Tropical Style

Hardy Plum Trees

Plum trees are a good addition to the landscape, supplying spring flowers and summer fruit. Self-pollinating plum trees provide fruit if they are implanted separately; others require another number planted nearby for cross-pollination. For colder regions, several varieties are hardy trees that can endure harsh weathernonetheless, if you live in a warm area, you will want to pick one that may tolerate humid temperatures that are warm.

American Plum Trees

The native American plum (Prunus americana) is a hardy plum tree booming in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 9, though it’s been known to rise in zones as cold as USDA zone 3. Growing to heights of 20 feet, the American plum is found wild in thick groupings with branches that spread out and entangle with one another. The tree can live in all soil types and prefers full sun. It produces white flowers in the spring and creamy red or yellow fruit in the summer. Although hardy, the native American plum is not normally the tree of choice due to the slightly smaller fruit size and lack of availability as growing inventory.

American-Japanese Hybrid Plum Trees

Although occasionally contained on the Japanese list of plum trees, hybrid plums change a bit from their complete Asian plum. These hybrid varieties are a mixture of Japanese and American plums and generally well liked by growers, combining the cold hardiness of their American plum using the larger fruit of Asian types. They are usually labeled as Prunus salincia hybrid in their scientific name, to set them apart from other Japanese plum trees. A few of the superior hardy hybrid plums are the “Alderman,” “Toka” and “Superior.” “Superior” (Prunus salicina hybrid “Superior”) grows well in USDA zones 4 through 8 and was developed from the Minnesota University breeding program from the mid-1900s. Developed in 1985 from Minnesota University, “Alderman” (Prunus salicina hybrid “Alderman”) grows in colder climates with a USDA zone range of 3 through 8. Increasing to a maximum height of about 12 feet, this tree does well as an ornamental variety in a backyard setting. “Toka” (Prunus salicina hybrid “Toka”), sometimes referred to as the bubblegum plum, can get as tall as 14 feet and supplies big fruit at USDA zones 4 through 8. Preferring sandy or even clay soil, “Toka” does well in humid locations. To develop fruit on your plum trees, grow more than variety. Most hybrid plum trees will need to develop near other hybrid varieties to be able to pollinate and develop new fruit.

Japanese Plum Trees

Japanese or Oriental plum trees create larger fruit compared to the native American plums; nevertheless, finding one hardy enough to withstand the colder regions can be hard. “Shiro” (Prunus salicina “Shiro”) grows to a height of 20 feet, but comes from dwarf varieties that simply grow to ten feet. Hardy in USDA zones 5 through 9, “Shiro” can also be heat tolerant and creates yellow plums. “Ancient Golden” (Prunus salicina “Ancient Golden”) was released into the U.S. in 1946, produces reddish yellow fruit and grows to a height of approximately 15 feet. Hardy in USDA zones 5 through 10, “Ancient Golden” can also be heat tolerant. “Methley” (Prunus salicina “Methley”) is moderately cold hardy, growing in USDA zones 5 through 8, but is not as heat tolerant. But among Japanese plum trees, “Methley” is among just a few that is self-pollinating.

European Plum Trees

European plum trees are fairly hardy trees, growing in cooler climates, which makes it more difficult to find one that also does as well in warm weather. Most grow best in USDA zones 4 through 8, with some doing better in USDA zones 5 through 8. “Green Gage” (Prunus domestica “Green Gage”) is a special plum using green fruit that grows to a height of about 14 feet; it is hardy in USDA zones 4 through 8. It’s been from the U.S for a while, having been brought over from Europe in the 18th century. “Stanley” (Prunus domestica “Stanley”) plum tree creates a good canning fruit that does well in preserves or dried as prunes. It is hardy in USDA zones 5 through 8 and grows to a height of 15 feet.

See related

Tropical Style

Pheromone Traps for Fruit Trees

One of the basic tenets of organic and sustainable pest control is using organic defenses efficiently, instead of applying synthetic chemical pesticides. Pheromone-based pest traps are utilized to track pest population maturity times in order that the proper therapy can be applied at the ideal moment. In U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 10, most fruit tree insect pests have several breeding cycles annually, since warmer climates encourage prolonged pest activity. Tracking the cycles is a powerful way to decrease pesticide usage and to control costs. You can buy pheromone traps at major garden supply centers or from agricultural providers to assist you monitor the insect pests in your home orchard.

How They Work

Insect traps have been lures. They use bait to attract insects to them, and the secret is to find a bait special to a particular pest control. Pheromone pest traps exploit the Sex attractants given off completely by each species to attract mates. Pheromone lures contain replaceable rubber septa that take the pheromone substances. Lures are applied to the trap, which includes a sticky layer. Insects investigating the lure simply stick to the surface and cannot escape. By examining traps about twice a week, you can monitor the developmental progress of the species and track the phases of the breeding cycle. Lures typically need to be replaced about once a month to maintain effectiveness. Remove insects from the traps each time you check them, and stir the sticky layer to freshen it.

When to Use

Really early spring — February through early March — would be the best time to place traps to find out the first breeding cycle in your area. Insects mature in accordance with “level days,” or days the temperatures are warm enough for them to develop. Recording daily high and low temperatures helps you to maximize trap usage. By tracking insects’ development to adulthood, you can disrupt mating during each life-cycle through the season by using suitable treatments, thereby reducing egg-laying and the resulting hatch of larvae.

Trap Placement

Hang pheromone traps at the northeast side of trees about 6 feet from the floor and approximately 100 feet in from the edge of the orchard. Place traps for various insects no closer than 300 feet apart, so that they won’t interfere with one another. Because pheromones are released to the air from the lure, they sink — because they are heavier than air. Placing the traps at the top third of trees takes advantage of the natural dispersal.

Home Orchard Use

If you have only a few fruit trees in your yard, you may not want to have visible traps littering your landscaping. A pheromone lure placed at the corner of a shed or along a backyard wall can capture a sampling of the insects in your yard. After noticing the insects’ stages of development, you can prevent large infestations by applying suitable treatments.

See related

Tropical Style

Cool Facts About Fruit Trees

Most people recognize the types of fruit they see in their local grocery stores, but just a few would recognize the trees those fruits grew on. Yet in accordance with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, around 1 million acres in the USA are planted with bananas, and almost 2 million acres have been planted with deciduous fruit trees. Oranges are the most popular tree fruit in the U.S. Apples are second, followed by grapefruit and peaches.


Most fruit trees are not just planted from seeds, but are grafted. Rootstock is cloned from a mom rootstock and grown to a sapling. The rootstock tree is then topped, and also a branch from an established variety of fruit is grafted to it. Some trees — apples, like — produce seeds that result in trees nothing like the parent tree. If you have the world’s most delicious apple, and you collect and plant its seeds, you get a great chance of receiving an apple tree that produces hardly edible apples. Seeds from some other species of trees that were overgrown — cherries, peaches and pears — may produce offspring that are extremely near the parent. But the parent in this instance is the top half of this tree. The rootstock a tree is grafted to makes a major difference in size and hardiness of both the tree and the fruit. Therefore a tree grown from seed may be genetically identical to the parent but still produce very different fruit if the parent is grafted and the offspring isn’t.

Not From North America

The majority of the fruit trees grown in North America now are not from here originally. Apples come in the Caucasus Mountains that run through Europe and Asia. Apples were brought to America in Colonial times, and initially used mainly to produce hard cider. Pears are native to Europe, the Near East and temperate Asia. The pears on the East Coast of North America were initially brought on by Europeans. Those on the West Coast were brought from China by Chinese immigrants. Peaches come from China and Tibet; plums come in Italy and Greece; apricots come in Manchuria, Siberia and Korea. Oranges are from China. Among the few fruits native to North America is the pawpaw. It comes in the temperate woodlands in the eastern United States.

