Newsletter Archive 2016-2017

Growing from seeds

Q: What is the best time to start tropical plants from seeds? Should I wait till summer?

A: Traditionally, people prefer sowing seeds in spring, especially temperate species for vegetable garden: tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers...

When dealing with tropical plants, you may want to start your babies indoors, providing additional heating when needed. If you keep your living space around 75F (ideal for many species), this is a perfect temperature to get your seeds started. Tropical plants are not like annual tomatoes that try to grow through the season as fast as possible. They may take time. So the sooner you start, the more chances to get small seedlings just in time when spring air outside is warm enough - at least in 70's F.

A great advantage of starting tropical seeds indoors is controlled temperature and moisture. In the plant world, environment extremes are not good for germination process. Mild conditions of your home or a greenhouse create better chances for successful growth. Seeds won't get overheated in hot summer sun, and won't get rotten because of a sudden heavy rain. Just keep in mind that some species require light for good germination. Using an old fish tank or covering with plastic wrap will help to keep constant humidity.

See full list of all seeds - all on sale, one day only!

Black Pepper Vine - grow a real spice at home!

Q: What plants are used for commercial production of black pepper, red pepper, and green pepper? I started organic garden and would like to try growing pepper. I live in Georgia, will it survive here?

A: Pungent and aromatic Pepper is grown in Southern India since more than two thousand years, has always been much valued all over the world. Along with other spices from India and lands farther east, it changed the course of world history. Depending on harvest time and processing, peppercorns can be black, white, green and red (reddish-brown). So, the same fruit is also used to produce white pepper, red/pink pepper, and green pepper. The pungency is strongest in white pepper and weakest in green pepper, while black and green pepper are more aromatic than the white one.

The vine can be easily grown in a pot on a trellis, in mild (frost-free) climates it can be grown in the ground providing a tree support. Try growing this legendary plant and taste the real spice!

For more info, see article about Black Pepper.

See full list of spice and herbs

Do-It-Yourself Support Structure for Dragon Fruit

This interesting do-it yourself project was sent to us by our customer from South Florida. Many tropical gardeners want to grow fascinating Dragon Fruit, and their most common question is - what kind of support I should use for this amazing fruiting cactus? We hope you find this information very useful. Happy Gardening!

Dragon fruit is a terrestrial/epiphytic fruit baring cactus, which may grow fleshy stems up to 30 ft high, given sturdy support. However, downward hanging or horizontal branches stimulate production of flowers at the tips of the branches. Commercial groves in different parts of the world use different method to achieve this. The traditional Vietnamese way is to train the plant into a “fountain”, which consists of a vertical central trunk about 8ft tall and a horizontal structure, such as a wagon wheel on top of it to support the horizontal branches (see picture on the right).

This picture served as my inspiration to build my own structure. I used five 4”x4” 10ft wood beams as the trunk, shaped as a cross. I attached the beams to each other with 10” long screws.

I dug a 2 ft deep 12”x12” hole in the ground and positioned the trunk inside, such that about 8ft are above ground. I covered it with several layers of burlap top to bottom.

The horizontal structure on top is made of four 4ft long 2”x2” wood beams and two 12”x12” wood plates to hold them together. I attached this structure to the top of the trunk.

I used old watering pipe to form two rings around the trunk to support the branches. Here is the result!... See step-by-step full size pictures and the rest of the article...

Growing Vanilla Orchid

Q: I want to buy Vanilla orchid and I wonder if I can grow it in my bathroom by the skylight.

A: Growing Vanilla orchid is no different than other orchids. It is very simple. All that the plant needs is a good light, good air humidity, and good porous support.

Light. Grow Vanilla orchid in a very bright light, but protected from direct hot sun.

Air humidity.The higher the air humidity, the better your plant will grow. Many people grow orchids in a bathroom where these plants can enjoy occasional "humidity treats" after showers.

Growing media. Vanilla orchid cuttings are rooted very often in a regular potting mix with high content of pine bark and/or Perlite, Coconut Husk Chips. Once the little plant is well-rooted and starts developing, it will need a special porous surface to climb on and to attach to with developing aerial roots. A log covered with porous bark is used often. Another option is a piece of wood wrapped with a burlap fabric. In the Nature, this plant climbs up high onto trees and attaches to the bark with aerial roots - at this point, it doesn't need those terrestrial roots any more which may even die off. Climbing a porous support is absolutely necessary for your vanilla for setting buds, flowering and producing vanilla beans. If you are lucky to live in frost-free climate, plant you vanilla by a tree that will provide a shady canopy and a great natural climbing surface (bark). You may see the flowers as soon as within 1-2 seasons!

St. Patrick's Day Discounts

STPATRICK15: 15% off coupon (orders over $150 not including S&H. Plus, our usual 5% discount on top of that).

STPATRICK20: 20% off coupon (orders over $250 not including S&H. Plus, our usual 5% discount on top of that).

Enter discount code in shopping cart and click "recalculate".
Valid through end of the day Thursday, March 17, 2016.
Not valid for previously ordered items.

Easter Lily Vine creates a fragrant privacy fence of virtually unlimited size

By Ron, South Florida. Easter Lily Vine (Beaumontia grandiflora) is a magnificent woody evergreen climber of unlimited growth potential. A branch of this vine will grow simply until you cut it. I have branches of up to 30 ft. and longer.

I’ve used two plants to turn a chain-link fence into a privacy screen that is 40 ft. wide by 10 ft. tall, but even a single plant can cover a much wider space if trained properly.

Easter Lily Vine’s growth rate is moderate, so it doesn’t require constant pruning to keep under control like other vigorous vines. I bought mine in 7 gallon pots, and planted them in the ground immediately. It took about 2 years to completely cover the fence. Since then, I prune it 3-4 times a year.

Keep in mind that these plants are heavy and require a solid structure as support. They twine by nature, but only around items with 3” diameter or more. Mine twined around a near-by lighting pole!

The absolute key in training Easter Lily Vine is to force it to grow horizontally. I recommend planting a young 3 gallon size vine in the ground diagonally, so it grows horizontally. Tie it no more than a foot above ground and let it grow a single branch until the end of the space you want to cover. Then force it to make a U-turn and let it grow the other way. See the following diagram for illustration..

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See step-by-step full size pictures and the rest of the article...

Aries Zodiac lucky plants

Aries - 3/21-4/19. Aries is a FIRE sign ruled by the planet Mars. Plants associated with this element and planet very often have thorns or prickles. They can be also spicy or bitter in flavor, or red in color.

Because Aries rules the head, eyes and face, the plants for Aries purify the blood, stimulate the adrenal glands, and/or are high in iron (Mars rules the mineral iron). Mars-ruled Aries is assertive, energetic and fearless. Mars rules the red blood cells, the muscles, and metabolic processes, as well as the motor nerves and the head. These plants help you when you want more get-up-and-go and the courage to take on the world.

Aries Zodiac lucky plants - Governors plum, Hibiscus Karkade, Tapioca, Mamey Sapote, Ruda, Baobab, Euphorbia, Acanthus, Aloe, Caesalpinia, Erythrina, Opuntia, Dragon Fruit, Pachypodium, Pomegranate, Chilli peppers, Syngonium, Begonia, Geranium, Red Sandalwood, Jamiaca pepper (Pimenta, Allspice), Camphor, Jujube, Anise, Red Roses, Tiger Lily, Impatiens, Calendula, Tarragon, Ginger, Coriander, Basil, Ruda, Amaryllis, Wild Indigo, Gooseberries, Sesbania, Campsis, Red Oleander, Maple, Schotia brachypetala, Momordica, Coffee, Amla , Ephedra, Red Kapok.

For other signs information, see full Plant Horoscope.

Growing Exotic Adeniums

Exotic varieties of Desert Roses. Adeniums have many spectacular hybrids. The basic culture is very similar to orchids. A small pot with excellent drainage is a must. Adeniums do not like both over-watering or drying-out. There is a secret how to create a large swollen caudex: raise the plant a bit every time you re-pot it, so that the upper part of roots will be a little exposed. The plant will form more roots that will go down.

To make your plant develop a large swollen base/trunk, you'll need a good quality fertilizer. Fertilizer requirement for swelling up trunks is also used to increase flowering. It shouldn't be too high in nitrogen, the middle number should be the highest (similar to 10-50-10). Never apply fertilizer directly on roots and do not liquid feed when a plant is thirsty: always water first slightly to avoid root burn and leaf drop. Do not wet leaves. Adeniums need lots of light for heavy flowering.

Most hybrids and species start blooming in the spring when the conditions are warm and days get longer, and continue blooming through the fall and winter in warmer climates. Adeniums like a neutral to hard water. Acidic water tends to sour the soil too fast and may cause root rot. Water plants preferably in the early morning, and allow them to drink up throughout the day. Watering can be done daily to every few days. Never allow your plants to sit in a saucer of water, but don't let them to dry out too often - this causes adeniums to go into early dormancy.

Planting instructions for bare-rooted succulent plants. Position the plant in a pot, size of root system. Use only well-drained soil with high content of Perlite and/or sand (cactus mix can be used), water once and keep in warm (75-80F) place in filtered light. Do not water again until soil dries on surface. Once the plant is established and starts growing new leaves (may take a few weeks), gradually move it into brighter light. Then you can start fertilizing it.

See full list of Adeniums - plants and seeds.

Spring time fun: fertilizing and pruning

Q: When is a proper time to start fertilizing my garden in Spring? Also, when can I cut back cold damaged branches? Should I wait until end of April?

A: As a rule of thumb, fertilizer can be applied during period of active growth, when a plant needs additional nutrients. With indoor plants, you can fertilize pretty much year round as long as the plant continues growing and not dormant. For in-ground tropical plants, start fertilizing when new growth appears. In subtropical areas, with cooler winter months, most tropical plants slow down their metabolism when temperature drops below 65F. Many of them become dormant, and may even lose leaves (especially deciduous plants like Annona, or Peaches/Plums). In spring, tropical plants wake up as soon as outside temperature stays above 65F for at least one week (including night time). Once you see new growth, this is a signal for you to start fertilizing.

As far as trimming dead branches - wait until you see new leaves completely opened up. This way you won't cut too much, as some parts of the plant may take longer to re-leaf than others.

Erblichia or Flor de Fuego - Apricot fragrance and sunny color

Q: I saw this wonderful flower Flor de Fuego on your website and I would like to buy this plant. I am wondering how big this tree will grow and how long will it take until I can smell the lovely flowers? I have a big garden and not much space left, but I still have a few spots available for smaller trees. Also any special care info will be appreciated.

A: Flor de Fuego is a small tree and will fit in any small yard situation. It is very rare in cultivation. This is the newest, most exciting tree to be introduced in the last decade. It said to be one of the most beautiful flowering trees in Central America. It has long narrow leaves and large flowers 6-8" across that smell like apricots. It blooms from late fall through early winter and sometimes through spring. Normally it starts blooming in 2-3 years after planted in the ground. Surprisingly for such a delicate plant, it tolerates poor soils. Once established, it doesn't require any special care other than regular watering and fertilizing during hot months. It does take some effort sometimes to make the tree happy in its new habitat. After planting in the ground, keep your eye on irrigation schedule and do not let soil stay wet, young trees don't like wet feet. In natural habitat, the plant prefers to have a dry period that is beneficial for profuse blooming.

See full size picture of Erblichia tree in full bloom

Click here to buy Flor de Fuego

Jungle on Windowsill 101

Q: I got a Jasmine Sambac and a Tahitian gardenia as presents, they are very cute plants with flowers and flower buds. I would like to be able to keep them alive and hopefully happy for a long time, but I don't know much about growing tropical plants, and I am not sure if my thumb is green enough to make everything right. What do they need? How much sun? How much water? What kind of soil? Sorry for all these (maybe silly) questions, but I want to keep them alive, please help! I live in Wisconsin and we had some snow again last week.

A: Growing tropicals is not a hard work, it is a lot of fun! These plants are actually a good starters for a beginner who wants to try growing tropical plants, no matter if you live in a mild frost-free climate, or up North where you can have these beauties as houseplants. Below are a few simple steps for you:

1. Read. Follow planting instructions included with your plants. Check plant names on the tags and learn more about them from our online catalog.

2. Soil. Plant in quality potting mix - it must be porous and well-drained, never use heavy soils (top soil or garden soil are no-no), in a pot exactly the size of the root system. You can step up your plants in the next size container once you notice vigorous new growth. Next size means: 4" pot can go into 6" pot, 6" pot into 10" pot, etc. Too big of a pot may create rotting environment, root system must fill the entire container to use all the moisture from the soil. Container must have good hole(s) for excess water to drain through. Put the pot in a saucer and get rid of excess water every time after watering.

3. Light. Most tropical plants require lots of light in order to produce flowers. If you ever visited Florida, remember the bright sun? - these are ideal light conditions for tropicals. Up North, provide as much light as possible: a bright spot on a windowsill of Southern or Western exposure would work the best. If the sun gets too hot in summer afternoon, you may shade the window a little bit with a sheet of white paper to avoid leaf burn.

4. Water. Keep soil slightly moist but not soggy. The best way is to wait until the top of the soil feels dry to touch - this is time to water again. Jasmines prefer to stay on a dry side; gardenias do not like soil to dry out - keep them slightly moist as long as soil is very porous and well-drained. The main reason of most problems with potted indoor plants is over watering. With experience, you will feel the right balance of moisture in the soil: the brighter the light, the more water is consumed by a plant; the less light, the less frequent you should water.

5. Trimming. In low light conditions, plants tend to become leggy. Trim branches as they become too long: the more you trim, the busier the plant gets. New growth promotes more profuse blooming in many species.

6. Fertilizing. Fertilize indoor plants with slow-release granulated fertilizer from march to November.

7. Insects. Check for insects at least once a month, especially underneath the leaf. If notice any problems (deformed leaves, residue, holes, or tiny insects) - clean the leaves/stems with a solution of warm water (1 cup), vegetable oil (2 table spoons), and a few drops of a dish soap.

8. Fresh air and air humidity. As soon as air temperature gets above 65F, bring your tropicals outside in the sun and fresh air: porch, balcony, outside in the yard. Air circulation is essential for your plant health. Bright light and high air humidity will promote vigorous growth, and lots of flowers for you to enjoy!

For more information on growing Tropical Plants 101, see Problem solving with potted plants - how can we help them?.

Care for ultra-tropical plants

Some tropical plants like Durian, Mangosteen, Clove, Nutmeg are very rare in plant collections and require true tropical environment for successful growing. These plants are hard to find and are not cheap. They will be shipped in original containers via Express mail and usually take trip well as long as there are no delays or overheating during transportation. To enjoy your rare plant collection gem, please make sure to follow these recommendations:



- Keep your eye on delivery, track the shipment and make sure package is not left outside in the heat

- Unpack immediately and put plant in humid, warm environment with filtered light. Remember "warm" for tropical plant means 75-85F

- If plant is wilted, put clear plastic bag over leaves to increase humidity for a few days. Keep plant in plastic in shade only to avoid overheating

- Keep soil slightly moist and don't let dry out. These plants like water as well as good drainage

- Keep plant in original container until recovers from shipping stress. Re-pot in 2-3 weeks in bigger pot with rich organic potting mix, containing a lot of peat moss, and perlite or bark for good drainage

- Grow these plants in mild conditions, in filtered light, high humidity, and with no temperature extremes. Remember to keep these plants at temperatures above 50F.

Growing by the sea

Q: Please recommend me some interesting plants that can grow on my waterfront property and can withstand some salt wind. All my neighbors have Sea Grape trees and bougainvilleas, and I want something different and special. I would love to have some colorful or fragrant flowers, or fruit around my paradise home.

Q: Considering your neighbors successfully grow Sea Grape (Coccoloba), and Bougainvilleas, you have a mild, frost free climate. There is a number of spectacular and useful tropical plants that are salt tolerant. Orchid Trees - Bauhinias, Poincettia - Delonix, and Geiger trees - Cordias, are very showy flowering trees. For large size bushes, try Dwarf Poincianas - Caesalpinias, and Scarlet-Coral Erythrinas. Frangipani - Plumeria, come in different colors and bring you perfume fragrance from Hawaii. And of course, Desert Roses - Adeniums, can be grown and showy specimens anywhere in your yard, both in the ground or as potted bonsai.

Most palms, especially popular Coconut Palm, source of tasty fruit and drink, are highly tolerant to salt breeze. If you are looking for something that nobody has, Lipstick palm, or Sealing wax palm - Cyrtostachys lakka, is definitely the most spectacular palm you can find. It is a stunning feather palm that develops a brilliantly red trunk. Palm is originally from Malaysia, but has been introduced to Costa Rica and other tropical areas of the world. Sealing Wax Palm seeds are very slow to germinate, up to a year, and large specimens are very rare and hard to find even in rare tropical plant nurseries. This palm will require a good overhead light, and constant warmth (above temperature 55F). It is definitely worth an effort to grow this beauty.

You may add more tropical accents to your landscape by the sea with many varieties of showy heliconias.

See full list of salt tolerant trees.

Hot novelty plant for hot Arizona

Q: What plants would you recommend for very hot and dry spot in front of my house that gets full sun all day long? I live in AZ, we recently had a couple good rains but this is going to be it for a long time. It gets so hot during the day that every plant I tried didn't make it. We have a few nice orange trees growing well but I would like to plant something compact, colorful and hopefully fragrant if there is such plant.

A: There is a perfect small size plant for you that is extremely fragrant and yet will be thriving in these conditions. It is the famous Jasmine sambac. It will appreciate dry air of Arizona and will bloom profusely for you in full sun or in partial shade. It doesn't mind heat at all.

For colorful accents, a proven winner is Crown of Thorns - Euphorbia millii. New giant size flower varieties were recently selected in Thailand, and we just received a great selection, look at the colors! These plants don't mind hot sunny location at all. The more sun, the better the bloom! Small plants need regular watering until establish, then once they start developing, they will require less water.

Giant Euphorbia flowers from Thailand are 4-5 times bigger than regular flower euphorbia. Diameter of the flower is around 2". Compare giant flower to normal size - picture on the right.

See full list of plants for hot and dry spots.

Tax relief discounts and coupons

Filling out your tax return forms can be a very stressful affair. Planting and tending a garden is an excellent way to relief stress. We decided to help:

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These promotions are good till end of Monday, April 18.

Seeds germination in summer

Q: What is the best way to germinate seeds in summer? Should I keep trays indoors or put them outside?

A: Summer is the best growing season for plants, and for their propagation. Seed germination process of tropical plants usually benefits from warm, and even hot temperatures, so keeping pots with seeds outside in full or partial sun can be the best way. However some seeds may be more sensitive than others, or require slightly cooler or higher temperature for germination. These are a few tips that may help:

- For seed germination, use only well drained mixes, containing either peat moss or coconut fiber to retain moisture. Some succulents may require adding sand to the germination mix. You may also try our Professional Formula Seed Germination Mix.

- Large tropical seeds, like palms, or seeds of Fabaceae (Bean) family, can be grown in full sun. Their germination will benefit from higher temperatures (up to 90-95F). Make sure to keep soil moist. Cover them well, with 3/4 to 1 inch of soil.

- Fruit seeds (large size) should be germinated either in individual cells or small pots (3-4" diameter).

- Small to medium size seeds can be grown in so-called community pots. Seedlings can be separated after they establish their first roots.

- Tiny seeds should be planted closer to the surface, covered with only 1/4-1/8 inch of soil; some seeds require bright light for germination, so full sun will be a plus. Some small seeds like Ficus for example, prefer to be broadcasted on the surface, uncovered. Put containers with such seeds in bright shade, as you don't want the surface of the soil to dry out.

