Hurricane Wilma @ TopTropicals || switch to Russian

We are the winners!

Perescia aculeata - blooming now

"We are so happy for you that you've got no damage from Wilma!" - say our walk-in customers now. It's been almost 3 weeks after one of the most destructive hurricanes in the US history directly hit Top Troipicals nursery...

We are glad it looks like that. We are proud that our hard work of saving the plants actually worked! The 2 weeks of 12-14 hours daily cleaning and all the preparations the night prior to Wilma made it happen! We survived.

All plants survived and have NO DAMAGE.
All orders are being shipped with almost no delay.
All structures are gone but are being rebuilt.

Malvaviscus sport... Hurricane inspiration?

Only dry oak silhouettes remind us now
about that horrible day...

Our special thanks to those who helped us to recover quickly and get the Top Tropicals up and running in no time. We even do not know names of some of our helpers.

Thank you all and God bless!

Our Special Thanks to the Hurricane Heroes:

Jim Edwards, Jassinda - for helping to secure the plants before the hurricane
Cesar & Olga (TT staff) - for not giving up and continuing their work in extreme conditions
Our son Alex and his friends - for the First chain-saw help
Art and John - for rebuilding first structures
Kenneth and his Crew - for the giant oak trees removal
Andrew, Ryan, David, Justin and friends - for the great help with the cleaning
Karl Lentzer - for the prompt and efficient management assistance while all the previous nursery managers have given up
Galiya Okhapkina (NJ) - for ordering extra generator on Ebay, and company support while we had no power

Yes, we are up and running! The plants look good and happy. Life goes on.

Randia formosa - Blackberry Jam Fruit - fruiting now!

Perescia aculeata (left)
Lippia dulcis (right)

- blooming now! well as many other plants!..

Photo gallery of Wilma @ Top Tropicals

October 24, 2005. During the storm: the roof is coming off...

Hirizontal rain

View this movie
of horizontal rain
(12 Mb)
(right click to save target as)

Scared cats

Morning after...

Getting ready to go see what's left from the Nursery...

Drying clothes

Somebody's external AC unit got loose

Ocean side streets full of sand

Roads are barely passable

Mobile homes pieces along the roads


Most of palms remained intact
except the leaves were gone


FPL on duty


At the Nursery

Skipper Sandwich as a Chief of Security spent the night alone with Wilma.
The Brave Dog met us at the ruined entrance as happy as you can imagine.
We almost passed the "gate" point - the place was hard to recognise. No fence, actually. In flew away with vines on it...

After hurricane some plants were floating in water... We had to save them from root rot and quickly put thousands of pots back on the tables.

The night before Wilma the plants were layed down on the ground under the tables - this helped a lot.

The giant oaks were roots up and their branches scattered all over the nursery on top of plants.

Shadehouse (left) buried under Melaleuca trees

TT office sign

Irrigation system

Mist-house pieces

2 days later...

After raising all plants back on tables, the second important thing was to raise all the signs.

The Platoon Flags were up and flying again!

Except for this one for a while...

Here comes the Help!




Remains of structures.
We were finding the parts miles away.

This generator kept us alive for 2 weeks

Our Chef Cesar

The meal is hot and ready!

Our Stove


A tea-pot and a lap-top computer were ran by the generator. This was all we needed.

Rebuilt new temporary shede houses

Mist house is coming

Skipper deserved his vacation

Top Tropicals office was the only structure that survived. The "Yellow Box" was given to us by Jim Edwards. Thanks, Jim, it is hurricaine proof!


Jim Edwards

5 days after: as if nothing had happened...

Karl Lentzer

Before Wilma

We appreciate our customers' support and faith in TopTropicals during the post-hurricane period.
We will continue bringing more rare tropical beauties into your life. Stay safe!
For Florida residents whose gardens were damaged by hurricane, we offer 30% discount.

More photos of Wilma
More photos

Customers feedback... Thank you for your support!

"...What an example of courage and perseverance in adversity..."

"...It broke my heart to see the pictures of the destruction to the nursery but I have to admit I was truly amazed at how fast you got it back looking like it had barely been touched until you see the before and after pictures. I don't have a large collection of tropical plants, but if there is anything that you had only one of and I have it in my little garden I will be more than happy to send it to you..."

Hurricane-proof plants - what have we learned?

Now that everybody around is replacing the lost trees, let's learn the lesson.

  1. Never plant tall plants close to a house or greenhouse structures.
  2. Try not to chose tall trees with large crown in hurricane areas. The smaller the plant, the easier it resists windbreak. Use more shrubs rather than trees.
  3. Oaks are probably nice, but hey - did you see what happened to them on the photos above? Same thing with large ficus trees. Many of them went down in our area.
  4. All TopTropicals plants proved to be hurricane proof since all of them survived well. :-) Oh well, in pots at least!
  5. When planting in ground, make sure to dig a deep and wide hole to encourage deep and developed root system. Remember rule of lever: the larger the underground part to compare with above-ground, the more chance for the tree to withstand a strong wind.
  6. When planting, chose smaller size plants. Large plants potted in large containers usually are root-bounded, so the root system won't develop properly and deep enough. Read more information about chosing plant size: Does Size Matter?
  7. Plant fragile plants only in wind-proteted areas.
  8. Trim vines short before hurricane.
  9. Trim, trim, trim... If the crown is larger that the rootball - there is a high risk the tree will be upside down.
  10. Trim even more before hurricane season.
  11. If the plant got a wind damage, cut the dried branches to reduce the stress. The leaves and new growth will come back more reliably then.
  12. Lay down all potted plants (if can't bring them indoors) in direction where rootball faces the wind blow.
  13. Remove all plastic, fabric and other materials from greenhouse structures. It's easier and less costy to replace the cover later than to lose the whole structure.
  14. Buy dwarf varieties from TopTropicals! Selected suggestions: