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How to start a tropical garden?


Photo above: Lagerstroemia speciosa - Queen Crape Myrtle. Gorgeous flowering tree with cascades of lilac flowers. One of the most popular trees in Southern gardens.

Q: It's spring, finally! I can't wait to plant my paradise garden with lots of tropical flowers. We moved into a nice new house but the yard has nothing but grass. Where do I start?

A: When you start your garden from scratch, you need to plant your trees first. It's a perfect timing!
Getting tropical flowering trees now is really important for making your garden strong and beautiful. Trees are like the bones of your garden, giving it shape and shade. If you plant them in spring, they have enough time to grow strong roots before winter. This helps them survive better.
Trees also give shade to other plants so they can grow well too. It's like building a house - you need to start with the frame before adding other parts. So, it's a good idea to get those trees now before moving on to shrubs and vines.
Remember to provide regular fertilizing program which is the most important during season of active growth. The more food your tree gets, the stronger and faster it grows! For flowering trees, we recommend Sunshine Boosters Megaflor formula.

Royal poinciana, Flamboyant tree, Delonix regia

Photo above: Royal poinciana, Flamboyant tree - Delonix regia. "The Royal Poinciana is one of the most spectacular flowering trees in the USA, and probably among the top 10 on this planet. In full bloom, it is like a regal elephant caparisoned in red and yellow brilliance." (Larry M. Schokman, The Kampong, National Tropical Botanic Garden)


European Shorthair - a cat that came from the wild...

European Shorthair 

By Alex Butova, the Witch of Herbs and Cats

Q: I saw your beautiful cats in your garden and now I know you are not only plant experts, but also cat experts. Do you now what is the classic color of European shorthair cat?

A: You are right, here at Top Tropicals we have a whole PeopleCats garden with all sorts of cats, and we can tell stories about each breed and personality! In fact, our cat expert Alex Boutova just started a series about cat breeds.
With European shorthair cat breed, there is a twist! Sometimes, people get confused because European shorthair covers lots of different cats found all over Europe. It's not just one type of cat, but a whole bunch! You've got cats with two colors, including bicolor cats (including tuxedo cats), multicolor cats, and even cats with just one solid color like black, grey, ginger, or tabby...

Continue reading:
European Shorthair: a cat that came from the wild.

European Shorthair Cat with a bunny


Easter Lily Vine:
Beaumontia grandiflora

Beaumontia grandiflora - Easter Lily Vine

Q: Do you sell Easter Lilies?

A: In fact, we do! A rare tropical plant - Beaumontia grandiflora, or Easter Lily Vine, is a wonderful tropical version of the Easter Lily. It is one of the most impressive climbers - a woody vine with large fragrant flowers, and lush tropical foliage.
Easter Lily Vine is celebrated for its stunning large white flowers that resemble Easter lilies. These blossoms emit a delightful fragrance, attracting bees and butterflies, adding charm to any garden. The vine's lush foliage and vigorous growth make it an excellent choice for trellises or arbors, providing shade and exotic beauty to outdoor spaces or sunroom collections.
In addition to its beauty and aroma, Easter Lily Vine can create a fragrant privacy fence of virtually unlimited size!

Read more about Easter Lily Vine:
Beaumontia grandiflora - Easter Lily Vine.
How to create a fragrant privacy fence of virtually unlimited size.

Beaumontia grandiflora - Easter Lily Vine, live hedge fence


Bauhinias: trees with Orchid Flowers
and Butterfly Wings...

Bauhinia variegata - Purple Orchid Tree

Photo above: Bauhinia variegata - Purple Orchid Tree, one of the most spectacular varieties.

Q: We just moved to Florida and I see these beautiful trees with large purple flowers. I was told these are Orchid trees, do you have them?

A: Bauhinias, commonly known as Orchid trees, are renowned for their captivating flowers and unique foliage. These trees typically grow to a moderate height of 15-25 feet with a spread of 10-15 feet, showcasing a rounded to vase-like shape. Thriving in hardiness zones 9-11, they exhibit resilience to heat and can withstand mild frost. There are over 300 species of Bauhinia, which are distributed in tropical and subtropical areas. These species vary in characteristics such as size, foliage, and flower color, contributing to the diversity and appeal of this genus. You can find them as trees, shrubs, and even vines.

Bauhinias are evergreen (in tropics) to semi-deciduous (in cooler climates), offering year-round beauty with intermittent blooming cycles. The peak bloom time varies depending on the species and location, often occurring in late winter to early spring, bedecking the tree with striking orchid-like flowers in hues ranging from white and pink to purple and red. The flowers boast delicate petals with intricate patterns, resembling the elegance of true orchids.