- Once your seeds sprouted, move them in filtered light - bright to medium shade depending on tenderness of the species. (Gingers prefer shade, while succulent sprouts can stay in brighter light). Regardless of water/sun needs of the species, all young sprouts and first leaves are sensitive to hot sun and may get burned or even killed. Once a baby plant has a few leaves and well-branched root system, you may start moving trays into a brighter light.

- Do not overwater young seedlings, keep soil slightly moist but not soggy.

See full list of available seeds.

5 secrets of propagation

How to propagate rare plants? It is exciting and fascinating process - to be a Creator of a rare plant collection. Sometimes when you have a rare plant, you baby it and wish you could have at least two of the kind, just in case you lose one to weather conditions or an accident... If you lose one, it hurts! Plant collectors know the feeling - it is always a good idea to propagate a few more of the rare kind. Here at Top Tropicals we know that feeling too, and we want you to keep your baby plants alive and thriving, multiply them, share with others, and make our planet better - one plant at a time! Know your different plants, and different ways of their propagation. Ready for the secrets revealed?

1. Seeds. The most popular way and in most cases the most reliable. Also, a seedling has a strong, vertical root system (cuttings or air layers have shallow roots). However growing from seed is the only sexual method of propagation (vs other methods - asexual, or cloning), which means, some varieties don't come true from seed. Similar to a baby born from two parents, blonde mother and brunette father, can have either light or dark hair... or even red, genetically provided by the great-grand father! The most important factors of success when growing from seed are - well-drained germination mix (check out our Seed Germination Mix #3), and a combination of perfect temperature (high temperature 80-90F induces germination, but some species like it cooler!) and mix moisture level (can't stay soggy).

2. Cuttings. In most cases, works great as long as you know the secret for this method: clean (sterile) soil mix (check out our Propagation Mix #2), warm temperatures and very high air humidity (not moist soil, but humid air!). Mist house works well (see picture) with periodically controlled foggers (5-20 sec of fog every 5 to 20 min during light time - depending on species, and temperature), but simple clear plastic bag over a pot or tray works as well! Large leaves should be trimmed in half, or more, to eliminate extra evaporation, and soil should be only slightly moist, not soggy. Remember to use rooting hormone that not only improves rooting but keeps away fungus problems. You are welcomed to visit mist house in our facility, we will be happy to share experience.

3. Air Layers. From our experience, key to success with this method is patience. Most air layers take a few months to set root. Keep sphagnum moss moist, and create air layers only during active growth season - Sprint through Summer. Use rooting hormone.

4. Grafting. This method requires the most skills and experience but is not as difficult as it sounds. Plants can be grafted withing the same genus (e.g. one Gardenia sp. on another Gardenia sp.). There are many grafting manuals on internet. Try once, and you will get addicted to grafting! In many cases it is the most effective method. Especially when seeds not available and cuttings don't work with the species, while grafting works much faster than air-layering. The main secret in grafting is using the right type of graft, which comes with experience. Another important thing is keeping grafting parts and tools clean/sterile. Treat/clean surfaces with anti-fungicides horticultural soap (Example: Abound anti-fungal, Green Shield soap) and use rooting hormone.

5. Root divisions. All gardeners know that some plants are best to propagate by rhizome/root divisions, like Gingers, Heliconias, or Iris. And not everyone knows that some fruiting and flowering trees don't mind to reproduce by root divisions. For example, Jujube - Ziziphus jujuba, and Strawberry tree - Muntingia calabura, readily produce root suckers. Watch out for them and don't let them go to waist when spraying weeds. All time favorites, fragrant Clerodendrums also like this easy method of reproduction, especially C. bungei, C. philippinum, and many others.

Check out our Growing supplies section for professional soil mixes and drainage components that are so important in your propagation success. At Top Tropicals, we often use Coconut Coir for propagation. Good luck in your growing, and remember - if you propagated a few extra collectibles, Top Tropicals may trade or buy from you!

Taurus Zodiac lucky plants

Taurus - 4/20-5/20. Taurus is an EARTH sign ruled by the planet Venus. Venus is the planet that represents desire and beauty, regarded as the female embodiment of sexual love and human appetite, so Taurus plants often have gorgeous flowers and enticing fragrances and, occasionally, red fruit. It rules the internal sexual organs, the nose and sense of smell.

Because Taurus rules the throat and ears, the best plants for the Bull are often soothing to the throat, or may calm the digestive system after overindulging in the finest foods. Taurus is related to those things we want and value. It harmonizes various body systems, and influences the complexion and facial appearance. Also under Venus’s dominion are the abdomen, kidney, thymus, and breasts. Venus-governed herbs are soothing and help to regulate the body’s metabolism through the endocrine system. Taurus herbs are traditionally used to attract money and resources. Earthy Taurus sign is all about building a stable and comfortable foundation and can help you generate greater abundance and prosperity in your life.

Taurus Zodiac lucky plants - Aglaia, Cananga odorata (Ylang-Ylang), Artabotrys (Climbing Ylang-Ylang), Cerbera, Night blooming jasmine, Chonemorpha, Erblichia, Euodia, Hiptage, Iboza (Musk Bush), Anise, Lavender, Lonchocarpus Lilac Tree, Nutmeg, Parijat, Camphor Basil, Osmanthus, Funeral tree, Quisqualis, Satureja (Kama Sutra Mint Tree), Viburnum, Carissa, Murraya, Curry Leaf, Bunchosia (Peanut butter fruit), Eucalyptus, Lily, Vitex agnus castus (Blue Chaste Tree), Alstonia scholaris (Sapthaparni), Papaya, Maple, Jasmine, Guaiacum, Camellia, Ephedra, Fuchsia, Geranium, Spider lily, Gardenia, Magnolia, Plumeria, Paeonia, Verbena, Clerodendrums, Apple, Pear, Apricot, Peach, Plantain, Olive, Grape, Pomegranate, Mango, Neem Tree, Cherry, Cypresses, all Berries, Raspberry, Asparagus, Mint, Clove, Roses, Stagshorn fern, Catnip.

For other signs information, see full Plant Horoscope.

April 22 Earth Day discount - 15% off fragrant plants! Earth Day is more than just a single day • April 22, 2016. It’s bigger than attending a rally and taking a stand. Plant one tree at a time to make our Planet better! This Earth Day and beyond, let’s make big stuff happen. - See more at: www.earthday.org

Check out our Fragrant Plants for 15% off! 1-day deal only!

HEALING POWER OF HERBS

The most effective herbs to help you sleep. Tick-tock, tick-tock. Nothing is worse than the feeling of lying awake, unable to sleep as the numbers on the clock edge closer and closer to morning. Perhaps like many others, you toss and turn with your mind racing, playing the events of the day over and over again. Maybe you fall asleep easily, but wake up shortly after and can't get back to sleep for the rest of the night. If this sounds familiar, you are not alone. Fortunately, there are natural alternatives to prescription sleeping pills that are just as effective but are far gentler on the body. The following article by Marilyn Reid takes a closer look at some of the best herbs to help you sleep. Reed more...

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Last reminder - week before Mother's day, use discounts on top of deals!

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Can't be combined with any other offers. Not valid for past purchases. Codes are valid through Mother's Day - Sunday, May 8, 2016

Scotch Bonnet Hot Sauce for Your Fiesta

You will need: Capsicum x baccatum - Scotch Bonnet Pepper, and -

- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 18 fresh Scotch Bonnet peppers, sliced and seeded
- 6 fresh jalapeno peppers, sliced
- 6 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/2 cup minced onion
- 3/4 teaspoon salt 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
- Leave some of all the Scotch Bonnets with seeds for a spicier sauce

In a large sauce pan over medium-high heat, combine oil, peppers, garlic, onion, and salt; cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour in water, and cook for 20 minutes, or until the ingredients are soft. Stir frequently. Remove from heat, and allow mixture to cool to room temperature. Transfer the mixture to a blender, and puree until smooth. Pour in vinegar and sugar; blend until mixed. Keep refrigerated.

Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

Taking care of Soursop after shipping

Q: Since I have never grown a soursop tree before I need some pro help. My tree was delivered absolutely beautiful, leaves were a pretty green. I potted it and gave it a good drink of water and put it in a shaded area outside. Then the weather here became cool so I brought it in for a few days until the weather warmed, and it lost all the leaves. Is it in shock and will come around eventually? Will I be able to grow this tree indoors during winter?

A: Soursop - Annona muricata trees are very sensitive to temperature drops. This always causes leaf loss. You seem to be doing everything right. Do not water until soil gets slightly dry; keep it in bright shade. The weather should be good now with high temperatures and humidity rising. No fertilizer until the plant shows active new growth. Be patient with your plant, it should recover soon.

Soursop is an ultra-tropical tree and doesn't take any freeze. If you live in cooler climate, keep the plant in a pot (the good news is, Annonas in general have compact nature and are perfect for container culture). Bring the tree indoors during cold period, providing bright light.

We have very interesting article about growing and fruiting Soursop in apartment. Check out 4534 Tropical Treasures Magazine # 7.

Top Tropicals Video Presents: Doctor Noni

Top Tropicals Video Channel. We are happy to introduce to our customers our new project - Top Tropicals Video. Gardeners have been enjoying our Tropical Treasures Magazine with its unique stories on fascinating plants, their history, plant clinic and Do-It-Yourself projects. Now you can have more fun to visit actual tropical paradise by watching our short movies in your convenience - from your computer, or simply on your smart phone. In our future video tours, we will be showing both popular and rare exciting plants and how to grow them. We will be sharing little secrets of how to make these plants happy, so they will make your own life brighter and happier. Stay updated with TopTropicals Videos by subscribing to our YouTube channel at YouTube/TopTropicals and get our latest video news of what's fruiting and blooming! Our today's video story -

Doctor Noni - life sustaining plant. Many people have heard about the mysterious and miraculous Noni fruit, yet few know exactly what it is. This odd-looking fruit grows on a beautiful tropical tree from Polynesia - Morinda citrifolia, that actually belongs to a Coffee family! The Noni fruit, also called Cheese Fruit for its special odor, has unique health benefits. It is said that this plant food is to be used when we are feeling really ill or really old... Do you want to know how to have your own FREE fresh Noni juice year round? Check out this Movie: Doctor Noni - life sustaining plant...

Top Tropicals Video: Ambarella - delicious June Plum

Golden Apple, or June Plum - Spondias cytherea.

This exciting fruiting plant will amaze you with its ability to flower and fruit at a young age. It fruits in winter and holds the fruit up to 6-8 months, long after the leaves have dropped. The fruit appears in pairs and will turn a brushed-golden color as it ripens. Its feel and juiciness resembles that of a mango but with completely different flavor. The Golden apple is used both in sweet and savory dishes depending on its ripeness. When green, the fruit is commonly eaten as is (with or without skin just like green mangoes) with salt and other salty/spicy dips, made into salsas, chutneys, and into juices and smoothies. When fully ripe, the Golden Apple will be deep yellowish-orange in color. When yellow, the fruit is eaten just like an apple or stewed with sugar to make an applesauce-like dessert.

Check out this video: Ambarella - delicious June Plum...

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

Care of mail-order plants during hot summer

Q: I live in California and about a month ago ordered several plants from you, including fruit trees (Carambola, Mango, Avocado) and flowering trees (Xanthostemon, Adeniums, Champaca, Ylang Ylang). They were all doing well until I tried to move them into full sun, when they got leaf burn immediately. Ylang Ylang was doing great in a shade, but I repotted it from 1 gal into 3 gal and it is drooping leaves now. It has been very hot (over 100F) and dry (humidity is less than 25%). Any suggestions?

A: Hot summer can be pretty challenging time for establishing new plants. These are some guidelines to make your summer gardening more successful and rewarding.

1. You can order plants at any time, but keep your eye on your local weather forecast and try to chose cooler periods to schedule your plant shipments. Here at TopTropcals we monitor weather at destinations, and we can also delay shipment per your request until more favorable conditions.

2. During hot Summer months, many plants are still OK to ship, and to be planted, many species are heat tolerant. It's usually safe to ship most succulents, including Desert roses and Euphorbias. Some fruit trees are pretty easy too, like Loquats, Mango, Eugenias. Many flowering trees can take heat: Acacias, Clusias, Jatropha, Sausage Tree, Plumerias and many others. Check our full list of plants suitable for hot and dry conditions. Most jasmines, including Jasmine Sambac and Trachelospermum make also a safe choice for hot weather planting.

3. Use shade cloth or simply white sheets to protect young plants and new plantings from hot sun.

4. When establishing mail ordered plants during hot weather, keep them in shade for longer period of time than average recommended 1-2 weeks. Give them a chance to establish really well. In areas with low air humidity, try to create a simple mist system. It can be purchased in your local Home Depot for only $20 and set up takes only 10 minutes! It makes a big difference and can help you save many plants from hot weather stress.

5. Although it may seem that during hot weather plants need more water due to high evaporation, be careful with watering, and check soil with your finger before watering - don't water if it is still wet. Combination of "hot and wet" can be as harmful for the root system as "cold and wet" during winter. Protect root systems from overheating: covering black pots with white cloth will work. Remember when temperature is above 90F, most of plants slow down their metabolism, which means roots slow down or even stop pumping water and become more vulnerable to overwatering. For the same reason, do not hurry to step up into bigger container if roots haven't filled yet the existing pot.

Gemini Zodiac lucky plants

Gemini - 5/21-6/20. Ruled by the mutable, changeable planet Mercury (also patron of the art of medicine), Gemini is an AIR sign. Plants ruled by Mercury tend to have ferny or highly-divided leaves or stems (like the bronchi of lungs), hairy or fuzzy leaves (related to the cilia in the lungs), or subtle odors.

Gemini rules the lungs, shoulders, arms, and hands. Its plants help to strengthen the lungs and respiratory system, relax the nervous system, strengthen ears and hearing, the tongue and speaking, the vocal cords, lungs and thyroid, as well as the shoulders, arms, and hands. Gemini has so much going on mentally that they may need a little help to digest all the information they're constantly absorbing. Herbs that have clean, pure flavor not only help physical digestion, but assist spiritual and mental intake as well.

Gemini Zodiac lucky plants: Ferns, Blechnum, Tree ferns and Cyatheas, Fern Tree, Aralias, Jackfruit and Breadfruit, Paulownia, Anthurium, Philodendron, Philadelphus, Clerodendrums, Anise, Lavender, Myrtle, Nut trees, Macadamia, Ficus, Piggyback plant - Tolmiea menziesii, Aloe vera, Fig, Honeysuckle, Azalea, Mint Tree Satureja, Vitex, Ironwood, Mulberry, Osmoxylon, Acalypha, Allamanda, Aphelandra, Iboza, Ruda, Kiwi, Caesalpinia, Cyphomandra, Monstera, Kalanchoe, Magnolia, Oregano, Ocimum, Naranjilla, Zamia, Delionix, Acacias, Calliandra, Patchoili, Palms, Geranium, Grevillea, Eucalyptus.

For other signs information, see full Plant Horoscope.

Memorial day discounts

Memorial day discounts.
15% for orders over $100 (excluding S&H): MEMORIAL15
20% for orders over $200 (excluding S&H): MEMORIAL20
codes are valid till end of day Monday, May 30, 2016.

Everyone who has seen and smelled this flower was delighted by its beauty and instantly became a passionate admirer of the purity and essence of this magical flower. The virgin white, waxy blossoms with sweet intoxicating fragrance bring memories of exotic tropical islands, the night sky turns darker, the stars shine brighter, and the sound of the ocean comes into your mind. There has always been a reason Gardenia was a beloved flower of our grandparents at all times. Along with Camellia, Gardenia was the most praised late bloomer of the 19th century... Read more about Gardenias in Tropical Treasures magazine Issue#8.

Welcome to the world of Gardenias - how to grow them and make them happy. With these few little secrets you will have amazing fragrant beauties blooming most of the year in your garden, or as potted specimens of your indoor/container rare plant collection.

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

See full list of our gardenias.

Memorial day and week-after discounts

Memorial day discounts. . Our Memorial weekend special offers:

1) Remember to use discount coupons
15% off for orders over $100 (excluding S&H): MEMORIAL15
20% off for orders over $200 (excluding S&H): MEMORIAL20
codes are valid till end of day Monday, May 30, 2016.

2) 50% off! - on many interesting rare plants. Check out offers below. Offer ends at the end of day Monday, May 30, 2016.

3) 75% off! - extended discount for local walk-in customers only, on those items listed below. Just print out and bring this email with you, and enjoy 75% off on these plants, what a deal! While supply lasts. Offer ends by end of the week: Saturday June 4.
NEW! Attention Garden Center visitors: for your shopping convenience in our Nursery, print this locations map with QR code to find plant and check price using your smartphone while shopping.

See all offers and sales. Happy Memorial Weekend!

Desert rose winter care

Q: I purchased several pockets of desert rose seeds last year . I now have 45 very healthy seedlings some of them in bud. Almost all of my seeds grew but I lost most of them when I rook them in during winter. I did not water them for a month , kept them in their pots and set them by the window. they either dried up and died or rotted and died. I noticed when you send me grafted specimens that you bareroot them. Is this a better way to keep them inside in winter, bareroot? I hate to lose these plants come winter time. Pls advise me. I live in Houston, Tx. where we get temps below 40 degrees and sometime a day or more of freezing temps.

A: Thank you for your question. Rot is pretty common problem with Desert Roses. We monitor our Adeniums closely and have a special set up of watering environment and schedule, in dedicated greenhouses just for them. Nevertheless - every now and then we see a rotten caudex and can't help it to say "oops! over-watered!" These plants are very sensitive to environment changes, especially when it comes to a combination of water and temperature. These are a few tips that should help you to reduce risk of plant loss to a minimum:

1) Use only well drained mix with much higher content of perlite than you would use for most tropical plants. For adeniums, we use mix with 30-40% of perlite in it, while regular mix has 10-15%.

2) Adeniums like alkaline soil, unlike most of tropical plants (hard to say what else likes alkaline... Ficus for sure!). This means, regular mix with high content of peat moss may cause root rot. To increase alkalinity, you may add dolomite. Here in Florida where we have natural supply of shell rock handy, it is easy to add some shell to a potting mix (shell sand, rather than quartz sand). We always add a few large shells on top of a pots with a big specimen. Besides increasing soil pH (making it more alkaline), shells look very decorative.

3) Water very carefully during cooler months. When it is hot (85-100F), excessive water usually won't harm adeniums: it will be partially used by a plant, and partially will evaporate. Especially be careful with water when temperatures drop below 65F - then tropical plants simply stop growing process and go dormant. Once adeniums start losing leaves, this is a sign to reduce watering to once a week to once a month, and in very small quantity (couple tablespoons per pot).

4) We do not bareroot adeniums for winter storage. They are not bulbs. Barerooting of this plant is recommended only during shipping. Adeniums can stay without soil for up to a week without hardly any stress, sometimes even longer.

5) We keep our big collection specimens on a roofed porch during winter, where level of light is very low. Last winter we haven't lost a single plant due to low light. They take shade pretty well considering minimum or no water. However bright light is always better - it creates healthier environment for a plant. We all know about space limitations for our large collections, especially in winter. So if you can afford a bright spot for adenium during winter - the plant will be lucky!

Adenium Summer Sale: 20% off plants and seeds!

How to get Clerodendrum to bloom?

Q: My Clerodendrum thomsoniae is not blooming. Actually it is not doing much of anything except putting out weak growth and small leaves. I purchased this plant May 26. 2015. Over the winter it was in a heated sunroom, at night 60 degrees, where it received some direct sun from the skylights. I reduced the water to prevent excessive leggy growth. I don't see how this plant can take full sun or even part sun. Temps here in Raleigh NC are 80-85 degrees and 65-70 at night, at the moment. I figured I would gradually expose it to more direct sun after being in a sunroom but the leaves burn. I had this plant in San Jose many years ago where it did quite well, blooming with no special treatment. So thought I'd give it a try again. Any advice?

