General planting instructions

Please read carefully before ordering plants online!

See also: Planting instructions 

VIDEO: Top Tropicals Guide to planting a mail order plant

Unpack shipped plant

All our plants are grown in South Florida, in natural conditions (not in a greenhouse), under full or partial sun, 40 to 90% relative humidity, 55 to 92F with only moderate air movement.

Once your plant is arrived

Once your plant is arrived, it should be unpacked immediately. We recommend you to let the plant adjust after shipping stress for at least 24 hours (up to a week) by placing it in a warm place with bright shade (no direct sunlight) in a small pot with a well-drained moist (no soggy) soil.

First steps

Use smallest pot to start with. After unwrapping the package, immediately pot the plants in containers about the size of root ball.

Plant on same level. Unwrap the plastic carefully, without damaging roots, and set the plants' roots into the soil so that the point where the stem starts stays just at the same level with soil surface. If you place the plant too deep in soil - the stem might rot.

Potting mix. Make sure you have a well-drained potting medium, with good drainage characteristics which is important for most tropical species. The best choice is soilless potting mix containing 50 to 75% of organic matter (peat moss) with pH rating 5.5 to 6.5. Do not use top soil or any other garden soil for potted plants! Only potting mix will be good.

Water. Water well and let it drain. Mist the foliage with pure water. Don't water again if the soil is wet.

Leaves and stems. Remove any yellowed leaves or damaged branches using sharp clippers. Some mature plants are slightly pruned for shipment to avoid damage and provide less burden for the plant during stressful period of transportation. Some leaves and flowers might fade or drop during transportation, especially if the package was exposed to extreme heat (it happens sometimes in summer). Usually it won't create any problem and your plant will soon recover and new growth will start after 1-2 weeks adjustment period in proper light and watering conditions.

Light. Place your plants in a shady spot: in good light, but out of hot direct sun, for a day or two until they re-adjust from shipping stress, then move the pots to their permanent location.

Repotting or planting. Allow a week or two before repotting, or planting directly into the ground. Sometimes it takes a few weeks for recovery: watch for new growth - once the plant starts growing, it's time to move it into permanent place. If planting outdoors, make sure that low night temperatures won't damage the plant. Do not apply any fertilizer for the first 4 weeks.

Water, light and soil requirements

Please read our FAQ section regarding soil and fertilizer requirements.

Check our online Catalog to determine the optimal light and water requirements for the species you have received. Remember, all plants we offer are tropicals and most of them shouldn't be exposed for a long time to low temperatures (below 50-55F).

Be careful - do not over water!
Don't water again if the soil is wet. Some plants prefer when soil gets slightly dry before new watering. Refer to our online Catalog for plant's watering needs.

Planting in the ground

Do not plant in the ground until the plant completely recovered from shipping stress and started new growth.

For digging holes (as well as for any other hard jobs), it's always nice to have a child labor available - somebody like Pauk. Just make sure your Tom Soyer follows the instructions below.

Prepare for planting by digging a hole about twice the width of the root ball. The hole should be just deep enough so that the top of the root is at the level of surrounding soil. Never set a plant too low - this way, stem will rot and the plant might die. If you plant it too high - it will be lacking water and also might feel unhappy.

Prepare proper soil medium by mixing the soil you took from the hole with peat moss (50:50). Add a spoon of a slow-release balanced fertilizer (such as 12-12-12 or close).

Add soil mix into the hole around root ball and slightly press around with your hands (not with your feet!). Mulch on top of the soil around plant's roots to keep moisture and prevent weed growth. Leave 2-3" space between plant's stem and the mulch to provide proper air curculation, otherwise the stem might rot.

Another reason for plant failure early on after planting is from the root ball drying out. Water daily the first week (it it's too hot - maybe 2 or 3 times a day, check the soil with your finger), and at least twice a week the following 2 weeks, then as needed (try soil for moisture with your finger).

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us or visit our Forum page for more cultivation advice.

See also: TopTropicals guide to in-ground planting