Dwarf Trees

Very few dwarf trees are dwarfs because they are naturally small genetically. Most trees become dwarfs when buds from full-sized trees are grafted to dwarfing rootstock. M.9, as an example, is a very common dwarfing apple rootstock. As soon as an apple variety is grafted for it, then the resulting tree is approximately 25 percent the height the tree could have been had the scion been grafted to full-size rootstock.

Deciduous Versus Evergreens

The further north a fruit species grows, the more likely it’s to be deciduous. Trees that are native to cold temperatures — pears and apples, for example — are always deciduous. If a tree needs a winter with freezing temperatures, then it will be deciduous. On the other hand, fruit trees that are native to tropical regions — papayas, mango and lychee, for example — tend to be evergreen. They don’t drop their leaves in the winter but stay green year-round. Fruit that is native to semi-tropical places is generally deciduous but may be evergreen.

See related

Tropical Style

Tomato Cuttings for New Plants

Root cuttings taken out of tomato plants to clone heirloom varieties or to create several more plants in an existing plant. Propagation by seed takes 6 to 8 weeks but cuttings are ready for the lawn in about 2 weeks. If you examine the stem on a tomato plant, then you will notice tiny bumps which protrude all along the stem. When these bumps come into contact with dirt, they develop into roots for the plant. Even though tomato cuttings root in clean water, develop a much healthier plant by splitting it in dirt.

Reducing Selection

Take cuttings from healthy tomato plants which are categorized as indeterminate. Indeterminate plants continue to develop until dug up or they succumb to icy cold temperatures. Determinate tomato plants grow to a particular size and then set fruit. Cuttings from determinate tomato crops may root but may not develop or set blooms. Tomato plants suffer from leaf blight, anthracnose and a plethora of different ailments. Cuttings which come from diseased plants will succumb to the infection and die. Take cuttings which are at least 8 inches long and come out of the tip of the tomato plant. It is also possible to root a sucker division taken from between a lateral leaf stem and the main stem. Take a top cutting from a spent tomato plant that is still alive in the garden. Use a sharp knife which cleanly cuts the stem. The cutting edge requires one pair of leaves to create energy for the plant. Remove the rest of the leaves with a sharp knife.

Propagation Chamber

The propagation chamber used to root the tomato is a expanding container full of a high-quality potting soil. Use a big container for several cuttings or small containers, such as 4-inch pots, for single cuttings. Tomatoes root with no use of a rooting hormone or bottom heat if the soil temperature remains about 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The soil must be moist but not soggy. The growing container should be given a generous quantity of sunlight or be set under a grow light.

Stem-Cutting Care

Make a hole in the middle of a 4-inch garden pot and stick one tomato cutting a minimum of three inches deep into the soil. Firm the soil into place and water the cutting edge. Place the container in a sunny window and wait about ten days for the cutting edge to root. After roots form, accustom the new tomato plant into the natural heat and light of the sun. Expose the tomato plant into the outside atmosphere for approximately an hour the first day. Extend the amount of time outside each day until the plant remains outdoors for the entire day.

Transplanting New Tomato Plants

Transplant the newest tomato plants into the garden once they have been outside for a week. Bury the tomato crops up to the initial group of leaves in the backyard. Over the coarse of time throughout the rooting process and acclimation period, your tomato plant may have developed new leaves. You can bury these new leaves without danger of rotting. The stem sends out additional roots in addition to those currently formed during the indoor rooting process. Protect the plants if there’s the danger of frost. Water the tomato crops daily until they are established in the garden.

See related

Tropical Style

Sea Grape Bushes

Sea grapes (Coccoloba uvifera) are sprawling evergreen shrubs that grow on sandy beaches in Mediterranean and tropical climates. Thriving from the heat and heat of U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10b and 11, sea grape shrubs spread widely on salty ocean beaches but they also grow as trees in yards. You can eat the fruits raw or utilize them to make wines, jams and preserves. The plants have been drought-tolerant and prefer partial shade to full sunlight.


Sea grape trees have light brown, thin bark and thick, round leaves that spread 8 to 10 inches apartfrom Young foliage is reddish-bronze using a leathery texture. Leaves, with reddish or Scrub veins, turn dark green at maturity and rust-like before falling. Bushes and trees produce little white, scented flowers in spring or early summer. Light green fruit clusters hang from young leaves but the strawberries become reddish-purple when ripe. Each grape is generally less than 1 inch wide.


It is simple to grow sea grapes from seed, but female trees require nearby male pollinators to produce fruit. Fruit production might not occur on its own until trees are 4 to 8 years old, notes the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. However, seedlings grafted by palm on rootstocks or cuttings may hasten the process — enabling for grape crops within the tree’s second season. Although exposure to prolonged temperatures under 32 degrees Fahrenheit may damage young trees, older ones may manage short periods at 22 F. Sea grape bushes and trees prefer sandy, well-draining dirt and are tolerant of ocean air. Landscape trees may grow to 35 feet tall.


Sea grapes are somewhat pear-shaped. They’ve sweet and tangy pulp — each one surrounds one seed. The skins are reddish to dark purple when the fruits are ripe. Sea grapes typically mature in summertime but ripening is sometimes delayed until fall if spring flowers arrive late. Fruits ripen unevenly in separate racemes. Large trees may produce several thousand individual strawberries each season.


The trees should be well-spaced to allow room for spreading heels and roots. Sea grape trees are drought-tolerant when established, but regular watering will help them flower and fruit. Fertilizing shrubs and trees using a 6-6-6 or 8-8-8 fertilizer two or three times annually — less frequently if plants have been established in more fertile soil — will help them grow. Sea grape trees should be pruned sparingly to remove dead branches and damaged timber but more frequently if they’re implanted in a hedgerow. Insect infestation and diseases are minimum issues for sea strawberries, but leaves do attract fungi. Birds and other wildlife enjoy the tree’s ripe fruit.

See related

Tropical Style

Instructions for Topsy Turvey Strawberry Planter

Topsy Turvy strawberry (Fragaria spp.; U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 10) planters are made to grow plants through holes in the sides. The planter hangs out of a plant hanger or might be suspended from a eye hook in a porch roof or comparable overhead arrangement. If you have had one sitting in your garage for a while or have discovered a single second-hand, hang it up so that you can enjoy a bountiful strawberry lawn that is simple to harvest with plants in eye level.

Mix slow-release fertilizer granules with a bagged potting mix along with a homemade potting blend, such as equal parts peat moss, completed compost and perlite. Topsy Turvy produces a slow-release fertilizer for their strawberry planters, or you can use another similar product. The Topsy Turvy strawberry planter measures 9 1/2 inches in diameter, requiring approximately 3 liters of fluid. Fertilizer has to be reapplied once every few months, depending on product instructions. Skip this step if you use a potting soil mix that already includes fertilizer combined with the soil.

Remove the strawberries from the planter pots or cell packs. Squeeze the soil to loosen the roots in the rootball so that they grow more freely when planted.

Insert the rootball of the very first strawberry plant via one of the underside starburst planting ports. The flaps on the port should shut around the stem to hold the cylinder in place. Repeat with the other bottom starburst planting port on the other side of the planter.

Add potting soil to the Topsy Turvy planter a little at a time to fill just over the plant roots, stopping when you reach the bottom of the following set of planting ports. Insert two more strawberry plants in the following set of planting ports; add more soil to cover these roots. Repeat this process until all of planting ports are planted as well as the planter is filled with soil. Since you fill the bag, then you might find it beneficial to hang the bag in chest level.

Water that the planter thoroughly until the soil is evenly moist and water drains from the bottom of the Topsy Turvy. Watering fills in air pockets in the ground, causing the soil to settle, which means you may have to add more soil to fill the planter into the surface. Water the new soil and repeat until the planter is full as well as the soil is moist. Some soil settling is anticipated when you water, but don’t pack the soil with your fingers, or you risk smothering the strawberry plant roots.