A: Clerodendrums are all time favorites, appreciated by both gardeners and house plant collectors, for their showy, fragrant flowers and very easy culture. When growing Bleeding Heart (Clerodendrum thomsoniae), a few things should be taken in consideration:

1) Temperature.Like most clerodendrums, this plant is semi-decidious outside of tropics and goes dormant in winter. It may lose some or all leaves if temperatures drop below 60-65F. It is not too cold sensitive, the plant can even take some light freeze. However when it is not hot and humid, it slows down metabolism. This means, water should be reduced during cooler months.

2) Light. This plant can grow in both sun and shade like most clerodendrums - this is the beauty of this genus. However like with all flowering plants, more sun promotes more bloom. In shade, it will grow beautiful dark green foliage (leaves will be bigger than in the sun) on the account of flowering; in full sun leaves turn lighter color and sometimes may even get unattractive "faded" look, but flowering will be profuse. Also remember that Arizona full sun is different than New York full sun. Here in Florida, Bleeding Heart can take some full sun, but if exposed to sun all day long, leaves often get sun burn.

3) Acclimation. Also called acclimatization - this is a process when a living organism adjusts to environment changes. Acclimation is always the case when growing plants indoors, even in a sun room. When Spring comes, and especially when we start taking outdoors those plants that have spent a few months indoors, light level increases dramatically, and this may cause leaf loss, and leaf burn. It is not necessarily a bad thing, it is just a mechanism of acclimation. Example: imagine yourself after living in a warm tropical climate, moving to a cold country. For a while your body will feel discomfort from "too much cold", while native residents may feel comfortable. We call it "My blood has thinned after living in Florida" - and this is a physiological fact. And vice versa, if you are a Northerner, moving to hot climate may be a challenge; it will take a while until you get used to hot and humid tropical summers. Same thing with plants: during cooler and darker period, their body (leaves and stems) becomes "winter type", with some serious chemical restructuring. Immediate environment change, like bright light and high temperature, causes a shock to those "winter cells", and as a defense mechanism, the plant gets rid of those useless "winter" leaves, replacing them with new "summer" leaves with completely new chemistry and metabolism.

From what you described, you know your plants, and you know what you are doing. You did everything right by reducing watering in winter and gradually moving the plant into brighter light. You still may see some stress, and this is normal. If you patiently keep changing environment slowly, eventually your plant will generate new healthy "summer" growth, it will also improve more vigorous root grown which will help the plant to establish better and to be stronger. You will see larger, thicker leaves, and definitely some flowers.

Top Tropicals Video and Father's Day

Father's Day discount. A live plant is the most special gift for the Dad!
A fragrant jasmine is the best present ever.

15% off coupon: FATHER2016 (plus usual 5% discount on top of this offer)
Enter discount code in shopping cart and click "recalculate"
Valid through end of the day of Sunday June 19, 2016. Minimum order $100 (excluding S&H). Not valid on previous purchases.
You may also purchase a GIFT CERTIFICATE so he can select his favorite plant!

The most wanted tropical plant. Do you want to know what is the most wanted tropical plant ever? We are revealing a secret, because this plant... was a creator of Top Tropicals. There is the reason why every gardener wants to have this plant! The fragrance is so wonderful, it will attract you like a bee to a honey and make you feel GOOD! This video contains a unique information - a guide to different varieties of this fascinating plant.

Check out this video: Jasminum Sambac - Absolute Flower.

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

New Top Tropicals Video


Top Tropicals Video - Pesticide 101 Safe and Easy. Top Tropicals Plant Clinic with Robert Riefer (Certified Crop Adviser, ISA Certified Arborist). Many people are afraid of using harsh chemicals. We will discuss some pests you may find in your garden and what you can do about them, including using easy and safe household remedies.

Check out this video: Pesticide 101 Safe and Easy.

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

Father's Day discount. A live plant is the most special gift for the Dad!
15% off coupon: FATHER2016 (plus usual 5% discount on top of this offer)
Enter discount code in shopping cart and click "recalculate"
Valid through end of the day of Sunday June 19, 2016. Minimum order $100 (excluding S&H). Not valid on previous purchases. You may also purchase a GIFT CERTIFICATE so he can select his favorite plant!

New Top Tropicals Video


Top Tropicals Video - Pesticide 101 Safe and Easy. Top Tropicals Plant Clinic with Robert Riefer (Certified Crop Adviser, ISA Certified Arborist). Many people are afraid of using harsh chemicals. We will discuss some pests you may find in your garden and what you can do about them, including using easy and safe household remedies.

Check out this video: Pesticide 101 Safe and Easy.

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

Father's Day discount. A live plant is the most special gift for the Dad!
15% off coupon: FATHER2016 (plus usual 5% discount on top of this offer)
Enter discount code in shopping cart and click "recalculate"
Valid through end of the day of Sunday June 19, 2016. Minimum order $100 (excluding S&H). Not valid on previous purchases. You may also purchase a GIFT CERTIFICATE so he can select his favorite plant!

Coastal plants


Spathodea campanulata - African Tulip Tree

Q: I'm looking for a plant to replace a Torrey pine that was sadly cut down. The pine made the soil very acidic and it's already silty, sandy, and salty from being near a coastal marsh. I was thinking of a Kei Apple. However, there are only seeds available on the website and I'd prefer a sapling to get things started faster. Are there other trees you'd suggest for that environment?

A: Here are some fast growing salt tolerant trees that we can suggest, just to name a few: Bucida buceras - Florida Black Olive Tree, Callistemon citrinus - Weeping red Bottlebrush, Capparis cynophallophora - Jamaica Caper, Cassia fistula - Golden Shower Tree, Coccoloba uvifera - Sea Grape, Cordias, Delonix regia - Royal poinciana, Flamboyant, Elaeocarpus grandiflorus - Fairy Petticoats, Ficus lyrata - Fiddle-Leaf Ficus, Ficus religiosa - Bo-Tree, Peepal, Sacred Ficus, Mahoe, Peltophorum pterocarpum - Yellow Poinciana, Plumeria, Spathodea campanulata - African Tulip Tree (shown on right). See full list of salt tolerant plants.

15% on all mango trees! This weekend only. Offer is valid through Sunday, June 26. See all mango varieties available.

4th of July discount codes:

20% off for orders over $200.00 (excluding S&H) - 4JULY20

15% off for orders over $150.00 (excluding S&H) - 4JULY15

Enter the code in online shopping cart and click recalculate.

Excluding S&H; not valid for previous purchases. Valid through July 4, 2016

4th of July discount codes:

20% off for orders over $200.00 (excluding S&H) - 4JULY20

15% off for orders over $150.00 (excluding S&H) - 4JULY15

Enter the code in online shopping cart and click recalculate.

Excluding S&H; not valid for previous purchases. Valid through July 4, 2016

Cancer Zodiac lucky plants

Cancer - 6/21-7/22. Cancer is a WATER sign and is ruled by the Moon. Cancer's plants generally have soft or Moon-shaped leaves, contain a lot of moisture, or are found near water. Oftentimes they have white, pale blue or pale yellow flowers. Cancer rules the stomach, diaphragm, and liver, so plants that aid digestion or affect the subconscious are associated with the sign of the Crab. Maternal Cancer also governs the breasts, the womb, and the ovaries. It rules all fluid secretions, including menstrual blood, fluids in the eye, and tears. The moon is often associated with conditions involving irregular periodicity: irregular menstruation and related moods, epilepsy, insomnia, hysteria. Lunar herbs tend to have white or yellow flowers and soft, juicy leaves. They often live in or near water. As they are so nurturing and warm, Cancer loves the homey smell of cinnamon. This sweet spice is good for gently heating things up; it also promotes movement and flow in life. Its familiar scent is soothing and calming for those who need a little retreat every now and again.

Cancer Zodiac lucky plants: Lilies, Eucomis, Magnolia, Nicotiana, Brugmansia, Dombeya, White flowers, Water lilies, Lotus, Maidenhair fern, Monstera, Cinnamon, Sage, Aloe, Lemon Balm, Bay leaf, Palasa - Butea monosperma, Acai, Mahogany, Mango, Banana, Apple, Pear, Geranium - Pelargonium, White roses, Solandra Chalice Vine, Butter Cup, Acalypha, Cornutia, Ruda, Oregano, Camphor plant, Grapes, Brunfelsia, Alocasia, Colocasia, Canna, Cyperus, Iris, Equisetum, Mangroves.

For other signs information, see full Plant Horoscope.

Growing fruit trees in containers

Will it fruit in a pot? YES! Many tropical fruit trees can be grown in a pot. We get many calls from customers in cooler climates asking if our tropical trees can grow and fruit in a pot. The answer is yes!

Several plants fruit well in pots. Blackberries and raspberries, barbados cherries, blueberries and many more start fruiting even in their 1 gallon containers. We are especially excited about our new Pixie grapes, which are heavily laden with grapes even at only a foot long!

While some plants are small and will fruit easily in a container, others are large trees. For the tree type fruits, we recommend growing only non-seedling plants for pot culture. We have cuttings, air layers and grafted plants that are great options. These have the ability to fruit right away, as they are the same age as the parent tree. Some horticulturists recommend removing the first year fruit to allow the plant to focus on growth and establishing. If the plant is being kept in a pot, this is not necessary.

We also have several dwarf varieties of fruit trees that will thrive in a pot. For avocados, we carry the Wurtz variety which is a dwarf tree... read more...

RARE AFRICAN GINGERS

By John Banta. The rarity of African gingers is only matched by their beauty. The rarest, and most costly is the remarkable blue flowered, Siphonchilus beachystemon. It was discovered in Kenya in 1957 by an English tourist. It reminded her of the beautiful blue Himalayan poppy, Meconopsis grandis, she often admired at the Edinburgh Botanical Garden so she had her guide collect a plant or two that she took back to Edinburgh. The few plants available in horticulture today come from that original collection over 50 years ago. Fortunately there are about 15 species of Siphonchilus found in Africa and some of most outstanding ones make grand additions to our gardens. Listed in order of their vigor and availability they are:
Siphonochilus decorus. The large butter yellow flowers only last for a day but they continue to develop for weeks. In Zimbabwe it is considered one of the outstanding native plants. It is closely related to the next ginger and forms hybrids with it that are usually sterile. Read more...

Care of mail-order plants during hot summer

Q: I live in California and about a month ago ordered several plants from you, including fruit trees (Carambola, Mango, Avocado) and flowering trees (Xanthostemon, Adeniums, Champaca, Ylang Ylang). They were all doing well until I tried to move them into full sun, when they got leaf burn immediately. Ylang Ylang was doing great in a shade, but I repotted it from 1 gal into 3 gal and it is drooping leaves now. It has been very hot (over 100F) and dry (humidity is less than 25%). Any suggestions?

A: Hot summer can be pretty challenging time for establishing new plants. These are some guidelines to make your summer gardening more successful and rewarding.

1. Check forecast. You can order plants at any time, but keep your eye on your local weather forecast and try to chose cooler periods to schedule your plant shipments. Here at TopTropcals we monitor weather at destinations, and we can also delay shipment per your request until more favorable conditions.

2. Get right plants. During hot Summer months, many plants are still OK to ship, and to be planted, many species are heat tolerant. It's usually safe to ship most succulents, including Desert roses and Euphorbias. Some fruit trees are pretty easy too, like Loquats, Mango, Eugenias. Many flowering trees can take heat: Acacias, Clusias, Jatropha, Sausage Tree, Plumerias and many others. Check our full list of plants suitable for hot and dry conditions. Most jasmines, including Jasmine Sambac and Trachelospermum make also a safe choice for hot weather planting.

3. Use shade cloth or simply white sheets to protect young plants and new plantings from hot sun.

4. Establish in shade. When establishing mail ordered plants during hot weather, keep them in shade for longer period of time than average recommended 1-2 weeks. Give them a chance to establish really well. In areas with low air humidity, try to create a simple mist system. It can be purchased in your local Home Depot for under $20 and set up takes only 10 minutes! It makes a big difference and can help you save many plants from hot weather stress.

5. Water wisely. Although it may seem that during hot weather plants need more water due to high evaporation, be careful with watering, and check soil with your finger before watering - don't water if it is still wet. Combination of "hot and wet" can be as harmful for the root system as "cold and wet" during winter. Protect root systems from overheating: covering black pots with white cloth will work. Remember when temperature is above 90F, most of plants slow down their metabolism, which means roots slow down or even stop pumping water and become more vulnerable to overwatering. For the same reason, do not hurry to step up into bigger container if roots haven't filled yet the existing pot.

Forget the gym and get to gardening?
Calories Burned Gardening

Fun workout? We never have enough time to go to the gym or do an exercise so it's good to know that just doing something that you love can give you a workout. We all know that when we are out in the garden it gives us a bit of exercise but we do not realize how much exactly. Working out in the yard is a healthy hobby for many reasons, the high number of calories burned gardening being one of them. When you do this kind of physical labor, you carry out a wide variety of movements that most definitely burn calories, and may even tone. The best part about it in terms of physical activity is that if you enjoy yard work at all, you aren't watching the clock or counting down the minutes until you are done (the way that many people do while they are on a treadmill). You can easily spend a whole afternoon or an entire day working without feeling as though you are putting yourself through a mentally grueling workout. Finding physical activities that you enjoy are key to maintaining a healthy weight throughout your lifetime, and this hobby is a perfect example of that scenario for many people.

Research says that three hours of gardening can have the same effect as an intense 1-hour gym session. The study was carried out with a group of 100 gardeners who were asked to monitor the amount of time spent doing a series of common gardening tasks over a four week period. Gardening tasks that were monitored included weeding, digging, mowing the lawn, hedge trimming, trimming shrubs and trees, raking, planting shrubs, and moving garden waste using a wheel barrow. Here are some facts and numbers:
- Just doing half an hour weeding can burn up to 150 calories and tasks that handle heavy electrical equipment such as hedge trimming will give you a good workout burning 400 calories per hour.
- Spending a day or five hours each week in the garden will burn up to around 700 calories
- Over a gardening season that works out at 18,772 calories per year, equivalent to running seven marathons
- The gardening hobby could help burn a million calories over a lifetime.

Calories burned with only 1 hour of:
340 cal - Chopping wood, splitting logs, gardening with heavy power tools, tilling a garden, chain saw. Mowing lawn, walk, hand mower. Shoveling by hand.
272 cal - Carrying, loading or stacking wood, loading/unloading or carrying lumber, digging, spading, filling garden, composting, laying crushed rock or sod. Clearing land, hauling branches, wheelbarrow chores.
238 cal - Operating blower, walking. Planting seedlings, shrubs, trees, trimming shrubs or trees, manual cutter. Weeding, cultivating garden.
224 cal - Raking lawn, sacking grass and leaves
136 cal - Picking fruit off trees, picking up yard, picking flowers or vegetables. Walking, gathering gardening tools.
102 cal - Walking, applying fertilizer or seeding a lawn
34 cal - Watering lawn or garden, standing or walking

Sources: DailyMail, CalorieLab, FitnessBlender.

Leo Zodiac lucky plants

Leo - 7/23-8/22. Naturally, Leo is a FIRE sign ruled by the brilliant Sun. Leo's plants are usually large and gold or orange in color, have heart-shaped leaves or a radiating shape, or have association with victory (like the Bay Leaf). Leo loves this colorful and special spice, which is known for amplifying prosperity and abundance.

The part of the body ruled by Leo the Lion is the heart. Plants related to Leo are primarily associated with the cardiac system, but also with the spine, the thymus gland, and the eyes. They strengthen and tone the heart, regulate blood pressure, raise the spirits and have an uplifting effect. Keep in mind that all cardio-active medicinal herbs should be used only in consultation with a qualified professional.

Leo Zodiac lucky plants: Sunflower tree, Delonix, Hibiscus, Abutilon, Mahoe, Hawaiin Sunset Vine (Stictocardia), Campsis, Passion flower, Calendula, Mexican Flame Vine, Bay Leaf, Safflower, Mint, Rosemary, Ruda - Ruta graveolens, Marigolds, Sunflowers, Palm trees, Lemon and orange trees, Grapefruit, Dieffenbachia , Croton, Lemon Balm, Chamomile, Tarragon, Kaligottu (Stereospermum chelonoides), Bel Fruit, White Madaar, Peppers, Pineapple, Coconut, Anise, Heliotrope, Gingers, Lavender, Ashoka Tree, Dombeya, Jacquemontia, Lychee, Mulberry, Philodendrons, Macaranga, Anthuriums, Aphelandra, Orchid trees, Leonotis.

For other signs information, see full Plant Horoscope.

Musings of a butterfly gardener about the milkweed bug

By Kevin Piotrowicz, FL. This spring I was excited! My milkweed was blooming and going to seed. I have 3 healthy clumps of it, each one with seed pods. I counted the seed pods at one time... 22... I had 22 seed pods on 3 plants! Could it be possible? Could I finally have reached the point that I had a sustainable amount of milkweed growing that would not be decimated by monarch caterpillars?

I was telling my friends, "My milkweed is growing great! I may be able to support a population of monarchs!" There were even a couple of them flying around the yard, landing on the milkweed, and frolicking amount the wax myrtle.

With great joy I watched 3 monarch caterpillars munch on my milkweed. The small plant colony even survived as the caterpillars pupated. Not only survived, it expanded! More shoots came out from the bases of the plants! More flowers! More seed pods! All was right with my garden. The zebra longwings and gulf fritillaries had new friends to play with... But what's this??? ... Continue reading...

Click here to see for full list of butterfly attractors currently available for sale, with 15% OFF! See also Complete Alphabetical list of plants that attract butterflies and hummingbirds (very long list).

Growing gardenias indoors

From Brian B, WI: Just wanted to share this photo of one of the plants my parents got from you 3 months ago.

Q: Gardenia taitensis is my favorite gardenia. I would need to keep it indoors under a grow light. Is it worth trying to grow indoors or is really difficult? If so, can you recommend and indoor plant that has big fragrance and blooms often?

A: When growing gardenias indoors, four most important factors must be taken in consideration:
1. Bright light (Southern window and/or proper lighting set up)
2. Proper watering (gardenias love water, but roots are very sensitive to excessive water)
3. Rich organic soil with perfect drainage characteristics, regular feeding with high phosphate component and micro-elements containing Iron or Ferovit.
4. Insect control (inspect underneath leaves regularly and apply systemic or on-contact treatments as needed). See Top Tropicals video on easy insect control.

We definitely recommend Gardenia taitensis (both single and double flower varieties) for indoor culture. Another species, Gardenia vietnamensis, is even easier in cultivation as it takes wide range of conditions and may tolerate slight overwatering (unlike other varieties which are more sensitive). These three mentioned gardenias are somewhat tolerant to low light conditions. Under a proper care, they will grow successfully even in bright shade, however for blooming they require as much light as you can provide. Properly adjusted growing light may be helpful. You may refer to our article about indoor plant lighting in our magazine Tropical Treasures, Issue # 15, or website page.

Top Tropicals Video: Orchids 101. Part 1.

Part 1. What is an orchid? Orchids come in many shapes, sizes and colors. There are approximately between 25,000 species as well as over 250,000 of hybrids. It's one quarter of a million! Learn about these amazing plants from series of Orchid videos with our orchid expert Robert Riefer.
Check out this video: Top Tropicals Orchids 101. Part 1. What is an orchid?...