One of the distinguishing features of Bauhinia leaves is their unique bi-lobed or bilobed structure, which gives them a distinct appearance. The leaves are deeply divided, typically into two lobes or halves, hence the common name "Butterfly tree" due to their resemblance to butterfly wings. This characteristic is often used as an identifying trait for Bauhinia species. The bilobed leaves add to the visual appeal of the tree, contributing to its ornamental value in addition to its beautiful flowers.

Bauhinia monandra - Napoleons plume

Photo above: Bauhinia monandra - Napoleons Plume, starts flowering in small size. This one is very beautiful but the most cold sensitive and should be grown in pots in areas with winter freeze. It will happily bloom in container!

Low-maintenance by nature, Bauhinias require minimal upkeep. Annual feeding with a balanced fertilizer enhances growth and flowering. Pruning is generally optional but can be done in late winter or spring, after flowering, to maintain shape or remove dead or damaged branches. These trees thrive in full sun, preferring well-drained soil. With their enchanting blooms and easy care requirements, Bauhinia orchid trees are a delightful addition to any landscape, and a colorful specimen for tropical winter gardens.

In addition, Orchid trees grow fast and provide excellent shade. They can make a shady spot in your garden in no time, giving relief from the hot sun. This is really valuable, especially in places where it gets very hot. So, not only are Orchid trees pretty to look at with their lovely flowers, but they're also great for keeping you cool!

Read more about Bauninias:
Bauihnias: Orchid trees with Butterfly flowers... and leaves

Bauhinia x alba (candida) - White orchid tree

Photo above: Bauhinia x alba (candida) - White orchid tree, the most cold hardy variety that can take light freeze once established.

Bauhinia purpurea - Purple Orchid Tree

Photo above: Bauhinia purpurea - Purple Orchid Tree, one of the most popular and easy trees in Southern landscapes.


Monarch Butterflies Are In Trouble
You Can Help By Planting Milkweed

Monarch Butterfly

Do you want to save butterflies from extinction? This is all you need - embrace the allure of butterfly plants and become a hero for monarchs!

...Ecologists and other scientists have been warning about an 80 percent decline in monarch populations due to habitat loss, pesticides and climate change over the past two decades, but 2024 is a critical year. A recently released annual survey on monarch populations reported a 59.3 percent decrease in population from 2022.
Milkweed plants are one of the best butterfly attractors and they can grow pretty much anywhere. It is a favorite of monarchs, according to Monarch Watch.... (Source: blockclubchicago.org)

Join us in combating the decline of monarch populations by welcoming these graceful creatures into your garden! Discover the beauty of butterfly plants today and help preserve their habitat.


In the photo: Asclepias - favorite plant of all butterflies.

Calotropis gigantea, Giant Milkweed

In the photo: a caterpillar of a future Monarch butterfly climbing up the Calotropis gigantea - Giant milkweed flower, one of the best host plants for Monarch butterfly.


FREE shipping to Florida

Cat with free shipping

Don't miss out on this exclusive offer, Floridians!
For a limited time only, we're thrilled to offer FREE shipping to all destinations within Florida when you spend $75 on plants and garden supplies! Now's the perfect time to spruce up your space without worrying about shipping costs.

With our wide selection of plants and garden essentials, you'll find everything you need to cultivate your dream garden right at your fingertips.

But hurry! This fantastic deal won't last long, so seize the opportunity to beautify your surroundings while enjoying the convenience of doorstep delivery, absolutely FREE. Let the greenery come to you!

Limited time offer for Florida destinations


Min order $75. Limited Time Offer.

Cat in shipping


Growing Adeniums: A Beginners Guide

Cat with adenium flowers

Q: How to you keep Adenium happy and blooming like on the pictures?

A: Adeniums, also known as Desert Roses, are exotic and striking plants that can bring beauty to any indoor or outdoor garden. Despite their desert origins, they require a bit of care to thrive. Here's a simple guide to help you grow healthy and vibrant adeniums:

Light and Location: Adeniums prefer filtered light, although they can tolerate full sun. In hot climates, they thrive in bright, indirect light. Position your plant accordingly to ensure optimal growth.

Potting and Soil: Use a small pot with excellent drainage to prevent waterlogging. Opt for a well-draining soil mix specifically designed for adeniums or create your own mix using cactus mix with added limestone for slightly alkaline conditions.

Watering: Water sparingly, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings. Avoid overwatering, which can lead to caudex rot. Water in the early morning and ensure the plant drinks up throughout the day.

Fertilization: Use a liquid fertilizer with high phosphate content to encourage both caudex growth and flowering. Apply according to label instructions, avoiding direct contact with the caudex. We recommend Sunshine Megaflor.

Caring for the Caudex: To promote a large swollen caudex, gradually raise the plant each time you repot it, exposing the upper roots. This encourages the formation of additional roots.

