, Clerodendrums, Chinese Hat (Holmskioldia).
See all Winter bloomers.

Winter bloomers: Clerodendrum minahasse, Malvaviscus Summer Snow, Kopsia 

Winter bloomers today, left to right: Clerodendrum minahasse, Variegated Malvaviscus Summer Snow, Kopsia fruticosa

6. Winter plant care. During Winter the daylight is shorter and temperatures are cooler.
- Reduce watering
- Use only liquid amino-acid based fertilizer Sunshine Boosters (safe to use year around)
- Monitor insects.

7. Shipping in Winter. We ship year around. However, if it gets below freezing in your area, you may use FedEx Hold location, they are temperature controlled so you don't have to worry about a box being dropped off at your cold porch outside.

8. A note for mild climate residents. Most tropical plants can be planted in the ground year around. Some ultra-tropical tender species such Chocolate tree, Ylang Ylang, or small size Mango trees can be grown in pots until Spring and planted out once chances of cold spell are gone. Until then, they can be moved indoors for cold nights.

Think outside the box and bring tropical paradise indoors during the time when we need warmth the most! Tropical plants will brighten your short winter days and help you to have truly HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Winter bloomers: Gloxinia, Barleria, and ever-bright Crotons

Winter bloomers today, left to right: Gloxinia, Barleria, and ever-bright Crotons...


Growing Dreams and Happiness:
A Decade at Top Tropicals

By Kristi VanBenschoten,
Top Tropicals Manager

Cat in the garden

"The purpose of agriculture is not the production of food,
but the perfection of human beings"

- Masanoby Fukuoka -

Working with Top Tropicals for the past decade, I frequently hear heartwarming comments from customers like, "Oh, wow, this place is breathtaking," "You must adore working here," "Isn't it marvelous to be in harmony with nature every day?"

The truth is, yes, all these sentiments hold true, and I genuinely cherish every single one of these comments; however... If you were to inquire about my most cherished aspect of working here, I would have to say that my absolute favorite part is when a husband calls and says:

"My wife and I embarked on a honeymoon five years ago, and we stumbled upon this exotic wonder called Helicona Lobster Claw. My wife was captivated by it. I would love to surprise her with one for our upcoming anniversary. Do you happen to have them?.."

Heliconia rostrata - Lobster Claw, Parrots beak

...Or when a bereaved wife sends an email, expressing:

"My beloved husband recently departed, and he held a deep affection for Gardenias. I wish to plant one in our front yard as a living tribute to his memory. Could you kindly recommend one?..."

Gardenia vietnamensis

Or, it could be the heartwarming scene of a new father visiting with his young son, exclaiming:

"I have a dream of creating a bountiful food forest for my children with fruit and other edibles. I want them to experience the enchantment of watching food grow and to impart the wisdom of cultivating it. Can you guide me in this endeavor?"

Or the passionate plant collector who has spent years on a quest to acquire that one elusive specimen, the final piece of their adored collection. We spare no effort in locating it, and when we succeed, it fills me with an indescribable joy!

You see, here at Top Tropicals, we don't merely sell plants; we trade in precious memories, lofty aspirations, and vivid visions for a brighter future. We deal in dreams. These dreams are nurtured in pots with a touch of fertile soil and an abundance of love. This is the essence of what makes Top Tropicals so special to me:

We Grow Happiness…

Happy people at TopTropicals Garden and nursery


Hedges with Benefits
Reference Chart

Hibiscus mutabilis flowering hedge

Large and fast growing

Tithonia diversifolia - Sunflower tree
Acacia farnesiana - Sweet Mimosa
Calliandra surinamensis - Powderpuff
Aloysia virgata - Almond Bush
Dombeya x wallichii - Tropical Hydrangea
Cornutia grandifolia - African lilac
Gmelina philippensis - Parrots Beak
Hibiscus mutabilis Cotton Candy - Mallow Hibiscus
Senna alata - Empress Candle, Candelabra Plant

Medium or easy-trim

Acalypha hispida - Cat tail, Chenille plant
Bauhinia galpinii - Pride of De Kaap
Cestrum nocturnum - Night blooming jasmine
Dombeya seminole - Tropical Rose Hydrangea
Gardenia thunbergia - Forest gardenia
Hamelia patens - Fire Bush
Hibiscus variegated Snow Queen
Jasminum sambac Maid of Orleans
Ochna integerrima - Vietnamese Mickey Mouse, Hoa Mai
Odontonema callistachyum - Lavender Butterfly Bush
Odontonema cuspidatum - Firespike, Red
Rondeletia leucophylla - Panama Rose
Tecoma stans - Yellow Elder

Short or slow growing

Aglaia odorata - Chinese Perfume Plant
Allamanda schottii - Dwarf Allamanda Bush
Brunfelsia pauciflora Compacta - Dwarf Yesterday-Today-Tomorrow
Clerodendrum incisum - Musical Note
Calliandra schultzii - Dwarf calliandra
Gardenia vietnamensis - Vietnamese Gardenia
Leonotis leonurus - Lions Ears
Neea psychotrioides - Pigeon Plum, Hoja de Salat
Plumbago auriculata Imperial Blue

Garden Specimens

Combretum constrictum Thailand, Ball of Fire
Caesalpinia pulcherrima - Red Dwarf Poinciana, Bird of Paradise
Clerodendrum quadriloculare - Winter Starburst
Euphorbia leucocephala - Snows of Kilimanjaro, Pascuita
Gardenia nitida - Shooting Star Gardenia
Hibiscus schizopetalus - Coral Hibiscus
Jatropha integerrima compacta
Kopsia fruticosa - Pink Gardenia
Malvaviscus x penduliflorus Variegata - Summer Snow
Mussaenda philippica x flava - Calcutta Sunset (Marmelade)
Plumeria pudica - Bridal Bouquet

Semi-Shade to Shade

Clerodendrum bungei - Glory Bower
Clerodendrum paniculatum - Pagoda Flower
Eranthemum pulchellum - Blue Sage, Lead Flower
Clerodendrum speciosissimum - Java Glorybower Mary Jane
Justicia carnea - Pink Brazilian Plume, Jacobinia
Magnolia figo - Banana Magnolia
Megaskepasma erythrochlamys - Brazilian plume
Thunbergia erecta - Kings Mantle
Tibouchina lepidota - Ecuador Princess, Jules Dwarf

Edible Hedges

Eugenia uniflora - Black Surinam Cherry Lolita
Camellia sinensis - Tea Leaf
Hibiscus sabdariffa - Flor de Jamaica, Karkade Sorrel
Laurus nobilis - Bay Leaf
Manihot esculenta - Yuca Root
Nashia inaguensis - Moujean Tea, Bahamas Berry
Sauropus androgynus - Katuk, Tropical Asparagus
Sauropus Variegata - variegated Katuk