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

Growing mango in hot Arizona

By Mike D, Mesa, AZ. Despite to what you may think, mango can be successfully grown in desert Arizona climate. It has good heat and drought tolerance. It's possible providing the following:
1) Winter protection of a young plant when temperature goes around or below freezing. Try to plant trees in locations where they're protected from cold wind. Minimal temperatures vary widely. Areas which are closer to downtown are few degrees warmer, while outskirts can be very cold.
2) Some people are lucky enough to live in areas with good soil. However, most of us will have a so-called hardpan (extremely compacted desert) or caliche (layers of soil cemented together by calcium carbonate). Check with your local county extension office to determine how to deal with such conditions. Gypsum is usually used to loosen compacted soil.
3) When planting, dig a large hole making sure it has good drainage. Plant tree as usual, add mulch around it. It helps to conserve moisture.
4) Best time to plant is late Fall or early Spring, so mango can get established before Summer heat.
5) Plant where tree gets few hours of sun.
5) Water a lot until established. Once established, water when soil is dry.
6) Small plant may need protection from summer heat. Use shade cloth.
7) Mango requires very little nitrogen fertilizer. In hot climate, overdosing nitrogen may result in quick plant decline. Use balanced low nitrogen slow release fertilizer or avoid nitrogen completely. If you use mulch, then decomposing mulch provides enough nitrogen. Foliar spray of micronutrient solution is recommended during active growing period. Read more...

Grow lights overview

By Benjamin Thorton. If you are an avid gardener living in a place where there are distinct seasons, then you probably know the feeling of dread that sets in when summer ends, because that means that soon you will have to harvest what has grown and put gardening on hold until next spring. However, there is a way how you can continue gardening even when it is cold and snowy outside, and that is to use grow lights to create an indoors garden. So if you want to find out more about what are grow lights and how to use them, then keep on reading...

For more information on grow lights, visit T5fixtures.com, a website that provides all the latest information on indoors gardening and lighting, that you can use to facilitate plant growth. Have this information as a guide to growing healthy, big-yielding plants without having to leave your house.

This week only, 20% OFF on all plants well suitable for indoor culture. Most tropical plants can be grown in containers and many of them indoors, but this selection is the best for beginners, check them out!

Growing Mexican Flame Vine as an annual

Q: While down in Fort Myers a few years ago, I saw this plant - Senecio confusus or Mexican Flame Vine, growing over chain-link fencing. At any rate, I fell in love with the plant then and there, only to later see it up here in Wisconsin, albeit down in Madison at The Centennial House, a noted botanical garden. This has led me to believe it may be possible to use this plant up here in the north as an annual. I could really use the orange coloration in mixed containers, etc. What I would like to try to find out is, will it grow and flower sufficiently within one of our growing seasons up here to make the choice worthwhile? Again, seeing it at Centennial House at least leads me to believe it may be possible. China where the flower was admired for its beauty and believed to have medicinal properties that promoted good health and long life. The Japanese Emperor was so smitten with the kiku flower that he adopted it as his personal crest, and it remains the insignia of the imperial family today. The art of growing and displaying Kiku for the Emperor's garden represented by amazing Imperial styles: Ozukuri, Ogiku, Kengai... Imagine growing out of one stem a single chrysanthemum trained to produce hundreds of simultaneous blossoms in a massive, dome-shaped array.

A: Mexican Flame vine is a good candidate to be grown as annual, thanks to these features:
- extremely fast growing
- it flowers in small size and young age
- long flowering period (2-3 months depending on conditions), throughout early Spring into Summer, sometimes it has a second blooming season by end of Summer.
- we keep large mature plants in stock year round, so you can have blooming size specimen as early as spring once your temperatures reach 65F so the plant will feel comfortable and develop quickly.
- easy to propagate - more plants can be made for next year season.

In winter, a potted plant can be cut back and kept in semi-dormant state indoors - garage, enclosed patio, with temperatures around 50F and above. Some gardeners from North prefer to plant a tropical specimen with a pot into the ground (make sure to add extra drainage holes), and when winter comes, it makes it easier to dig it out and save till warm season.

More useful information on Grow Lights!

By Michael Aiton, FL: When I was taking classes at Palm Beach State College for my AA degree in Horticulture, what we used in the lab for 'grow lights' was a combination of incandescent and florescent lights to get the full spectrum of red/blue/green light. I saw it as a tried and true method, and cheaper than going out and buying 'grow lights', although they are making incandescent lights harder and harder to get anymore...

Fluorescent lights are by far the most economical and easy choice for houseplants. They come in tubes or compact bulbs (CFL) that screw into regular lamp sockets, and they’re cool enough to put close to plant foliage. Generic fluorescent tubes and bulbs are higher in blue wavelengths, so look for “full-spectrum” or include a mix of "cool" and "warm" bulbs. When in doubt, buy "cool white" products, since white light contains the full spectrum of wavelengths. For maximum effect, position fluorescents about a foot away from plant foliage.

Incandescent lights give off a lot of heat and should be placed farther away from plant foliage. Incandescent bulbs give off more red wavelengths, so they can be used to supplement fluorescent light and balance out the spectrum, especially if you’re trying to encourage plants to bloom. If you want to mix the two, try using a ratio of about one-third incandescent and two-thirds fluorescent by wattage.

See more information on grow lights

Virgo Zodiac lucky plants

Virgo - 8/23-9/22. Virgo is an EARTH sign ruled by the planet Mercury, which also rules Gemini.

Virgo is traditionally the Goddess of the Grain, and is associated with autumn. Her plants often have finely divided leaves or stems, subtle odors, or small, brightly-colored flowers. The most beneficial plants for Virgo are high in potassium and help to calm the nerves.

In its rulership of Virgo, Mercury governs the abdomen and the lower intestinal tract and the entire digestive process. Herbs associated with Virgo assist in digestion (as do Cancer herbs) and help to reduce flatulence. The relaxing, calming scents help Virgo release stress and worries.

Virgo Zodiac lucky plants: Amorphophallus, Anethum graveolens (Dill), Barringtonia, Bolusanthus, Dioscorea, Grewia asiatica (Falsa), Hibiscus sabdariffa (Karkade), Iboza riparia, Lagerstroemia speciosa (Queens Crape Myrtle), Laurus nobilis (Bay Leaf), Lippia, Melissa, Catnip, Mint, Arugula, Piper betle, Piper sarmentosum, Psychotria, Syzygium aromaticum (Clove), Banisteriopsis, Papaya, Mesua ferrea (Ironwood), Momordica, Euterpe oleracea (Assai Palm), Jacaranda, Magnolia officinalis, Pimenta dioica (Allspice), Osteospermum, Petrea, Plumbago, Clitoria, Eranthemum, Litchi, Cashew, Pecan, Nut trees, Cherries, Lavender, Myrtles, Sansiveria, Aloe vera, Blackberry, Honey suckle, Satureja, Vitex, Mulberry, Elaeocarpus, Clausena lansium (Wampi), Feronia elephantum (Bel Fruit).

For other signs information, see full Plant Horoscope.

Hardy avocados

Q: I intend to gift three avocados, at least one type A and one type B, to a friend who lives in an area where the temperature never goes below 25F. The idea is to give them a ripening season as long as possible. Which combinations do you suggest, and which are the A and B?

A: When talking about "A" type and "B" type in Avocados, it is referring to the flowers. An avocado will produce both male and female flowers on the same plant. "A" type means that the flowers are female in the morning and male at afternoon. "B" type means that the flowers are male in the morning and female in the afternoon. If you plant to start a commercial growth, then it's important to create a proper mix of both types. However, in hot and humid climate a single tree produces flowers of both types, so it is not necessary to have both A- and B- types planted together in backyard. Even a single tree produces enough fruits for home gardener.

It is also important to know that while there are more cold hardy avocados, it refers to a full grown established tree. They will still need protection from the cold until they are bigger and more established. One can not expect a small tree, which was planted in June, to survive the first winter. It'll take few years until the tree is "harden" enough.

Wurtz Avocado: Fruits from May to Sept. Dwarf hybrid. It is very compact and slow growing, reaching only about 8-12 feet at maturity. Distinctive weeping growth habit. Suited for planters, containers, patios, greenhouse use. Great for dooryard or container growing. The tree can handle temperatures to 25(F) degrees. Production is good and it is a consistent bearer.

Day Avocado: Fruits July to Sept. Day avocado is green, smooth skin and is shaped like a club. The fruit is of very good quality and has a nice buttery consistency. The slender tree is relatively cold tolerant and produces July through September.

Fuerte Avocado: Fruits Nov to June. Relatively cold hardy variety. Green fruit, elongated,flavor excellent, buttery. Vigorous compact tree with decidedly alternate year bearing habit. Ripens November to June.

These three will provide you with fruit ripening during the whole warm season. For the most cold hardy avocado varieties, see this info sheet.

Planting instructions for bare-rooted succulent plants

Q: I would like to order a few Adeniums from your selection. You website says "shipped barerooted". What do I need to know about potting these plants before I order?

A: Adeniums do not require much soil; large 4-5" wide caudex plant can be grown in 1 gal pot. After unpacking the plants, position it in a pot, size of root system. Use only well-drained soil with high content of perlite and/or sand. Cactus mix can be used too, although we recommend using our special TopTropicals professional soilless potting mix. Water once and keep in warm (75-80F) place in filtered light. Do not water again until soil dries on surface. Once the plant is established and starts growing new leaves (may take a few weeks), gradually move it into brighter light. Then you can start fertilizing it. You may place shells and lime rocks on top of adenium planting, as these plants benefit from slightly alkaline soils.

See Info sheet on Adenium care.
See full list of Adeniums.
See full list of Plumerias.
See full list of Euphorbias.

Organic remedy for indoor plants insect protection

Q: Winter is coming and I moved my collection of fragrant plants inside the house about a week ago. Today I noticed some aphids on my jasmine. I guess they sneaked in with the plant from the garden where it was a week ago. I don't want them to spread around and get to the nearby gardenia. What should I do to protect my plants from insects indoors?

A: Sometimes bugs attack indoor plants more than those outside in the garden. The main reason is lack of air circulation, lack of sunlight, lack of bug natural predators, and lack of plant's immune resistance due to winter dormancy. So, you need to pay extra attention at your plants health during colder months they spend indoors. Inspect leaves, especially underneath, at least on weekly basis.

If noticed first signs of insect attacks (insects and/or leaf damage such as holes, chewed edges, discoloration, dark or sticky coating), use a simple organic remedy that is handy in every house. Mix in a cup of hot water two tablespoons of any cooking oil: Canola, Vegetable, Sunflower, Olive; Neem oil is the best for this purpose, but it does have a pungent odor (bugs don't like it as well as some people). Add a few drops of dish-soap for better mixing oil in the water. You may add a clove of pressed fresh garlic - bugs hate it! Clean leaves with this solution using cloth, paper towel, and/or spray bottle.

If insects are persistent or your treatment arrived too late when a plant is excessively infested, after cleaning with the oil solution, you may use additionally systemic insecticide sprays sold in garden centers, with active ingredients of pyrethrin, imidacloprid or similar. Make sure to read product label and follow instructions.

However try the organic recipe first, it really works! You may repeat it as needed, as often as you want! See TopTropicals Video on Safe and Easy Pest Control.

About Cold Protection...

Q: I have a question, if I'm in Okeechobee Florida zone 9b are there any plants that you sell that would have to be protected at all? I have a lot that I've purchased from you and don't want to lose any of them winter.

A: Sometimes it is hard to guarantee if certain plants are hardy enough in certain area. From our experience, tropical plant performance in non-tropical areas depend on many factors; a lot of times plants appear to be hardier than they are believed to be. Other times, an obviously hardy plant doesn't survive winter. So there always will be a chance of risk involved, while nice surprises are not an exception. We have been testing many tropical species throughout many years of our nursery experience. Wind protection in many cases is more important than temperature. Enclosed sections of your garden provide better chances to survive cold snaps. Generally speaking, here is the list of some plants (not complete list, just examples) that in our experience have been surviving light freezes without significant damage.

Q: I live in San Jose,CA. Got Mango Alphonso 2 yrs back and protected it for a year in a pot during winter. Last spring I planted it and during winter I put a freeze cloth to protect it but it died. How can I make sure it wont die if I buy this time plz?

A: Mango trees are tolerant only to light frost, once established. If it gets below freezing in your area for more than a few hours, and especially if you have numerous nights with frost throughout winter, we recommend to keep mango tree in a pot. This way it can be moved to protected area during cold night. The more established the tree, the more chances to survive colder temperatures.
We also use plant booster Sunshine to increase plants cold tolerance
Cold protection is a lengthy subject. You may also use propane heaters during cold nights.
Here is some more information on cold protection.
Also, we recommend to check out our magazine Tropical Treasures (about pushing the limits of tropical gardening) for a detailed article on cold protection.
These are specific articles on Zone-Pushing in different issue #s regarding dealing with cold. See downloadable issues:
(#1) Growing Tropicals in Nontropical Climate, Three Freezing Nights in Southwest Florida
(#2) Temperature drops - an alert or a rehearsal?
(#5) Dealing with cold snaps, Cold hardy beauties
(#7) When winter is around the corner, Growing exotic Cordyline in colder climate
(#8) When the weather outside is frightful
(#9) Winter champions
(#11) Ready-for-winter checklist for in-ground plants
(#13) Winter checklist
(#18) Dealing with cold damaged plants
You may also order hard copies.

If temperatures drop below freezing in your area, remember to add Heat Pack to your order!

Libra Zodiac lucky plants

Libra - 9/23-10/22. Libra is an AIR sign, and is ruled by the planet Venus. Because Venus is the planet of beauty and love, Libra's plants often have light, lovely flowers and gorgeous scents.
Libra has been related to the endocrine system, the kidneys, and the bladder. Venus (which also rules Taurus) is responsible for the harmony between the various body systems, as well as the abdomen, kidneys and urinary tract, and thyroid. Libra's plants help to bring balance to these areas of the body. Libra's romantic nature appreciates a spice that cultivates love and sensuality. Cardamom is a spice known for its gently warming nature, so add a sprinkle when you want to heat things up slowly.

Libra Zodiac lucky plants: Jasmine, Gardenia, Euclinia, Pua Keni Keni, Randia, Beaumontia, Faradaya, Butterfly Ginger, Kopsia, Hydrangea, Montanoa, Aglaia, Dwarf Ylang-Ylang, Desmos, Clematis, Almond Bush, Brunfelsia, Four oclock plant, Juniper, Moonflower, Carissa, White Chocolate Jasmine, Night blooming jasmine, Fiddlewood, Honeysuckle, Orchid, Clerodendrums, Millingtonia, Parijat, Fried Egg Tree, Oxyceros, Phaleria, Tuberose, Cubanola, Portlandia, Rothmannia, Allamanda, Nasturtium, Rose, Camellia, Ephedra, Fuchsia, Ylang-Ylang, Magnolia, Stemmadenia, White Plumeria, Appleblossom, Needle Flower Tree, Tree Jasmine, Guaiacum, Epiphyllum, Amazon Lily, India Hawthorn, Stephanotis, Talauma, Pakalana vine, Wrightia, White flowers, Cypress, Lucky Bamboo, Dracaena, Bakul, Apple, Pear, Fig, Raspberry, Olive, Pomegranate, Apricot, Peach, Plum, Loquat, Grape, Blackberry, Mango, Cherries, Chrysobalanus icaco, Berries, Neem tree, Asparagus, Spices, Mint, Catnip, Bergamot, Thyme, Cardamom.

For other signs information, see full Plant Horoscope.

15% OFF ON ALL FRAGRANT PLANTS! 3 day sale.

Helping plants to survive winter:
SUNSHINE BOOSTERS - FROM SUNSHINE STATE

A magic plant hormone so wanted by gardeners, is finally here! When people purchase plants and trees either on-line, or from their local nursery, expectation and anticipation for their new find is high. Many times, however, disappointment is encountered due to a variety of reasons. These reasons include changes in light, temperature, water, soil conditions and transportation; just to name a few. So how can the stress on newly transported and transplanted plants be mitigated? Easy! There are plant stimulators able to reduce the shock encountered.

One such plant stimulator, produced at TT Laboratories is SUNSHINE, a revolutionary, broad spectrum, plant stress reliever. Extracted initially from plant pollen, SUNSHINE can bring back and keep the vigor to stressed plants in both the home and garden. Sunshine is indeed a plant stimulator on the cutting edge of plant care technology. Reasonably priced, and easy to use, SUNSHINE will be your plants' best friend, next to yourself, of course.

SUNSHINE will help your plants:
- recover from stress
- dramatically increase growth rate
- get profuse flowering and fruiting
- improve disease resistance, cold hardiness, and heat resistance
- promote seed germination and root cuttings easily

Great for indoor plants and improving cold tolerance!

Line of products:
SUNSHINE-E - general plant booster, growth stimulator and immune booster
SUNSHINE-BC - Bonsai and Caudex developer
SUNSHINE-S - seeds and cuttings pre-treatment
SUNSHINE-T - Thermo-protection for overwintering tropical plants
SUNSHINE-Micro - ultimate micro-element mix from TT Laboratories

On the photo: Tomato seedlings, with and without Sunshine-E treatment; 1 week after treatment, 09-01-2016. Continue reading...

Order online

Plants for happiness and joy

Plants as homeopathic remedies and happiness boosters. Many people know about health benefits of vitamin C which improves and boosts our immune system similar to SUNSHINE plant booster stimulating growth of plants. But not everybody realizes that this vitamin is responsible for overall happiness of our body, it brings many systems in balance. A number of tropical plants used in salads, as well as fruit with high content of vitamin C can play dual role in your life. You can use them as food, as well as enjoy their beautiful tropical appearance. Such plants will help you feel interest and joy in life when you feel apathetic and resigned to the situation you are in. Just to name a few:

Lychee
Barbados Cherry
Eugenias
Hibiscus Karkade

Try them out. Stay healthy and happy!

Cold protection - winter action for your plant collection

A note from our customer: Last winter was very cold here in Arizona, lower 30's. I used white synthetic sheets (called frost cloth, it is very light and yet effective) to cover my fruit trees, and kept simple light garlands on for the whole night. Sending you couple photos so you can share with others. It worked pretty well for my plants and no cold damage!

With winter approaching, it is time to take some actions to protect your rare plants from cold stress and damage.
If you live in a mild climate, you still need to get ready for the cold nights. When expecting a cold night, individual plants and trees can be wrapped with sheets, or blankets, to protect them from the wind chill. Christmas lights is a good idea for an additional warm up.

For large collections of tropical plants, temporary winter greenhouse doesn't have to be expensive. An easy-assembly mobile carport from a hardware store covered with a plastic or fabric will cost you $100-200. It can fit a hundred plants or more!

If you live in area with a hard freeze, Southern exposure windowsill will work for most of the compact tropicals providing proper care. Larger collections may also move into your garage for a few cold nights, or for longer periods if the garage has a bright light source.

Factors affecting tropical plant winter survival:

1. Duration of cold period. Tropical plants can't stand long periods of cold. A few days of even upper 30's may kill a tropical plant. A few hours of frost may cause leaf drop but the plant will recover.
2. Minimum temperature - of course, the warmer the better. But see 1) - if cold is not for too long, it may be OK.
3. Wind-chill can be more dangerous than low temperatures.
4. Exposure. Southern slopes get warm during daytime and stay warm longer.
5. Protection with a house, fence, larger trees - where a "pocket" of warm air forms and stays - is beneficial.
6. Humidity. A lake or a river nearby (especially ocean) will mild the micro-climate.
7. Individual species hardiness. Don't try to grow Orchid Tree outdoors in New York.
8. Plant maturity and health. A well-established plant with developed root system has more chances to survive cold. If a plant had a good change to develop during warm season (bright light, enough water, fertilizer), it will be more cold hardy. Healthy plant can withstand lower temperature, so proper nutrition is important, including micro-element applications. Large specimens, even ultra-tropical, may survive cooler winter than they normally do in their natural habitat. The Nature provided plants with better hardiness level than it is normally used. To boost plant immune system and improve cold tolerance even more, use SUNSHINE plant boosters. SUNSHINE-T - thermo-protection booster, is specially formulated for winter protection of tropical plants. To improve cold hardiness, spray 1-2 days prior to cold with 5 ml/1 gal solution and continue applications with 2.5 ml/1 gal solution every 10-15 days throughout winter period.
9. Gradual temperature decrease is less dangerous than a sudden drop since it gives a plant a chance to adjust. One sudden freeze in December with prior warm fall may create more damage than a gradual temperature adjustment. If it starts to get cold early in the Fall, plants slow down their metabolism, and the new tender growth won't get hurt later in winter, since the plants are "expecting" the cold.
10. Do not fertilize plants during cool months. Not only because they don't need much food beyond growing season, but also because fertilizer (especially Nitrogen) encourages rapid tender growth that will be damaged by cold and this will stress the whole plant.