Maintenance and Blooming: Adeniums typically bloom from spring through fall. Ensure they receive ample light for heavy flowering. Avoid wetting the leaves and apply fertilizer to support overall plant health.

By following these simple steps, you can enjoy the beauty of adeniums in your own garden or home. With proper care and attention, your Desert Roses will flourish and delight you with their stunning blooms.

Adenium field


News arrivals: Adenium Rainbow

Collect them all!

Rainbow can with flowers

Exciting news: Fresh Adenium arrivals straight from Thailand! Behold an array of breathtaking varieties in an explosion of colors.

Adeniums are a must-have for gardeners, with enthusiasts avidly collecting diverse strains. These resilient plants flourish in pots, whether adorning outdoor gardens or brightening indoor spaces. With their charming compactness and eye-catching caudex, Adeniums effortlessly spark conversation and make memorable gifts.

Every year, new hybrids emerge, boasting double and triple blooms in an array of captivating hues - think vibrant reds, pinks, yellows, regal purples, and even dramatic blacks. Each variety is a masterpiece, showcasing unique patterns from dots to stripes to variegations.

Act fast - quantities are limited! Seize the opportunity to expand your collection now!

Adenium Collage

Photo above: selected varieties that just have arrived.


Event mementos: everybody had a happy time!

Plant Festival March into Spring at Top Tropicals

Our heartfelt gratitude to each and every one of you for visiting our Plant Festival March into Spring - on Saturday. It was delightful to see so many of you exploring the array of plants, finding ones that spoke to you, and ultimately making purchases that brought joy and life into your homes and gardens. The early birds received amazing Artistic Gift Bags by Onika Amell.
Your support means the world to us! It's moments like these that remind us of the beauty and wonder that nature brings into our lives...

Plant Festival March into Spring at Top Tropicals

A man with a plant

Chiane with gift bags


Avocado pollinating and crops

Avocado fruit

Photo above: Avocado Joey - very buttery fruit, cold hardy variety.

Q: I bought an anise leaf-scented avocado from you, and it is finally quite large and doing great. I live in California, the coldest temperatures we seem to get in some winters is around 25 to 28F, and it never lasts long. The tree might get a bit of frost nipping on the new growth, but it has done very well. It has flowered profusely for the last two years but hasn't set any fruit. What variety you might recommend to help with pollinating?

A: We are glad your avocado is doing great. Anise is one of our favorite varieties, with the wonderful smell of leaves and tasty fruit.

Cold hardiness and flower quality

It is true that cold damage may affect avocado production, especially in setting fruit. To improve the tree's cold hardiness, make sure to provide balanced plant food, especially during the season of active growth. For our avocado trees, we use Sunshine C-Cibus year-round.

If you prefer to use dry (granulated, slow-release) fertilizers, make sure they contain micronutrients, or apply Sunshine Superfood microelement complex once a month.

To improve flower quality (including the ability to set fruit), we recommend a special micronutrient supplement called Sunshine Honey. It contains Boron and Molybdenum - elements that are responsible for setting fruit and for developing fruit (meaning not dropping at the early stage of development).

Cross-pollination and crop

In general, every avocado tree is self-fertile, meaning it can produce some fruit with its own pollen and doesn't necessarily require a second tree for pollination. So even if you don't do anything, sooner or later your tree will set fruit. However, it is also true that the amount of fruit and crop reliability depends on pollination factors. One type of avocado classification is by flowering and pollination behavior - type A or B.

When both types of trees are grown in proximity to each other, their overlapping flowering patterns significantly enhance the chances of cross-pollination. This can lead to improved fruit set and higher yield, making it especially important for commercial production and, to a lesser extent, for home growers.

Therefore, it's advisable to plant different varieties of avocado in your garden - the more, the merrier! The greater the diversity of avocado trees with overlapping flowering periods, the better your crop is likely to be. If you're growing an avocado tree without other avocados nearby, it becomes helpful to have more than one tree with different flowering patterns (A and B) to increase yield in your garden.

Anise Avocado is type B. So to increase your crop, you may consider planting type A variety from the list: Bernecker, Black Prince, Catalina, Choquette, Day, Donnie, Fantastic, Florida Hass, Lila, Loretta, Lula, Mexicola, Mexicola Grande, Red Russell, Reed, Russell, Simmonds, Ulala , Waldin .

To learn more about avocado types, fruit characteristics, cold hardiness and much more, refer to our Avocado Variety Guide - a page with very convenient interactive chart allowing you to quickly sort types of avocado by requirements of your choice (just click on column header to sort data). You may also buy a Book or download a PDF.

PAvocado Variety Guide Book

Avocado trees in pots

Photo above: 15 gal Avocado trees for local pick up. Delivery and installation available!