Put in the eye screw — comprised with the Topsy Turvy strawberry planter — in a piece of wood that measures at least 2 inches thick, including a two-by-four. Sink the screw so all of the threads are embedded into the wood, ensuring that the screw is well-anchored and equipped to support the full weight of the watered planter. Skip this step if you prefer to use a plant hanger hook. If that’s the circumstance, hang the Topsy Turvy strawberry planter from the hook. The chosen location should receive whole sunlight, six to 10 hours of direct sunlight each day, for the strawberries to grow properly.

Water that the Topsy Turvy strawberry planter daily to keep the soil evenly moist. Add water until excess water drains from the bottom of the planter. The hanging design employs gravity to guarantee extra water drains freely so the roots don’t rot. This same design feature is also why the planter requires daily watering. Strawberries need approximately 1 inch of water weekly, but rapid emptying means that the planter dries out more quickly than strawberries planted in the ground or in different planters.

Remove the strawberry planter from the hook and then store it — plants and all — from your basement or garage over winter to look after the plants until the following spring. Strawberries planted traditionally in a garden bed can be over-wintered in place with a covering of straw to protect plant roots. In a Topsy Turvy planter, the crops are less protected and require overwintering inside in a cool place.

See related

Tropical Style

How Tall Will Japanese Cucumbers Get?

Japanese cucumbers (Cucumis sativus) create a long, delicious fruit that works well for cutting and eating fresh. The annual vine-producing plants grow vigorously and require plenty of distance from the garden to stop crowding since the vines can grow 8 feet tall. Understanding the size of the mature plants helps with garden organizing and making efficient use of space.

Plant Height

Japanese cucumbers are vine-growing varieties that need a trellis system for help. This type of cucumber includes a vigorous growth habit with varieties that could reach up to 8 feet tall. Assess the mature height of the plant to the seed container or package to allow for good distance in the lawn. Not all of cultivars will grow to the exact same height.

Fruit Size

Japanese cucumbers make a very long, slender fruit that’s 1 to 2 inches in diameter. The cucumber span varies from a little 1 1/2 inches up to 18 inches long.


Space Japanese cucumbers 1 foot apart at planting when using a trellis for vertical growth. Plants left to grow naturally with no trellis demand a minimum distance of 4 feet to allow room for your vine spread.

See related

Tropical Style

What Is Best Way to Plant Ficus Trees in the Yard?

Ficus trees (Ficus spp.) Aren’t cold hardy, and as a result are more commonly grown inside than outside. You can develop these trees outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 or 10 through 11, depending on the species. Grown outside, these trees can reach massive sizes, from 50 to 60 feet high and having a spread of 100 feet.

Select the Right Spot

Your ficus tree will have to be planted in a place where it is not exposed to full sun all year. A sun-dappled yard, lined with big trees, will offer the right conditions for a youthful ficus to develop. Ficus like warm temperatures and high humidity. Both of these conditions might be difficult to supply in coastal regions, where temperatures tend to be moderate, and inland regions in which the atmosphere is dry and temperatures more intense. Most important for ficus is well-draining soil. Low-lying areas that are often wet and flooded aren’t suitable for ficus growth.

Give the Ficus Space

Whatever location you select for your ficus, you’ll have to make sure it has room to propagate and develop. Ficus roots could be pronounced across the bottom of the back, disrupting nearby sidewalks and other structures. These trees have also a spreading habit, often growing to be broader than they are tall. Ensure there is sufficient room for the tree to achieve its entire size without crowding out smaller trees or plants. You’ll need to present your tree at least 30 feet of room on all sides.

Amend the Soil

Ficus trees require moist soil that drains well. You can improve soil drainage in the area in which you wish to plant the ficus tree by amending the indigenous soil with organic matter like compost. Additionally, 1 cup of superphosphate added to every square yard of amended soil will help root growth. These soil alterations will help your tree get off to a good beginning, but as the tree matures, roots will spread to regions of that have yet to be amended. If your natural soil is often waterlogged, eventually this will kill the tree. To prevent this situation, plant the tree on land that has some ability to drain naturally. Obviously wet soil isn’t suitable for ficus trees.