Stay warm!

October 15 - COME TO OUR OCTOBER FEST!
25% OFF ALL PLANTS at TopTropicals nursery
13890 Orange River Blvd, Ft Myers, FL

October 15, 2016, Saturday. 10am - 3pm.
- Pest Control and ID (11am and 1pm)
- Propagation Demonstration (12pm)
- Garden tours throughout the day
- Edible Landscaping
- Preparing for cold and SUNSHINE boosters presentation
- FREE Pots
- FREE Plants!
- 25% off ALL inventory at the nursery!
- Kid Friendly Activities
- Coffee and donuts

Turn your backyard into a tropical paradise of flowers and fruit! We have hundreds of fruit trees including avocados, mangoes, lychees, sapodillas, sapote, wax jambu, and much more. Our exotic flowers range from brightly flowering shrubs to trees so fragrant they are used in perfume companies.

13890 Orange River Blvd, Ft Myers, FL
We hope to see you there!

October 15 - COME TO OUR OCTOBER FEST!
25% OFF ALL PLANTS at TopTropicals nursery
13890 Orange River Blvd, Ft Myers, FL

October 15, 2016, Saturday. 10am - 3pm.
- Pest Control and ID (11am and 1pm)
- Propagation Demonstration (12pm)
- Garden tours throughout the day
- Edible Landscaping
- Preparing for cold and SUNSHINE boosters presentation
- FREE Pots
- FREE Plants!
- 25% off ALL inventory at the nursery!
- Kid Friendly Activities
- Coffee and donuts

Turn your backyard into a tropical paradise of flowers and fruit! We have hundreds of fruit trees including avocados, mangoes, lychees, sapodillas, sapote, wax jambu, and much more. Our exotic flowers range from brightly flowering shrubs to trees so fragrant they are used in perfume companies.

13890 Orange River Blvd, Ft Myers, FL
We hope to see you there!

Checklist - preparing for winter in subtropical areas.
Watering. Start reducing the amount you water your plants in early fall, once the temperature drops below 65¦deg;F. Avoid watering your plants during cool nights, as this may cause serious root rot.
Mulch. When a plant is protected by a thick layer of mulch, the root system stays healthy.
No Pruning. Avoid pruning, trimming, or pinching branch tips altogether during the fall and winter which encourages new shoots that are soft, tender, and very cold sensitive.
No Fertilizer. Avoid fertilizers during the winter. The main reason being the same as above for pruning: fertilizing promotes growth of the upper plant parts which should be avoided during the winter months.

Time to clean your yard!
In the South. It's getting cooler in subtropical areas, and garden work becomes even more enjoyable. Your garden now is in the most perfect shape after summer vigorous growth. It is the best time now to run the last trim before winter, as well as last fertilizer application. Clean up your yard without sweating off, add mulch to help plants to survive through possible winter chills. Don't forget to start reducing watering! Remember once temperatures drop below 65F, tropical plants slow down or stop growing and go into winter dormancy sleep.

Up North. When temperatures drop below 45¦deg;F, start bringing sensitive plants indoors or into protected areas. Prepare/cover greenhouse, check availability of covers (sheets, plastic) and condition of heaters. Plants indoors will experience environment change, may drop leaves, and need different care than out in the sun. Reduce watering, check for insects once a week, and stop fertilizing until spring. Remember to pick the brightest spots for overwintering your tropical plants!

Enjoy cooler weather, fresh air, and thank yourself for a wonderful work you have done in your yard!

Scorpio Zodiac lucky plants

Scorpio - 10/23-11/21. A WATER sign ruled by both Mars and Pluto.
Scorpio's plants are often found in remote places or on poor ground. They will likely have thorns, can be red in color, and grow under adversity. The good news is, most of these plants are nearly indestructible! This makes them desirable for every gardener.
The reproductive organs are ruled by Scorpio, so these are plants that balance the hormones, regulate the menstrual cycle, help with childbirth and pregnancy. Until this century, Scorpio was ruled by Mars, and the herbs associated with it had to do with the urogenital system and the colon. Many of the herbs related to Scorpio are cleansing and revitalizing. Now, astrologers assign Scorpio to Pluto, discovered in 1930 (Pluto is said by astrologers to be a higher octave of Mars). Physiologically, Scorpio involves the processes of catabolism and anabolism, the death and regeneration of body cells. Diseases of Scorpio are often involved with the slow buildup of toxic substances in the body (carcinogens, etc) or in the mind (anger, jealousy). Scorpio loves a spice with depth and complexity. Camphor Basil adds rich flavor to every dish it seasons, and its own aphrodisiac tendencies appeal to Scorpio's lusty nature.

Scorpio Zodiac lucky plants: Ceiba, Baobab, Pistachio, Nutmeg, Black-eyed Susan Thunbergia, Combretums, Dragon fruit, Medinilla, Camphor Basil, Cuban Oregano, Vanilla orchid, Hibiscus, Various cacti and succulents, Adenium, Honeysuckle, Peppers, Cordyline, Spider plant, Jasmine, Gooseberries, Wild indigo, Bougainvillea, Aloe vera, Raspberry, Palmetto, Horseradish tree, Camphor, Allspice and Bay Rum, Jujube, Sweet Mimosa, Agave, Milkweed, Hong Kong Orchid Tree, Pony Tail, Dwarf Poinciana, Bottlebrushes, Clusias, Crocosmia, Zig-Zag Cactus, Dracaena, Fire Bush, Hoyas, Jatropha, Kalanchoe, Sausage tree, Devils Backbone, Pereskia, Red Plumeria, Firecracker, Rattlebox, Rhoeo, Calendula, Geranium, Thistles, Mint, Sage, Catnip, Coriander, Sandalwood, Ginseng, Euphorbias, Acacias.

For other signs information, see full Plant Horoscope.

Overwintering Adeniums outside of tropics

Q: We bought several adenium plants from you. We are moving to the Denver area of Colorado. How can we make sure the plants survive? Should we use a green house?

A: Adeniums are perfect container plants, and house plants. They can be easily grown outside of tropical climate. During winter, Adeniums drop leaves and go into dormancy which makes it easy to keep these plants in a dormant stage in a warm location of your house, or possibly even in well-lit spot of garage (with a window), with temperatures above 50-60F.
Here in South Florida, during time of cold, when chances of freeze are high, we move our own Adenium collection into lanai, with plastic sheet protection around lanai.

In colder climates, Adeniums can be kept indoors as house plants during winter. There are some requirements/tips for you:

  • Temperature. Move Adeniums indoors when temperature starts dropping below 45F.
  • SUNSHINE. Use SUNSHINE boosters to improve cold resistance of Adeniums, and essure healthy plant throughout winter. SUNSHINE-BC formula is specifically designed for plants with caudex, and bonsai.
  • Water. Reduce watering to minimum, especially when plants drop leaves - this means they went into dormancy. Once a week light watering is enough. Water very carefully during cooler months. When it is hot (85-100F), excessive water usually won't harm adeniums: it will be partially used by a plant, and partially will evaporate. Especially be careful with water when temperatures drop below 65F - then tropical plants simply stop growing process and go dormant. Once adeniums start losing leaves, this is a sign to reduce watering to once a week to once a month, and in very small quantity (couple tablespoons per pot).
  • Light. Bright light is not necessary, but do not keep them in dark either, even if all leaves dropped. Good light is necessary to maintain healthy stems and caudex. Keep in mind, the less light, the less watering too. Ideal spot is a windowsill, however if your space is limited and all windows occupied by other "leafy" plants, location close to window will be enough as long as watering is reduced, to avoid rot. We keep our big collection specimens on a roofed porch during winter, where level of light is very low. Last winter we haven't lost a single plant due to low light. They take shade pretty well considering minimum or no water. However bright light is always better - it creates healthier environment for a plant. We all know about space limitations for our large collections, especially in winter. So if you can afford a bright spot for adenium during winter - the plant will be lucky!
  • Soil. Use only well drained mix with much higher content of perlite than you would use for most tropical plants. For adeniums, we use mix with 30-40% of perlite in it, while regular mix has 10-15%. Adeniums like alkaline soil, unlike most of tropical plants (hard to say what else likes alkaline... Ficus for sure!). This means, regular mix with high content of peat moss may cause root rot. To increase alkalinity, you may add dolomite. Here in Florida where we have natural supply of shell rock handy, it is easy to add some shell to a potting mix (shell sand, rather than quartz sand). We always add a few large shells on top of a pots with a big specimen. Besides increasing soil pH (making it more alkaline), shells look very decorative.
  • Fertilizer. No fertilizer until Spring when plants start showing new growth and new leaves.
  • Move your Adeniums outside in Spring, when chances of freeze are zero. More sunlight and air circulation is beneficial for breaking the dormancy and providing plants with a quick growth start.

Devil Flowers - Bat Lilies - for Halloween!

Tacca. Growing Tacca is a great way to have an unusual flower or novelty plant, both indoors and out. Tacca is an exotic plant with flowers that mimic a bat in flight, deep purple (or white), with ruffled wings and long, hanging filaments. Curious, bat-like inflorescence both in shape and color, with wide spreading, wing-like bracts of rich maroon-black (some varieties have white flowers), accompanied by long trailing filaments or "whiskers"; the small black flowers are succeeded by heavy berries; corrugated olive-green leaves with oblique base surround the bloom... Those in warm areas can learn how to grow the beautiful and unique bat flower outdoors. In more seasonal areas, bat flower info says the plant and frilly flower grows vigorously indoors when it is happy with the conditions.

How to Grow Bat Flower. Growing bat flowers requires a little extra care, but blossoms of this unusual specialty plant makes it worthwhile. Large plants usually have a greater rate of success than smaller ones. Keep your bat flower away from cold temps and away from direct sun. When growing this plant outside, plant it in the shade. Care of bat flower indoors will include a shady location as well, and yearly repotting for the rapidly growing plant. This plant does not like to be root bounded. Pot up until reaching a 10- or 12-inch pot; after that, trim the roots and return to the same size pot, if desired. Well-drained soil is a must when growing Tacca bat flowers and should remain slightly moist. Soil should be light and retain moisture but never allowed to get soggy. Our special potting mix will work best for this plant.
The plant should be allowed to dry out during dormancy. Keep this in mind during its time of rest, in fall and winter. In warmer areas, bat flowers reportedly do not experience a dormant period. Fertilize monthly or every six weeks with a slow-release plant food.
For improving cold hardiness in winter, and heat tolerance in summer, apply SUNSHINE-E booster once a month. Tacca, as well as most plants with large lush foliage, responds well to such treatments, the plant will look greener, healthier, and bloom more readily.

Black Tacca and White Tacca, as well as Tacca seeds are available from our store.

SUNSHINE boosters for small and large gardens

Q: I tried your magic SUNSHINE booster on my Champaca tree and results were amazing. The tree was having a hard time establishing after shipping and didn't want to grow, losing leaves. I almost lost it. Then I sprayed SUNSHINE booster and right after the first application the plant perked up and new leaves grew within a week. Now I want to use this stuff on all my plants. I am a plant collector, with a few hundred pots and almost a hundred plants in the ground, living in California. I wonder if you have bigger size bottles of SUNSHINE so I can use on my flowering plants, and fruit trees, to promote blooming and fruiting. And another question, how often should I spray my plants? Your instructions say once in 20 days, should I spray more often for better results? Should I water through roots too? Do I still need to fertilize plants or SUNSHINE will be enough for their health?

A: Great news! We just added new SUNSHINE items to our store, 50 ml and 100 ml - bigger bottles, they will be great for small and big gardens, as well as small plant nurseries and plant businesses. It is a good idea to start bi-weekly applications to improve your plants tolerance during winter time to cold and low light, especially when it comes to house plants. SUNSHINE improves plant resistance to insects which is a big deal during winter, when we bring tropical species indoors.
SUNSHINE is indeed a wonderful plant stimulant and stress reliever, although it is not a "magic-cure-all" medicine where one can't find its active ingredient. The hormone (epibrassinolide) is well-known and used in different countries along with other hormones for promote growth, fruiting, blooming, rooting, etc. One of the most amazing properties of SUNSHINE is that it works in extremely low dozes. Only a few drops will be enough to make a solution in distilled water, to treat a large size plant. If you want to try it out, one 5 ml bottle will last for several applications.
The formula works through plant metabolism within 2-4 days, repeat application not sooner than in one week. The formula is created for absorption through foliage, not roots, so do not try to water with solution. Plants should be evenly sprayed in clear windless day. Do not spray if rain is expected. Re-spray if it rains within 12 hours.
Remember that SUNSHINE is not a fertilizer and won't replace it. You have to apply fertilizer (except during winter months) and micro-element solution to keep your plants healthy.
See more information about SUNSHINE boosters, and buy them from our store.

Voting Day Sale

TopTropicals Poll. Remember to vote! Make sure your voice is heard this election.

We decided to make our own poll. Please support your candidate by participating in our Voting Day Sale. Use the coupon representing your candidate and show your commitment to the candidate. We will compare our own poll results with actual voting results!
Below are red/blue collections of colors for each major party supporter. And green color for people who simply support green!

Use these coupons:

For discounts 10% off, 15% off and 20% off on orders $100, $150 and $200 accordingly (not including S&H), enter these codes in your shopping cart and click "recalculate". Our usual 5% over $100 is on top of that.

TRUMP10, TRUMP15, TRUMP20
CLINTON10, CLINTON15, CLINTON20
VOTE10, VOTE15, VOTE20 - for undecided and other candidate voters.


Offer expires midnight on Tuesday, November 8.

Veterans Day Discounts

Post-election stress relief. Our next president has been elected, and no matter who you voted for, it has been some stressful days for all of us. Everybody deserved a good relaxation and peace, it's time to plant some flowers! Get to gardening - the best therapy ever! With our generous new arrivals of rare plants, we are offering special discounts to honor our veterans.

Thank you Veterans! Remember those who served, this Friday, 11/11, Veterans day! With respect and gratitude, shake the hand of any Vet you see and say thank you. Celebrate this day with flowers, beauty and peace.

For discounts 10% off, 15% off and 20% off on orders $100, $150 and $200 accordingly (not including S&H), enter these codes in your shopping cart and click "recalculate". Our usual 5% over $100 is on top of that.

VETERAN10, VETERAN15, VETERAN20

Offer expires midnight on Sunday, November 13.

SUNSHINE in a bottle - your help during winter

Q: I have been using your new plant hormone SUNSHINE for plants after shipping, and I must admit it does make a big difference! They recover right away. I order plants online very often, and usually it takes up to a week or more until they start showing new growth. After SUNSHINE treatments, they look fresh within a day or two. My question would be, for improving cold tolerance, what do you recommend? I live in Florida and it is still warm here, should I start spraying my garden now or should I wait until cold spells?

A: SUNSHINE is very effective plant stimulant that helps tropical plants survive different kinds of stress, including cold, heat, drought, low light, etc. At TopTropicals gardens and nursery, we have been using this hormone for many years to protect our plants from unfavorable conditions, and it saved us many rare tender species, and lots of money!
The sooner in Fall you start treatments, the better. Don't wait until cold spell. SUNSHINE works slowly and in very low doses. The mechanism is actually about boosting, building up the plant's own immune system. Low doses once a week, even every other week will work just fine, so you will need very little of the product. For less than $5 you can help expensive rare plants to go through winter painlessly. Recommended application is only 2.5 ml/1 gal of water, to spray every 1-2 weeks throughout winter period.

Start spraying your plants with SUNSHINE now, to help them survive short winter days, build up insect resistance (especially for plants indoors), and what is most important, to remain strong through lower temperatures. These are our suggestions:

- SUNSHINE-T - thermo-protection booster. It is specially formulated for winter protection of tropical plants. To improve cold hardiness even more, spray 1-2 days prior to cold with 5 ml/1 gal solution and after that, continue applications with 2.5 ml/1 gal solution every 10-15 days throughout winter period.
- For large plant collections, and in-ground gardens in subtropical areas, take advantage of very cost effective bulk items 50 ml and 100 ml bottles of SUNSHINE.
- Don't forget that SUNSHINE is only a stimulant, and not a plant food. While regular fertilizer should be avoided during winter months, it is always beneficial to apply microelements through foliar spray. During cooler period, chances of chlorosis increase, because at low temperatures iron is difficult so absorb by roots especially in moist soil, hence iron deficiency! Our new Iron supplement SUNSHINE-Super-Iron microelement booster will help to avoid yellowing leaves and to maintain your plants strong and healthy during slow growth period. Ultra-potent, highly absorbable iron mix, with chelated Iron with DTPA (instead of usual EDTA) that is better soluble in hard water and more effective for chlorosis. This mix contains both EDTA + DTPA chelated iron in higher concentration than regular micro-elements mixes.

See all SUNSHINE booster products in our store. For advanced information on SUNSHINE plant boosters, history of use, formulation, and frequently asked questions, visit our manufacturer's website TTLaboratories.com.

Best plants suitable for containers. Check out our large selection of plants that are easily grown in containers. This week only, 20% off!

SUNSHINE in a bottle - your help during winter

Q: I have been using your new plant hormone SUNSHINE for plants after shipping, and I must admit it does make a big difference! They recover right away. I order plants online very often, and usually it takes up to a week or more until they start showing new growth. After SUNSHINE treatments, they look fresh within a day or two. My question would be, for improving cold tolerance, what do you recommend? I live in Florida and it is still warm here, should I start spraying my garden now or should I wait until cold spells?

A: SUNSHINE is very effective plant stimulant that helps tropical plants survive different kinds of stress, including cold, heat, drought, low light, etc. At TopTropicals gardens and nursery, we have been using this hormone for many years to protect our plants from unfavorable conditions, and it saved us many rare tender species, and lots of money!
The sooner in Fall you start treatments, the better. Don't wait until cold spell. SUNSHINE works slowly and in very low doses. The mechanism is actually about boosting, building up the plant's own immune system. Low doses once a week, even every other week will work just fine, so you will need very little of the product. For less than $5 you can help expensive rare plants to go through winter painlessly. Recommended application is only 2.5 ml/1 gal of water, to spray every 1-2 weeks throughout winter period.

Start spraying your plants with SUNSHINE now, to help them survive short winter days, build up insect resistance (especially for plants indoors), and what is most important, to remain strong through lower temperatures. These are our suggestions:

- SUNSHINE-T - thermo-protection booster. It is specially formulated for winter protection of tropical plants. To improve cold hardiness even more, spray 1-2 days prior to cold with 5 ml/1 gal solution and after that, continue applications with 2.5 ml/1 gal solution every 10-15 days throughout winter period.
- For large plant collections, and in-ground gardens in subtropical areas, take advantage of very cost effective bulk items 50 ml and 100 ml bottles of SUNSHINE.
- Don't forget that SUNSHINE is only a stimulant, and not a plant food. While regular fertilizer should be avoided during winter months, it is always beneficial to apply microelements through foliar spray. During cooler period, chances of chlorosis increase, because at low temperatures iron is difficult so absorb by roots especially in moist soil, hence iron deficiency! Our new Iron supplement SUNSHINE-Super-Iron microelement booster will help to avoid yellowing leaves and to maintain your plants strong and healthy during slow growth period. Ultra-potent, highly absorbable iron mix, with chelated Iron with DTPA (instead of usual EDTA) that is better soluble in hard water and more effective for chlorosis. This mix contains both EDTA + DTPA chelated iron in higher concentration than regular micro-elements mixes.

See all SUNSHINE booster products in our store. For advanced information on SUNSHINE plant boosters, history of use, formulation, and frequently asked questions, visit our manufacturer's website TTLaboratories.com.

Best plants suitable for containers. Check out our large selection of plants that are easily grown in containers. This week only, 20% off!

Happy Holiday Season!

WINTER COMING TIPS. As the weather gets cooler, many of you move your potted tropical plants indoors. Please remember:

1. Lower air humidity, lower light and short day may cause some LEAF DROP. This is normal for seasonal environment change.

2. REDICE WATERING as winter coming. Under lower light and in cooler temperature, plants won't need much water; some plants go dormant and only need minimum water. Excess water may damage roots and kill a plant in winter.

3. NO FERTILIZER in winter. Active growth stops. Let the plant to go into dormancy or simply have a rest.

4. Watch for INSECTS by inspecting leaves regularly. They may attack plants more likely in the indoor conditions.

5. Apply SUNSHINE boosters to protect your plants from cold by boosting their immune system, vogor and cold tolerance. STAY WARM!

20% off sale ending soon! Check out our large selection of plants that are easily grown in containers. This week only, 20% off!

Growing tropical fruit trees in containers in winter

Q: Please give me your advice. The winter is here. I bought mango tree, jackfruit tree, sugar apple tree and planned them for spring. What can I do to keep them no frost bite? My home in Bonifay FL.

A: In subtropical areas with occasional hard freeze in winter, we recommend you to keep tropical plants in pots. The plants you purchase are tender to frost. For cold protection, container growing has several advantages:
1) easy to move into wind-protected and sun-exposed locations as needed: for example, on a different side of the house. In many areas, seasonal prevailing winds have opposite directions in Summer and Winter.
2) easy to cover with frost cloth, sheets, or blankets in case of immediate cold spells. Container plants' growth is easier to control and trim, and those plants naturally stay more compact.
3) easy to move indoors, inside garage, or in covered lanai/patio.
We also recommend to keep these trees in their original pots until Spring, in containers size of the rootball. Step them up in Spring, when plants start active growth of root system. This will help you to avoid root rot due to possible overwatering in Winter. Reduce watering in any case, and keep your plants in bright, wind-protected spot. Do not fertilize until Spring. Protect from cold when night temperature drops below 35-40F.

Use SUNSHINE plant boosters to provide additional cold tolerance.

Cold protection is a lengthy subject. You may also use propane heaters during cold nights. Here is some more information on cold protection.

Black Friday starts Wednesday! Use this discount code in your shopping cart from Wednesday through end of Friday. Enter THANKS2016 in your shopping cart for 20% off on all plants and seeds from our store - no minimum order! Offer is not valid for previous purchases

Growing tropical fruit trees in containers in winter

Q: Please give me your advice. The winter is here. I bought mango tree, jackfruit tree, sugar apple tree and planned them for spring. What can I do to keep them no frost bite? My home in Bonifay FL.

A: In subtropical areas with occasional hard freeze in winter, we recommend you to keep tropical plants in pots. The plants you purchase are tender to frost. For cold protection, container growing has several advantages:
1) easy to move into wind-protected and sun-exposed locations as needed: for example, on a different side of the house. In many areas, seasonal prevailing winds have opposite directions in Summer and Winter.
2) easy to cover with frost cloth, sheets, or blankets in case of immediate cold spells. Container plants' growth is easier to control and trim, and those plants naturally stay more compact.
3) easy to move indoors, inside garage, or in covered lanai/patio.
We also recommend to keep these trees in their original pots until Spring, in containers size of the rootball. Step them up in Spring, when plants start active growth of root system. This will help you to avoid root rot due to possible overwatering in Winter. Reduce watering in any case, and keep your plants in bright, wind-protected spot. Do not fertilize until Spring. Protect from cold when night temperature drops below 35-40F.

Use SUNSHINE plant boosters to provide additional cold tolerance.

Cold protection is a lengthy subject. You may also use propane heaters during cold nights. Here is some more information on cold protection.

Black Friday starts Wednesday! Use this discount code in your shopping cart from Wednesday through end of Friday. Enter THANKS2016 in your shopping cart for 20% off on all plants and seeds from our store - no minimum order! Offer is not valid for previous purchases

December Fest on Dec 10, mark your calendars!

Topic: Edible landscape. 10:00am - 2:00pm. Agenda:

Class @ 11:00am by Robert Riefer. How to keep pests off of maturing fruit.
Class @12:00pm Super foods by Zoe Merring. Benefits of Soursop, barbados cherry, goji, moringa. Benefits and recipes.

Discounts on all edibles
Prize giveaways at 12:00pm and 2:00pm (must be present to win)

20% off After-Cyber-Monday sale! Now that everybody is done with shopping for monitors and speakers, it is time to get some happy stuff! 20% off on all fruit trees, 1 day only! Enjoy your shopping and get the plants you always wanted at a low price!

Sagittarius Zodiac lucky plants

Sagittarius - 11/22 - 12/21. Sagittarius is a FIRE sign that is ruled by the large and optimistic planet Jupiter.
Archer's plants tend to be large in size and fairly conspicuous, with a pleasant odor. They may have large, or elongated leathery leaves and showy flowers.
The best plants for Sagittarius will support the body’s largest glandular organ, the liver. The planet Jupiter also rules the hips, thighs, lower spine, and the autonomic nervous system, as well as the process of growth and preservation. Herbs related to Jupiter have traditionally been used to treat lower back problems (including sciatica and lumbago), arthritis, and rheumatism. Herbs with a high silica content are related to Sagittarius (they promote a positive frame of mind), as are plants with large taproots and trees that produce fruit and nuts. Illnesses of Jupiter are said to arise from immoderate consumption. Basil is an herb that's both expansive and cheerful - just like Sagittarius - and its reputation as a money attractor resonates with this sign's generous nature as well. Use this happy herb when you want to infuse your life with fun and prosperity!

Sagittarius Zodiac lucky plants: Mulberry, Ceiba, Chonemorpha, Beaumontia, Baobab, Grapefruit, Anise, Sage, Cinnamon, Blueberry, Thistles, Nut trees, Lemon, all Ficus trees, Peepal, Fig, Coleus, Basil, Banana, Mango, Ironwood Mesua ferrea, Clematis, Peony, Jasmine, Nutmeg, Mint, Tea, Date palm, Guava, Jambul, Maple, Magnolia, Teak, Bird of Paradise, Heliconia, Showy Gingers.

For other signs information, see full Plant Horoscope.

Soursops fruiting in Virginia?!

Amazing news - from our customer in Virginia. Not only his ultra tropical plants survive - they thrive, producing multiple fruit in only 2 years despite living in a climate with freezing winter temperatures.

We always like to think of our plants as a challenge. We continually push ourselves to collect, grow and propagate the rarest of the rare. Seeds, plants, and cuttings are ordered from all over the world and continue to challenge us with finicky temperature, humidity, and watering demands.

Naturally, we also get many customers from cooler zones asking which plants they can grow. The answer is any of them! As long as you can give them the requirements they need. Continue reading...

Soursops fruiting in Virginia?!



Amazing news - from our customer in Virginia. Not only his ultra tropical plants survive - they thrive, producing multiple fruit in only 2 years despite living in a climate with freezing winter temperatures.

We always like to think of our plants as a challenge. We continually push ourselves to collect, grow and propagate the rarest of the rare. Seeds, plants, and cuttings are ordered from all over the world and continue to challenge us with finicky temperature, humidity, and watering demands.

Naturally, we also get many customers from cooler zones asking which plants they can grow. The answer is any of them! As long as you can give them the requirements they need. Continue reading...


Holiday Best Gift suggestions and discounts!

Don't forget December Fest on Saturday Dec 10! 10:00am - 2:00pm. Join us at biggest sale of the year and customer appreciation fest! Topic: Edible landscape. Agenda:
Class @ 11:00am by Robert Riefer. How to keep pests off of maturing fruit.
Class @12:00pm Super foods by Zoe Merring. Benefits of Soursop, barbados cherry, goji, moringa. Benefits and recipes.
Prize giveaways at 12:00pm and 2:00pm
20 % discount on all plants for local customers. Snacks and drinks! Free stuff!

Best Gift suggestions


Best present - Bonus Gift Certificate - with holiday 20% discount! This offer is good til end of 12/25/2016

4 reasons why you need a gift certificate:

1) It has no expiration date;
2) Gardeners know what they want, let them make a choice;
3) Plants can be ordered in spring;
4) Your present won't be late because of possible weather-related delays.

Gift Plants that always work the best:
- Jasmine Sambac - everyone's favorite
- Lady of The Night - fragrant at night, shade tolerant and easy indoors
- Allspice - instant super spice
- Bay Rum - famous cologne fragrance plant
- Mango Cogshall - dwarf and compact, can be grown by anyone in any space
- Cordyline - indestructible showy bright foliage, great for every holiday

Special Holiday discounts for online shopping.
XMAS15 - for 15% off on orders $100 and more
XMAS20 - for 20% off on orders $150 and more
XMAS25 - for 25% off on orders $200 and more
Codes valid through Christmas day, Dec 25. Excluding S/H

SUNSHINE in a Bottle

SUNSHINE-H - plant booster for house plants specially formulated for plants grown indoors:
- protect from insects and improve disease resistance,
- improve tolerance of indoor plants to low light, and low humidity conditions;
- maintain healthy dormancy of seasonal species and help to rapidly break dormancy in Spring.



Directions:Mix with distilled water as follows: 2.5 ml to 1 gal. Spray traditional house plants - once in 2 weeks, tropical plants overwintering indoors, including woody ornamentals and potted fruit trees - once a week, leafy herbaceous perennials - once a month.

SUNSHINE in a Bottle - effective plant stimulant from new line of plant boosters, the representative of a new generation of agricultural chemicals. Developed by TT Laboratories LLC and designed specifically for applications on tropical plants. Can be used as well on seeds, seedlings, and small vegetable plants (completely organic and safe). It is proved to be a magic growth promoter, improves cold hardiness and heat tolerance of tropical plants.
,br> See page about SUNSHINE.

Order SUNSHINE boosters.

Dont forget Special Holiday discounts:
XMAS15 - for 15% off on orders $100 and more
XMAS20 - for 20% off on orders $150 and more
XMAS25 - for 25% off on orders $200 and more
Codes valid through Christmas day, Dec 25. Excluding S/H

Update on SUNSHINE in a Bottle

Photos of our experiments. These tomato seedlings potted 4 weeks ago, and batch on the right treated with standard recommended dose of SUNSHINEâ„¢ twice (within one week period). They are setting buds and flowers, while untreated plants (batch on the left) have much slower growth rate and are still far from flowering.
See TTLaboratories website and order SUNSHINE boosters.

Don't forget, this week only, Special Holiday discounts:
XMAS15 - for 15% off on orders $100 and more
XMAS20 - for 20% off on orders $150 and more
XMAS25 - for 25% off on orders $200 and more
Codes valid through Christmas day, Dec 25. Excluding S/H

Capricorn Zodiac lucky plants

Capricorn - 12/22 - 1/19. An EARTH sign ruled by the planet Saturn. Capricorn's plants usually have few flowers, or small flowers, are knobby or woody, and may have an unpleasant smell or taste. Saturn rules plants with long lives and slow growth, so plants with annual rings are also associated with the Goat.
Physiologically, Saturn rules the systems that give the body its structure and form: the skeletal system, and the skin, teeth, joints, and knees, so plants that are high in calcium can be very beneficial. Those can be woody plants and shrubs that show annual rings, as well as some poisonous or narcotic plants. Saturn plants are useful in treating arthritis and rheumatism. Traditional Capricorn appreciates a spice that is powerful but familiar. Black pepper adds flavor and a bit of heat to both food and life, creating movement without too much change.

Capricorn Zodiac lucky plants: Baobab, Peach Palm, Patchouli, Bamboo, Cordyline, Spider Lily, Serissa, Desert Rose, Croton, Aloe, Palms, Giraffe knee plant - Gonatopus boivinii, Adenanthera, Black Pepper, Solanums, Loquat, Aglaonema, Jacaranda, Rosemary, Shisham - Dalbergia sissoo, Neem Tree, Calendula, Brugmansia, Cannabis, Coca, Kava-Kava, Root Beer plant, Kratom, Banesteriopsis, Psychotria, Quince, Almonds, Ginkgo, Olive, Strophanthus, Bread Flower, Amorphophallus, Areca Palm, Anadenanthera, all Pipers, Brunfelsia, Chaya, Persimmons, Surinam Cherry, Bel Fruit, Ashoka Tree, Calla Lily.

For other signs information, see full Plant Horoscope.

Only 2 days left! Special Holiday discounts:
XMAS15 - for 15% off on orders $100 and more
XMAS20 - for 20% off on orders $150 and more
XMAS25 - for 25% off on orders $200 and more
Codes valid through Christmas day, Dec 25. Excluding S/H

New Video: SUNSHINE Plant Boosters

TT Laboratories presents: SUNSHINE In A Bottle!

Check out this video: SUNSHINE In A Bottle


SUNSHINE is a new generation of a plant booster, formulated specifically for tropical plants. SUNSHINE intention and direction is towards the general health of the plant and boosting its immune system; helping plant to recover from stress, increase flower and fruit production, improve cold hardiness, disease resistance, seed germination and much more!
TTLaboratories is offering the following products:
- SUNSHINE E - for general applications, stress relief and growth boosting
- SUNSHINE T (Thermo) - for better cold tolerance
- SUNSHINE BC - for bonsai and caudex
- SUNSHINE S - for seeds germination
- SUNSHINE H - for house plants
All of the SUNSHINE products come in an easy to use dropper for small to large application use.

Get some SUNSHINE!...

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6 easiest fruit trees and 5 spices to grow in containers indoors

Q: This is why I want to move so that I can grow absolutely anything I want from your catalogue. Prefered Puerto Rico. Right now I live in New York and there is absolutely nothing I can grow there.

A: Of course living in Puerto Rico brings more opportunities to grow tropical species. However, you can create your unique tropical paradise even living in New York. We have many customers from up North who successfully grow tropical species (and get them to flower and fruit) in greenhouses, and even indoors.
Here are a few suggestions of tropical fruit trees that adapt well for container/indoor culture - for both beginners and advanced gardeners.

Top 6 fruit trees great for indoors / container culture / beginners
1. Mango (Mangifera indica). Select from one of smaller mango varieties
2. Sugar Apple (Annona squamosa)
3. Guanabana, Soursop (Annona muricata)
4. Miracle Fruit (Synsepalum dulcificum)
5. June Plum (Spondias cytherea)
6. Guava (Psidium guajava)

5 top spice plants (the spice will be with you right away, you don't have to wait for it to grow)
1. Allspice (Pimenta dioica)
2. Cinnamomon or Campor tree
3. Bay Leaf (Laurus nobilis)
4. Mint Tree (Satureja vimenea)
5. Vanilla orchid (Vanilla planifolia)

See a brief article of growing tropicals outside of tropics.

Don't forget to get some SUNSHINE boosters for your plant collection - for both successful indoor culture and cold protection!

See also our magazine Tropical Treasures

New Video: Coffee plant

Top Tropicals Showcase: Coffee plant.

Check out this video: Top Tropicals Showcase: Coffee plant

Most people drink coffee every day but not all of them realize where this delicious drink comes from. It comes from a Coffee tree!
Coffee is the best gift plant and perfect container fruit tree. It grows into a beautiful dark green shrub or small tree. Coffee tree prefers filtered light which makes this plant a perfect house plant.
The white, fragrant, star-shaped flowers are clustered and resemble gardenias to which they are related. The whole fruit is edible, it is a small fleshy berry changing in color from green to yellow to red. The seeds are the actual "coffee beans" as they called, and can easily be dried, roasted and ground at home. The most common coffee is Coffea arabica; related species are Coffea robusta (Robusta Coffee) and Coffea liberica (Liberian Coffee).

Get a Coffee tree and it will keep you happy with the favorite beverage at all times!
Enjoy this video and your morning coffee.



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January kaleidoscope: Top Tropicals plants... and cats

Plants in Winter

Q:
My plants Mango and Sapodilla (I got from Top Tropicals) got cold frost recently up to the roots recently in a cold wave in NJ. The leaves are dry. The plant was kept in a green house. But the heater was off for a night. During that time the in the pot got frozen. Will the plants survive? Will they come back during spring?

A: Unfortunately, the chances are slim. It is hard to determine now if they will survive. Those plants can take a very short cold. They might survive when the root system was not frozen solid. To ensure your plants cold protection in the future, this is what we recommend:
1) Use temperature alarm. Nowadays they're very cheap, they can send a message to your email or cell phone.
3) Heaters like any other piece of machinery may fail. Redundancy is the keyword. Instead of one large heater use two of smaller capacity. If one fails, then second one will prevent catastrophic failure
4) Insulation. Extra layer of insulation helps greatly.
5) If you leave for vacation, then plan ahead. Have somebody to watch over your greenhouse. Move plants or at least the most sensitive ones inside of your house if possible.

Meet Top Tropicals Team. Part 1 - PeopleCats! Did you know that here at Top Tropicals we care not only about plants, but also animals? Most of our PeopleCats and PeopleDogs either came to us from nowhere in hope of survival, or have been rescued. TopTropicals is proud to support all of our People. A portion of every dollar you spend on a plant purchase goes to our Cat Community maintenance, food and other needs of these Little People. We will keep you updated with more pictures and videos on our PeopleCats (that also includes one dog Bob). They all are members of our Team, helping us to grow plants for you, pack them and send to you from our Shipping Department. Visit our Facebook, YouTube Channel and LIKE all of our People!

Check out this video: Top Tropicals PeopleCats

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

10 plants that can make you happy.
3D garden ideas.

3D garden ideas.
Q:
Can you make my yard bigger and prevent it from freezing?

A: Yes, we can make your backyard bigger by adding a 3rd dimension - trees as a upper level, shrubs as a second level, vines in between, low growing perennials below them. Add ground covers and potted plants as separate specimens in between in-ground planted trees and shrubs. One more separate dimension is orchids and other epiphytes that happily grow on the trees. This multi-level structure will allow you not only collect so many plants, but also maintain them in a natural environment, similar to how they grow in a wild.

As far as preventing from freezing - it depends. You can use greenhouse, cover plants, create microclimate under large canopies, etc. Some tropical plants are tolerant to light frost, once established. If it gets below freezing in your area for more than a few hours, and especially if you have numerous nights with frost throughout winter, we recommend to keep plants in pots (BTW, this way you save space and can collect even more!). Pots can be moved to protected area during cold nights. The more established the tree, the more chances to survive colder temperatures. You may also use propane heaters during cold nights.
We also use plant booster SUNSHINE boosters to increase plants cold tolerance.
Cold protection is a lengthy subject. Here is some more information on cold protection. Also, we recommend to check out our magazine Tropical Treasures (about pushing the limits of tropical gardening) for a detailed article on cold protection.
These are specific articles on Zone-Pushing in different issue #s regarding dealing with cold. See downloadable issues:
(#1) Growing Tropicals in Nontropical Climate, Three Freezing Nights in Southwest Florida
(#2) Temperature drops - an alert or a rehearsal?
(#5) Dealing with cold snaps, Cold hardy beauties
(#7) When winter is around the corner, Growing exotic Cordyline in colder climate
(#8) When the weather outside is frightful
(#9) Winter champions
(#11) Ready-for-winter checklist for in-ground plants
(#13) Winter checklist
(#18) Dealing with cold damaged plants
You may also order hard copies.
If temperatures drop below freezing in your area, remember to add Heat Pack to your order!

 

10 plants that will make you happy.

Everyone wants to be happy. Did you know that growing plants is not only fun but can also make you happy? In our new series we will introduce to you 10 plants for your tropical collection that will make you happy.
Visit our Facebook, YouTube Channel and stay happy!

Check out this video: 10 plants that will make you happy. Plant # 1 - Rose Apple.

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

Growing a coconut palm

Q: I love your Facebook section "ask the Gardener"! I received a coconut palm from a neighbor four years ago. It sprouted naturally from seed. We moved it to a location where it gets morning/ early afternoon sun in my yard. It hasn't grown. No, really. I've fertilized it, water it, what gives?! It puts out new green leaves every so often to replace old brown ones, but never gets any vertical height changes. I'm stumped!

A: It could be a few things and it could also be the type of coconut you are growing. Cocos nucifera is the only type of palm tree that produces coconuts. Within this species, however, there are dozens of different varieties of coconuts. The different varieties are usually divided into two main types: tall and dwarf. If it is only getting water when it rains, it does need more water. There could also be a problem with the PH in your soil. Most garden centers will be able to test your soil and let you know what it is missing. It could also be a micro-elements deficiency. We do have a micro-elements mix you can find at Toptropicals.com. Micro-elements are not always found in regular fertilizer.

Aquarius Zodiac lucky plants

Aquarius - 1/22 - 2/18. Aquarius is an AIR sign ruled by odd-ball Uranus.
The water-bearer's plants will often grow in unusual places and may vary in appearance. They often have purple or blue flowers, or may have unusual colors.
The most healing and beneficial plants for Aquarius are the ones that help circulation, relax the nervous system, or promote inspiration. When Uranus was discovered, it replaced Mercury as ruler of Aquarius. Physiologically, Uranus rules the bioelectrical impulses that power the body’s nervous system (nervous tension and nervous exhaustion brought on by powerful changes in the environment are related to both Mercury and Uranus). Physically, Aquarius rules the lower legs, the calves, and the ankles, and the electrical impulses that travel through the body’s nervous system. The nervous system itself is ruled by Mercury, and Uranus is said to be a "higher octave" of Mercury. Since Uranus was discovered after the correspondences with plants had been established, the herbs used in Aquarius are Mercury herbs. Always difficult to pinpoint, quirky Aquarius appreciates the unusual and complex flavor of star anise. Use this star-shaped spice when you wish to bring happy surprises into your life.

Aquarius Zodiac lucky plants: Anise, Orchid, Golden rain - Koelreuteria paniculata, Bird of Paradise, Heliconia, Petrea, Mandevilla, Jasminum, Kiwi, Persimmon, Loquat, Olive, Alocasia, Colocasia, Citrus, Apple, Peppers, Gingers, Carambola, herbs spicy with an unusual flavor, White Pothos, Ivy, Shami - Prosopis cineraria, Neem, Medinilla, Sheesham Tree, Catnip, Passion fruit, Valerian, Aloe, Myrrh, Kava-kava, Cinnamon, Clove, Eucalyptus, Coffee, Cola nut, Nepenthes, Vanilla Orchid, Strongylodon - Jade vine, Tacca - Bat Lily, Eranthemums, Agapanthus, Orchid trees, Bolusanthus, Chamaedorea metallica, Clerodendrum ugandense, Clitoria, Duranta, Guaiacum, Jacaranda, Lavanda.

For other signs information, see full Plant Horoscope.

New Video: TopTropicals at TPIE show in Ft Lauderdale. Last week, your friends at Top Tropicals attended the 2017 Tropical Plant International Expo in sunny Ft. Lauderdale Florida. The Expo was an opportunity for Top Tropicals to introduce our SUNSHINE in a Bottle plant boosters as well as to bring a very rare plant Enchanted Incense to the tropical plant market!

Check out this video: TopTropicals at TPIE.

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

Plants of Love. TopTropicals Webinars

Plants of Love - Valentines Day Sale. For Valentines day, look beyond roses for a plant that will last a lifetime! It is not a surprise that the most popular plants that has been ordered from TopTropicals for Valentines day for the past 3 years, are: Vanilla, Chocolate, Grape, Strawberry tree, Rose apple - all things you get for your Valentines!

This year we are celebrating Valentines day with our special local event - "Aphrodisiacs, or Plants of Love".

When: Saturday, February 11, 2017, from 10 am to 2 pm
Where: Toptropicals Garden Center, 13890 Orange River Blvd, Ft Myers, FL 33905
Agenda:
10:00 am - Explore the grounds: Customers can come in to look through the nursery and guided tours through gardens.
12:00 pm - Aphrodisiac plants. Class on plants used for aphrodisiacs throughout history.
1:00 pm - Plant giveaway. Must be present to win one of the aphrodisiac plants in lecture.
2:00 pm - sale ends.
Special Love Discounts for local visitors! Snacks and drinks.

Just a few examples of the most famous plants of love that we will be talking about -
Coffea arabica - in East Africa and Arabia it was a sacred beverage to African sufis. For aphrodisiac results mix in cardamom and honey.
Banisteriopsis caapi, Ayahuasca - giant liana from tropical Amazon forests psychedelic, ritual inebriant that promotes potency. Drink is made from the bark and is taken in love rituals to revive the mythical past of the tribe.
Areca catechu, Betel Nut - seeds have stimulating effect on the entire body and eros. It’s a traditional aphrodosiac in Ayurvedic medicine and is counted among the eight types of pleasure in the Brahmanic tradition. It has magical and religious properties and used as an offering to the Gods.
Theobroma cacao, Chocolate - mild stimulant, beans contain aphrodisiac. Antient Indian "recipe of chocolati" will be shared at the event! Cocoa was considered the "food of gods".
Cinnamon - in Southern Asia used as stimulant, in food or massage oil for erotic stimulation.
Cola nitida, Cola nut - used in love magic, was used as currency in W Africa.
Cananga odorata, Ylang-Ylang - increases eroticism with oil inhaled. Prescribed to treat impotency and frigidity.
Butea monosperma, Flame of The Forest - is traditionally used to manage male sexual disorders.
Mimosa pudica, Sensitive Plant - significantly increases the libido and hormonal levels of testosterone.
Satureja Viminea, Kama Sutra Mint Tree - used for love gel...
- and much more!

TopTropicals Webinars. Welcome to Top Tropicals Webinar! Discover the world of Rare Plants and surround yourself with a Tropical Paradise! Our plant experts will be answering your garden questions. Our next LIVE air time is just before Valentines Day - Saturday February 11, at 2 pm ET, with a topic of... of course, Aphrodisiac Plants! Get your questions ready!

Groundhog Day Feb 2

On Groundhog Day Feb 2: Groundhog Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow on Thursday morning, predicting six more weeks of winter during Groundhog Day festivities at Gobbler's Knob, a small hill just outside Phil's hometown.
According to folklore, if it is cloudy when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day, then the spring season will come soon; if it is sunny, the groundhog will supposedly see its shadow and retreat back into its den, and winter weather will persist for six more weeks.
Phil promised long winter, however, we should not cry in despair but starting to get ready for Spring!

Spring Check List:
- Make sure min temperatures are above 45F before you start bringing potted plants outside.
- When active new growth appears from buds, after-winter pruning can be done.
- You may start weekly fertilizing as soon as night temperatures raise above 55F.
- Start planting in the ground as soon as there are no more chances of frost, until then keep newly arrived plants in pots so they get better established.
- Low chill cold hardy fruit trees including Peaches, Nectarines, Plums, Apples, Mulberry, Loquats go in the ground first, so you can enjoy their blooms and early fruit set. Plant Pomegranates, blueberries and cranberries, raspberries and blackberries, grapes.
- Water as needed, still keeping on dry side until afternoons get hot and plants start using more water.
- Start seeds indoors. The sooner the better, to give seedlings more time to establish before planting out in the ground.

Overwintering Magnolia (Michelia)

Michelia alba Question: I have a question about Michelia alba. My Michelia alba leaves turning yellow and losing leaves. When I brought it inside for the winter, after the leaves falling off new one grow back not all of them grow back and now the new the branches start to die. I water once a week.

A: Whenever moving a plant in or out of the home it is always best to do it gradually. Moving a plant all in one day will cause stress to the plant due to environmental changes such as, new humidity levels, new light levels and new watering requirements. Michelias usually loose their leaves once in the spring and once before winter but grow them back right away. Now that your plant is inside with less humidity, light and leaves, you only need to water once the soil as almost dried out. You will need to stick your finger in the soil to see if it is still wet as the top layer dries before the under layer. If the branches are starting to die at the tips this usually means too much water. Move the plant to a bright light window, decrease water and you may want to also use a humidifier.

After Super Bowl Sale

Chill out and relax by planting a tree! We just watched the most exciting Super Bowl ever... What a game! It was the greatest comeback in Super Bowl in history. Now it is time to let Top Tropicals help give your garden a great comeback too. Relax, have some peaceful happy time, and nothing can be better than planting a tree!

The best tree ever, by many features is a Mango tree. Here at least 5 reasons why:
1. Mango tree is good for beginners since it has low maintenance requirements, including low water needs.
2. Mango tree is easy to ship.
3. Mango tree is a great present.
4. Mango tree is a rewarding fruit tree that will produce fruit for you the same or next year - all our varieties are grafted and ready to bloom.
5. Mango tree produces the most delicious fruit in the world. The sweetest, flavorful, fiberless varieties can be only tasted from home gardens - they simply are not available from grocery stores due to transportation reasons (only fiborous low quality fruit can be safely shipped and stored).

Take advantage of this generous 25% off offer and get yourself a mango tree:
- Dwarf varieties, "Condo" mangoes, great for containers: Carrie, Cogshall, Ice Cream, Julie, Lancetilla, Lemon Meringue, Mallika, Nam Doc Mai, Pickering.
- Large, fast growing, vigorous trees that will quickly create shade and comfort in your garden: Bailey's Marvel, East Indian, Haden, Jakarta, Philippine, Southern Blush, Valencia Pride.
- Exotic collectibles that are hard to find and almost nobody has, be a proud owner of delicious exotic flavors: Alampur Baneshan, Alphonso, Choc Anon (Miracle), Heidi, Maha Chinook, Pim Seng Mun.

Happy planting, end enjoy your fruit soon! See all varieties (for backorder items, add to your wishlist and you will be notified when available, very soon!)

Hurry up, WHILE THE STOCK LASTS! Offer is valid 2 days only, and expires February 9. Offer not valid for previous purchases.

New Video. Radio Top Tropicals.

New Video: 10 plants that will make you happy, Plant #2 - Candle Tree.

We continue your series about Ten Plants That Will Make You Happy. Today's story is about Candle Tree... one of the most fascinating ornamental and fruit trees in cultivation. This unusual plant will be a conversation piece of your plant collection. Happy candles will help you to cope with a cold and will definitely make you happy.
Visit our Facebook, YouTube Channel and stay happy!

Check out this video: 10 plants that will make you happy. Plant #2 - Candle Tree.

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

Radio Top Tropicals - every Saturday 11 am! Introducing Radio Top Tropicals. Our first live webcast last Saturday was a success.
The topic was Plants of Love - Aphrodisiacs.

The webcast followed our Valentine's Day local sale.
We are extending this sale for 2 days, from local customers, to those who live in other states. Hurry up and take advantage of this generous 25% off on Plants of Love - Aphrodisiacs! Sale ends end of Valentines day, Tuesday, February 14.

Our next air time: Saturday February 18, at 11 am.
Topic: WEED OR WONDER PLANT?
We will explore plants considered invasive species, or weeds, here in Florida, and reveal interesting and not-so-well-known facts about them. Our Host Robert Riefer - State Certified Crop Adviser, and Weed Specialist - answering all your gardening questions.

Listen to Radio Top Tropicals, every Saturday, at 11 am! You may use our website radio player DURING AIR TIME and see the pictures of plants we are talking about. To ask questions using live chat, you need to log in at Mixlr.com or simply call our office 239-689-5745 during air time!

Check out our upcoming radio shows and get your gardening questions ready!

Our sales, news and updates

Presidents Day Sale Use these discount codes for Presidents Day sale:

PRESIDENT15 - 15% off for orders over $100
PRESIDENT20 - 20% off for orders over $150
PRESIDENT25 - 25% off for orders over $200
Not ready to spend over $100? That's okay, just enter the code TENOFF and save 10% just for being a subscriber to our newsletter!
S&H excluded. Offer is valid through end of Monday, February 20. Discounts can't be applied to previous purchases.

Radio Top Tropicals Live Webcast upcoming event: Saturday February 18, at 11 am EST.
Topic: WEED OR WONDER PLANT?
We will explore plants considered invasive species, or weeds, here in Florida, and reveal interesting and not-so-well-known facts about them.
1) Schinus terebinthifolius - Brazilian Pepper, or Florida Holly. This species is essential for migratory birds, bears, and other critters. Berries are used in China for medicine. Used as a spice in Italy, as well as here in the US.
2) Phyllanthus amarus - Seed on the leaf. A scourge of nurseries, it may yet lead to the cure of Hepatitis B & C.
3) Melaleuca leucophylla - Punk tree, Paper tree. One of the finest trees for raising of epiphytes. Tiger Balm brand ointment is made from these trees. An excellent timber source as well.
Our Host Robert Riefer - Florida State Certified Crop Adviser, and Weed Specialist - answering all your gardening questions.

Listen to Radio Top Tropicals, every Saturday, at 11 am EST! You may use our website radio player DURING AIR TIME and see the pictures of plants we are talking about. To ask questions using live chat, you need to log in at Mixlr.com or simply call our office 239-887-3323 during air time!
If you missed a live webcast, you may listen to recording by following Showreel item link.

Check out our upcoming radio shows and get your gardening questions ready!

New Article: Aphrodisiacs of the plant world.
Last Saturday, the topic of our Webcast was Plants of Love - Aphrodisiacs (click to listen to recording).
Today, we are introducing an article by Kristi, our Meet the Gardener host - Aphrodisiacs of the plant world.

Flowering plant for a front yard

Q: I need your expertise. I had a plant in the front of my house that when I moved in (two years ago) wasn't doing well. It was infested with grasshoppers and snails. I treated it with a pesticide and fertilizer and it flourished. Had beautiful flowerings and was almost the size of the mulch area. Then the property management company hired some terrible grass cutters that I believed destroyed it. I would come home and find the red mulch and leaves from the plant all over the front lawn. And since then it has gone down hill. I am attaching a picture. As of now the larger of the remaining two trunks (out of six that were there) is falling over and it doesn't seem to be doing well. So I was wondering if you can recommend a nice plant that I can replace this one with. Nothing extravagant but nice enough to fill in that area. Also since I only lease here don't want to get to pricey either. Thanks for any advice and plants you have.

A: The plant you have is called Spider Lily. It is one of the easiest landscape plants that doesn't require much care and is great for low maintenance yards. In your case, besides possible damage from the grass cutter, looks like the plant is very old judging by the thick woody stem. It is not a bad idea to replace it with something more pretty rather than trying to baby it. Other suggestions for this location would be something easy and low maintenance, especially if you don't have reliable sprinkler system in that area of your yard and don't want to spend time hand-watering with a house:
Sweet mimosa - grows into very large bush, Pony tail, Dwarf poinciana, Powderpuff, Clusia, Devils backbone (smaller bush 3 ft tall), Cordyline, Ti leaf - these are very colorful.
There are more low maintenance plants you can chose from.
And always remember that traditional "landscapers" that only mow grass, may not be experts on plants. You may always call TopTropicals Garden Doctor and get professional help with keeping your plants healthy. We are always here to help your garden!

Presidents Day Sale. Remember to use discount codes of Presidents Day sale, only one day left!

PRESIDENT15 - 15% off for orders over $100
PRESIDENT20 - 20% off for orders over $150
PRESIDENT25 - 25% off for orders over $200
Not ready to spend over $100? That's okay, just enter the code TENOFF and save 10% just for being a subscriber to our newsletter!
S&H excluded. Offer is valid through end of Monday, February 20. Discounts can't be applied to previous purchases.

TopTropicals news, sales and updates

Extended sale 15% off on all fruit trees! Take advantage of our "Spring is coming!" fruit tree sale extension 15% off on all fruit trees and spices, including mango new exclusive varieties. No minimum order required. Hurry up, sale extension ends on Saturday, Feb 25.

Radio Top Tropicals Live Webcast upcoming event: Saturday February 25, at 11 am EST.
Topic: GROW YOUR OWN! DUDE!
1) Herbs, both annual and perennial.
2) Fruit trees.
3) Foods once thought to be only ornamental.
Our Host Robert Riefer - Internationally Certified Crop Adviser - answering all your questions.

Listen to Radio Top Tropicals, every Saturday, at 11 am EST! You may use our website radio player DURING AIR TIME and see the pictures of plants we are talking about. To ask questions using live chat, you need to log in at Mixlr.com or simply call our office 239-887-3323 during air time!
If you missed a live webcast, you may listen to recording by following Showreel item link.

Check out our upcoming radio shows and get your gardening questions ready!

Pisces Zodiac lucky plants

Pisces- 2/19 - 3/20. As a WATER sign ruled by both Jupiter and Moon (and Neptune, that was not discovered until 1846, after the plant correspondences were established; Neptune is considered a "higher octave" of the Moon), Pisces plants are often large but hard to find, and may grow near the ocean. The most healing plants for Pisces are those that strengthen the immune system or have an antibacterial effect. Pisces plants may also catalyze expanded states of awareness and be helpful in dream work.
Herbs connected to Pisces are ruled by its former ruler, the Moon (Neptune, the current ruler, was not discovered until 1846, after the plant correspondences were established; Neptune is considered a “higher octave” of the Moon). Diseases of Pisces have traditionally included psychotic disorders, various forms of substance addiction, lung diseases such as tuberculosis, and ailments of the foot; contemporary herbalists also add immune system diseases. Pisces is strengthened by rosemary's ability to promote an aura of centered grounding. This protective herb helps strengthen boundaries and cultivate a closer connection to the physical realm.

Pisces Zodiac lucky plants: Water lily, Lotus, Clematis, Wisteria, Lisianthus, Brunfelsia, Echinacea, English Lavender, Rosemary, Coconut palm, Cranberry, Clove, Coccoloba, Sea Oats, Mangroves, Ochrosia, Aquatic plants, Colocasia, Alocasia, Aralia, Ficus trees, Banyan, Peepal, Banana, Mango, Mimosa, Olive, Anise, Vilca and Yopo, Kava-kava, Nutmeg, Anthuriums, Eucalyptus, Bauhinia, Clusia, Caesalpinia, Callistemon, Bucida, Cassia fistula, Cordia, Calabash, Lipstick palm , Delonix, Elaeocarpus, Erythrina, Fatsia, Guaiacum, Mahoe, Koelreuteria, Kopsia, Macaranga, Pandanus, Peltophorum, Psychotria,Banesteriopsis, Tabebuia.



For links to these plants and other signs information, see full Plant Horoscope.

Taking care of Guanabana (Soursop) after shipping

Q: Since I have never grown a soursop tree before I need some pro help. My tree was delivered absolutely beautiful, leaves were a pretty green. I potted it and gave it a good drink of water and put it in a shaded area outside. Then the weather here became cool so I brought it in for a few days until the weather warmed, and it lost all the leaves. Is it in shock and will come around eventually? Will I be able to grow this tree indoors during winter?

A: Soursop - Annona muricata trees are very sensitive to temperature drops. This always causes leaf loss. You seem to be doing everything right. Do not water until soil gets slightly dry; keep it in bright shade. The weather should be good now with high temperatures and humidity rising. No fertilizer until the plant shows active new growth. Be patient with your plant, it should recover soon.