The best time to transplant your ficus tree is in late spring when new growth has formed. The hole for the root ball should be no deeper than the root ball itself. When the tree is set in the ground, the roots should not fall lower to the soil when they did if they were in the container. The amended soil has to be packed to the hole around the root ball. Afterward, water the tree deeply. While it is becoming recognized, water the ficus twice every week to keep the soil moist.

Container Ficus

If you are a gardener who would like an outdoor ficus tree for most of the year, however your climate is too cold, consider planting your tree in a container which can be left outdoors during the spring and summer, and brought inside in late fall. The container has to be lightweight for effortless transportation, and you should use container-formulated growing medium to ensure proper drainage.

See related

Tropical Style

Problems Potting Seedling Trees

Seedling trees are still tender and subject to damage from handling when transplanting. Planting seedlings in plant pots allows the gardener to transfer the trees to secure areas when the weather turns harsh. The dirt and other growing states can be controlled when potted. Being mindful of potting issues before transplanting seedling trees helps the gardener prevent them.


The best time to plant seedling trees is as soon as they arrive, but sometimes that doesn’t occur. When the roots are exposed to air and sunlight, the roots can dry out and die. Set the tree seedling in a trendy location and keep the root ball moist while waiting to be transplanted. Spray the roots down with room-temperature water, and do not submerge the root ball for extended amounts of time. This denies the tree seedling oxygen and can drown the skin.


The ideal container size is important because it directly affects the water-holding ability. Pick a plant pot only a few inches larger than the preceding container. A container also large allows too much water to surround the roots, while you too little doesn’t hold enough water and dries out too fast for the tree roots to absorb enough moisture.


The plant pot must have drainage holes so that the water runs freely throughout the container. Without drainage holes, water stands at the plant pot surrounding the roots drowning the tree. If you cover the drainage holes using mesh stuff to hold the dirt inside the container, then ensure that you do not use fine mesh, or mesh using extremely small holes. Check to ensure that water flows through any mesh used to cover the holes at the plant pot.


Tree seedlings need lightweight dirt to live in containers. Don’t use garden soil, which can harbor garden pests and plant diseases. Heavy soil doesn’t allow the young roots to grow and distribute correctly. Create a fantastic soil mix for tree seedlings by mixing equal parts of sand, peat moss and bark or perlite. This mixture keeps the dirt loose and also carries enough moisture to maintain the roots healthy.


While transplanting the tree seedling, analyze the roots to see whether the plant is experiencing being tightly packed. Look for curiously dead and growing roots. Prune away the larger roots with hand pruners. Loosen the others by running your fingers through the root ball. Invite the roots to grow outwardindications Spread the roots out naturally when putting the seedling from the plant pot. Don’t point the roots upward.


Lousy watering habits are a frequent source of tree seedling death. Water the tree seedling intensely, right after transplanting in a container, and then only as required afterward. Water when the top of the soil feels dry to the touch, but do not let the soil become bone dry.

See related

Tropical Style

Is it OK to Water Your Own Tomato Plants at Night?

Tomatoes can be negatively affected by water. Water on the fruit and leaves can lead to disease. The timing of watering is of equal concern because certain diseases known to infect tomatoes are a larger threat during the evening, when temperatures are cooler.


Watering at night can increase the probability of your tomato plant having problems with disease. Tomato diseases that are certain are the biggest threat whenever there are conditions and temperatures that are mild. This scenario can be created by watering at night.


It can negatively affect production and growth when tomato plants get water. Temperatures are cooler and less water will evaporate from the soil. In case you don’t take the evaporation rates into consideration the incidence of over-watering cans increase.

Tricky Tomato

Following a warm day, leaves of a tomato plant may start to show signs of wilting. If allowed to sit overnight at the cooler temperatures, the leaves will perk up. them, When the leaves have not perked up by morning.

When to Water

Watering early in the day is the most appropriate for tomatoes. It allows time for the plants to dry out before the day and reduces the amount of water lost from evaporation. This is also the practice for preventing diseases on your tomatoes.

See related