Soursop is an ultra-tropical tree and doesn't take any freeze. If you live in cooler climate, keep the plant in a pot (the good news is, Annonas in general have compact nature and are perfect for container culture). Bring the tree indoors during cold period, providing bright light.

Remember that grafted trees start flowering and producing fruit right away, unlike seedlings of Soursop that may take a few years till fruiting.

We have very interesting article about growing and fruiting Soursop in apartment. Check out Tropical Treasures Magazine #7.

Up to 25% off on all green plants!

St Patricks Day Lucky Sale: Enter discount codes in shopping cart:
LUCKY15 - for 15% off on orders over $150
LUCKY20 - for 20% off on orders over $200
LUCKY25 - for 25% off on orders over $250
Not ready to spend $150? That's okay, just enter the code TENOFF and save 10% just for being a subscriber to our newsletter!
Excluding S&H. Not valid for previous purchases. Offer expires midnight Friday, March 17.

Q: Can you recommend a plant that brings a good luck?

A: On St Patricks Day, they talk about lucky clover. But did you know that your odds of finding a 4-leaf clover are about 1 in 10,000? There is a much better solution - try beautiful Crown of thorns - Euphorbia millii, exotic hybrids from Thailand. They are the easiest plants to grow, drought tolerant, and everyblooming. Chinese grow them as plants of fortune. When the plant produces 8 flowers in an inflorescence, they will be lucky. We see 8-flower blooms in our garden all the time, how lucky we are! So stick with us and get lucky.

Condo Mango

Q: I was curious about indoor fruiting mango trees. I live in upstate New York and was thinking about trying to grow an indoor tree for fruit. I have a small heated greenhouse. Is there a variety that can be grown from seed that would suit my purposes and if not what is the most economical way I could obtain a cutting or small grafted plant? I keep my greenhouse around 60F in the winter and have no supplemental lighting. Are there any varieties that may work in a sunroom or other well lit indoor location?

A: There are many dwarf varieties of mango suitable for container culture. They are called "condo mangoes".
The most popular condo varieties are: Carrie, Cogshall, Cushman, Fairchild, Graham, Ice Cream, Julie , Mallika, Nam Doc Mai, Pickering. You may read more about them in our online catalog. You may also look into variety Lancetilla which is also a compact tree, and produces one of the biggest size fruit, up to 5 pounds. If you want some rare variety that hardly anyone else has - try Baptiste, an exotic Haitian dessert mango.

Your greenhouse should work for the winter time. Mango trees can take as low as mid 40s during winter and even lower as long as that cold is occasional. If you keep the temperature around 60, this should work well for over wintering. Just make sure to reduce watering to a minimum, because cool temperatures, low light and wet soil - is a bad combination for tropical plants, especially for mango trees which prefer to be kept on a dry side.

Many indoor gardeners have fruiting mango trees in their collection. However, keep in mind that the most important requirement for a mango is full sun. While you may over winter the plant for a few months in a low light conditions, in order for it to flower and produce fruit it needs lots of light. If moving the tree into full sun your yard during the summer is possible, this would be the best solution.

We always recommend SUNSHINE boosters for both over wintering tropical plants in colder climates, and for indoor gardening. SUNSHINE applications will help your tree to cope with cool temperatures and low light conditions. This will also dramatically increase flowering and fruiting performance. Another important factor for keeping your container plant healthy is quality of your potting soil. We offer a special professional mix that contains lots of good stuff: coconut fiber, peat moss, pine bark, and perlite. Fertilizing potted plants is also very important during the warm season, because this is the only way for them to get nutrients (which in the ground can be reached by spreading root system).

As far as seedlings vs. grafting - the only way to have a nicely fruiting mango tree is to plant a grafted variety. Seedlings start producing only after 8-15 years, and the quality of such fruit may be questionable. Only grafted plants can guarantee the desired taste of a variety. Besides, grafted mangoes start producing immediately - you may see fruit forming on plants as small as 3 ft, in 3 gal containers. However, during the first 1-2 years you will need to remove extra fruit and leave only 1-2 fruit so the plant doesn't get exhausted and has enough energy to establish strong root system.

For fun stories about growing mango, check out our Radio Show recording YO Tango Mango!

Radio Top Tropicals Live Webcast upcoming event: Saturday March 25, at 11 am EST.
Topic: You need a brown thumb TO BE A GREAT GROWER!Manure, Sheeeeeee........it , Fertilizer, What ever you call it. Proper understanding of nutrient plant needs will give YOU great returns. At Top Tropicals, we know our Sheee..... uh, fertilizer. Our Host Robert Riefer - Internationally Certified Crop Adviser and Weed Scientist - answering all your gardening questions.

Listen to Radio Top Tropicals, every Saturday, at 11 am EST! You may use our website radio player DURING AIR TIME. To ask questions using live chat, you need to log in at Mixlr.com or simply call our office 239-887-3323 during air time!
If you missed a live webcast, you may listen to recording by following Showreel item link.

Check out our upcoming radio shows and get your gardening questions ready!

Aries Zodiac lucky plants

Aries - 3/21-4/19. Aries is a FIRE sign ruled by the planet Mars. Plants associated with this element and planet very often have thorns or prickles. They can be also spicy or bitter in flavor, or red in color. Because Aries rules the head, eyes and face, the plants for Aries purify the blood, stimulate the adrenal glands, and/or are high in iron (Mars rules the mineral iron). Mars-ruled Aries is assertive, energetic and fearless. Mars rules the red blood cells, the muscles, and metabolic processes, as well as the motor nerves and the head. These plants help you when you want more get-up-and-go and the courage to take on the world.

Aries Zodiac lucky plants: Governors plum, Hibiscus Karkade, Tapioca, Mamey Sapote, Ruda, Baobab, Euphorbia, Acanthus, Aloe, Caesalpinia, Erythrina, Opuntia, Dragon Fruit, Pachypodium, Pomegranate,Chilli peppers, Syngonium, Begonia, Geranium, Red Sandalwood, Jamiaca pepper (Pimenta, Allspice), Camphor, Jujube, Anise, Red Roses, Tiger Lily, Impatiens, Calendula, Tarragon, Ginger, Coriander, Basil,Ruda, Amaryllis, Wild Indigo, Gooseberries, Sesbania, Campsis, Red Oleander, Maple, Schotia brachypetala, Momordica, Coffee, Amla , Ephedra, Red Kapok.

For links to these plants and other signs information, see full Plant Horoscope.

Radio TT secret discount code

Radio Top Tropicals Live Webcast upcoming event: Saturday April 22, at 11 am EST.
Topic: Eat me! Discussing lack of fresh fruits and vegetables in diet. Herbivore=Plants, Carnivore=Meat, Technovore=Pre-processed, synthetic, MANUFACTURED food. Soylent Green Anyone? Our Host Robert Riefer - Internationally Certified Crop Adviser and Weed Scientist - answering all your gardening questions.

Watch for Discount code for shopping at TopTropicals.com - during first 15 min of the webcast!
For the special secret code for 20% off - listen to this radio show. We will give the code within the first 15 minutes of the webcast!

Listen to Radio Top Tropicals, every Saturday, at 11 am EST! You may use our website radio player DURING AIR TIME. To ask questions using live chat, you need to log in at Mixlr.com or simply call our office 239-887-3323 during air time!
If you missed a live webcast, you may listen to recording by following Showreel item link.

Check out our upcoming radio shows and get your gardening questions ready!

Remember EXTRA BONUSES:
FREE Slow Release Fertilizer with any order $150+
FREE SUNSHINE Booster with any order $200+

Taurus Zodiac lucky plants

Taurus - 4/20-5/20. Taurus is an EARTH sign ruled by the planet Venus.
Venus is the planet that represents desire and beauty, regarded as the female embodiment of sexual love and human appetite, so Taurus plants often have gorgeous flowers and enticing fragrances and, occasionally, red fruit. It rules the internal sexual organs, the nose and sense of smell.
Because Taurus rules the throat and ears, the best plants for the Bull are often soothing to the throat, or may calm the digestive system after overindulging in the finest foods. Taurus is related to those things we want and value. It harmonizes various body systems, and influences the complexion and facial appearance. Also under Venus’s dominion are the abdomen, kidney, thymus, and breasts. Venus-governed herbs are soothing and help to regulate the body’s metabolism through the endocrine system (see Libra). Taurus herbs are traditionally used to attract money and resources. Earthy Taurus sign is all about building a stable and comfortable foundation and can help you generate greater abundance and prosperity in your life.

Taurus Zodiac lucky plants: Aglaia, Cananga odorata (Ylang-Ylang), Artabotrys (Climbing Ylang-Ylang), Cerbera, Night blooming jasmine, Chonemorpha, Erblichia, Euodia, Hiptage, Iboza (Musk Bush), Anise, Lavender, Lonchocarpus Lilac Tree, Nutmeg, Parijat, Camphor Basil, Osmanthus, Funeral tree, Quisqualis, Satureja (Kama Sutra Mint Tree), Viburnum, Carissa, Murraya, Curry Leaf, Bunchosia (Peanut butter fruit), Eucalyptus, Lily, Vitex agnus castus (Blue Chaste Tree), Alstonia scholaris (Sapthaparni), Papaya, Maple, Jasmine, Guaiacum, Camellia, Ephedra, Fuchsia, Geranium, Spider lily, Gardenia, Magnolia, Plumeria, Paeonia, Verbena, Clerodendrums, Apple, Pear, Apricot, Peach, Plantain, Olive, Grape, Pomegranate, Mango, Neem Tree, Cherry, Cypresses, all Berries, Raspberry, Asparagus, Mint, Clove, Roses, Stagshorn fern, Catnip.

For links to these plants and other signs information, see full Plant Horoscope.

Secrets of flowering of Jasmine Sambac

Q: Q: My Jasmine sambac Maid of Orleans is growing very fast and produced lots of branches and dark green leaves, when will I see flowers? I only saw 2 or 3 flowers since since Spring. I is planted by East wall of the house. Should I use some special fertilizer perhaps?

A: Jasmine sambac is a tropical bush or vine that enjoys hot summers. Since it tolerates wide range of light conditions, it can be grown both in shade or sun; this is why it is highly recommended for indoor culture where light level is limited. Remember though that profuse blooming directly depends on the light level. Your Eastern exposure location may not be providing enough light for the flowering. Dark green leaves are also a sign of a filtered light sitution. Extra fertilizing may not help to induce flowering if the light is low, although it is always beneficial for a plant (it may just start producing even more leaves and branches). The ideal conditions for Sambac's flowering are - full sun all day long, high temperatures (upper 80's-90's, even over 100F is fine), and very good drainage. Some gardeners call Jasmine sambac "almost a succulent", referring to its low watering needs. To be exact, this plant requires regular watering, but will produce lots of flowers only providing perfect drainage. You may never see flowers if the plant has wet feet or water-logging occurs. If your summers are rainy (like in Florida), make sure your jasmine is planted with at least 4-5" elevation and not in a low/wet spot.

See Top Tropicals Video about jasmine Sambac: Jasminum Sambac, Absolute Flower - varieties, history and use.

Mothers Day Sale

Mothers Day Sale at TopTropicals Garden Center - Saturday May 13, 10 am - 2 pm:
Come to our Annual Mothers Day Grand Sale at TopTropicals Garden Center!
- Discounts for local customers on flowering and fruiting plants
- 25% discounts for Mothers on all inventory!
- Special 25% off on rare plants: Pink Floss Tree, Banana Magnolia, Blue Butterfly Clerodendrum, and Sweet Bay Magnolia
- Food and drinks
- Free plants with a purchase, free pots, free feertilizer samples and SUNSHINE booster

Mothers Day Online Discounts, hurry up, only 2 days left!
MOTHERS15 - 15% for orders over $100 (excluding S&H)
MOTHERS20 - 20% for orders over $200 (excluding S&H)
Can't be combined with any other offers.
Not valid for past purchases.
Offer is valid through Sunday, Mothers Day May 14, 2017.

Gift Certificate:
Live Plant is the Best Gift! Still looking for Holiday gift ideas? Want to make a special present for a loved one? Show how much you care. A Tropical Plant can become a special gift.
Buy Top Tropicals gift certificate! It will be 15% larger face value!
For example:
- buy $100 gift certificate, we'll issue a $115 gift certificate;
- buy $200 gift certificate, it will be of $230 value.
The gift certificate will be emailed to you. Buy a Gift Certificate here. The promotion is valid through Mothers Day May 14, 2017.

Radio Top Tropicals Live Webcast upcoming event: Saturday May 13, at 11 am EST.
Topic: Weeds like to help! Discusses Weed Science; particularly how such methods as cultivation, proper watering, and proper horticultural techniques can help to control weeds. Our Host Robert Riefer - Internationally Certified Crop Adviser and Weed Scientist - answering all your gardening questions.
Listen to Radio Top Tropicals, every Saturday, at 11 am EST! You may use our website radio player DURING AIR TIME. To ask questions using live chat, you need to log in at Mixlr.com or simply call our office 239-887-3323 during air time!
If you missed a live webcast, you may listen to recording by following Showreel item link.
Check out our upcoming radio shows and get your gardening questions ready!

Forget the gym and get to gardening?

Fun workout? We never have enough time to go to the gym or do an exercise so it’s good to know that just doing something that you love can give you a workout. We all know that when we are out in the garden it gives us a bit of exercise but we do not realize how much exactly. Research says that three hours of gardening can have the same effect as an intense 1-hour gym session. The study was carried out with a group of 100 gardeners who were asked to monitor the amount of time spent doing a series of common gardening tasks over a four week period. Gardening tasks that were monitored included weeding, digging, mowing the lawn, hedge trimming, trimming shrubs and trees, raking, planting shrubs, and moving garden waste using a wheel barrow. Here are some facts and numbers:
- Just doing half an hour weeding can burn up to 150 calories and tasks that handle heavy electrical equipment such as hedge trimming will give you a good workout burning 400 calories per hour.
- Spending a day or five hours each week in the garden will burn up to around 700 calories
- Over a gardening season that works out at 20,000 calories per year, equivalent to running seven marathons
- The gardening hobby could help burn a million calories over a lifetime.

Calories burned with only 1 hour of:
340 cal - Chopping wood, splitting logs, gardening with heavy power tools, tilling a garden, chain saw. Mowing lawn, walk, hand mower. Shoveling by hand.
272 cal - Carrying, loading or stacking wood, loading/unloading or carrying lumber, digging, spading, filling garden, composting, laying crushed rock or sod. Clearing land, hauling branches, wheelbarrow chores.
238 cal - Operating blower, walking. Planting seedlings, shrubs, trees, trimming shrubs or trees, manual cutter. Weeding, cultivating garden.
224 cal - Raking lawn, sacking grass and leaves
136 cal - Picking fruit off trees, picking up yard, picking flowers or vegetables. Walking, gathering gardening tools.
102 cal - Walking, applying fertilizer or seeding a lawn
34 cal - Watering lawn or garden, standing or walking

Radio Top Tropicals Live Webcast upcoming event: Saturday May 20, at 11 am EST.
Topic: Come Ride My Peninsula! Discusses the REAL Florida. Our plants, the Everglades, how all of the wonderful plants Top Tropicals has to offer are grown in South Florida. Our Host Robert Riefer - Internationally Certified Crop Adviser and Weed Scientist - answering all your gardening questions.
Listen to Radio Top Tropicals, every Saturday, at 11 am EST! You may use our website radio player DURING AIR TIME. To ask questions using live chat, you need to log in at Mixlr.com or simply call our office 239-887-3323 during air time!
If you missed a live webcast, you may listen to recording by following Showreel item link.
Check out our upcoming radio shows and get your gardening questions ready!

Mothers Day Sale

Mothers Day Sale at TopTropicals Garden Center - Saturday May 13, 10 am - 2 pm:
Come to our Annual Mothers Day Grand Sale at TopTropicals Garden Center!
- Discounts for local customers on flowering and fruiting plants
- 25% discounts for Mothers on all inventory!
- Special 25% off on rare plants: Pink Floss Tree, Banana Magnolia, Blue Butterfly Clerodendrum, and Sweet Bay Magnolia
- Food and drinks
- Free plants with a purchase, free pots, free feertilizer samples and SUNSHINE booster

Mothers Day Online Discounts, hurry up, only 2 days left!
MOTHERS15 - 15% for orders over $100 (excluding S&H)
MOTHERS20 - 20% for orders over $200 (excluding S&H)
Can't be combined with any other offers.
Not valid for past purchases.
Offer is valid through Sunday, Mothers Day May 14, 2017.

Gift Certificate:
Live Plant is the Best Gift! Still looking for Holiday gift ideas? Want to make a special present for a loved one? Show how much you care. A Tropical Plant can become a special gift.
Buy Top Tropicals gift certificate! It will be 15% larger face value!
For example:
- buy $100 gift certificate, we'll issue a $115 gift certificate;
- buy $200 gift certificate, it will be of $230 value.
The gift certificate will be emailed to you. Buy a Gift Certificate here. The promotion is valid through Mothers Day May 14, 2017.

Radio Top Tropicals Live Webcast upcoming event: Saturday May 13, at 11 am EST.
Topic: Weeds like to help! Discusses Weed Science; particularly how such methods as cultivation, proper watering, and proper horticultural techniques can help to control weeds. Our Host Robert Riefer - Internationally Certified Crop Adviser and Weed Scientist - answering all your gardening questions.
Listen to Radio Top Tropicals, every Saturday, at 11 am EST! You may use our website radio player DURING AIR TIME. To ask questions using live chat, you need to log in at Mixlr.com or simply call our office 239-887-3323 during air time!
If you missed a live webcast, you may listen to recording by following Showreel item link.
Check out our upcoming radio shows and get your gardening questions ready!

Wounded Warrior Project donation

Thanks to your memorial day orders! In honor of the memory of fallen brothers and sisters in battle, Top Tropicals sent a substantial donation of 5% of Memorial Day Promotion sales to Wounded Warrior Project. Reference ID: 43810379. Thank you everybody for your orders and participation!

Gemini Zodiac lucky plants

Gemini - 5/21-6/20. Ruled by the mutable, changeable planet Mercury (also patron of the art of medicine), Gemini is an AIR sign. Plants ruled by Mercury tend to have ferny or highly-divided leaves or stems (like the bronchi of lungs), hairy or fuzzy leaves (related to the cilia in the lungs), or subtle odors.

Gemini rules the lungs, shoulders, arms, and hands. Its plants help to strengthen the lungs and respiratory system, relax the nervous system, strengthen ears and hearing, the tongue and speaking, the vocal cords, lungs and thyroid, as well as the shoulders, arms, and hands. Gemini has so much going on mentally that they may need a little help to digest all the information they're constantly absorbing. Herbs that have clean, pure flavor not only help physical digestion, but assist spiritual and mental intake as well.

Gemini Zodiac lucky plants: Ferns, Blechnum, Tree ferns and Cyatheas, Fern Tree, Aralias, Jackfruit and Breadfruit, Paulownia, Anthurium, Philodendron, Philadelphus, Clerodendrums, Anise, Lavender, Myrtle, Nut trees, Macadamia, Ficus, Piggyback plant - Tolmiea menziesii, Aloe vera, Fig , Honeysuckle, Azalea, Mint Tree Satureja, Vitex, Ironwood, Mulberry, Osmoxylon, Acalypha, Allamanda, Aphelandra, Iboza, Ruda, Kiwi, Caesalpinia, Cyphomandra, Monstera, Kalanchoe , Magnolia, Oregano, Ocimum, Naranjilla, Zamia, Delionix, Acacias, Calliandra, Patchoili, Palms, Geranium, Grevillea, Eucalyptus.

For other signs information, see full Plant Horoscope.