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My Vertical Garden Wall

My Vertical Garden Wall


Monday, September 28, 2009

How to Care for Moss Rose - Portulaca Grandiflora

I got this Moss Rose from my mum.
It didn't flower for a very long time until I placed it outside my house where there is enough sunlight.

It blooms gloriously in the morning (but I'm not at home during much of the blooming time as I leave early to work and back in the evening when all the show is over) That's one of the reason why I don't fancy this plant as I only able to enjoy these blooms during the weekend.

Somehow this variety is a bit different, as the flower stays bloom longer and bigger compared to the ones I had before.

Basic Plant Characteristics:

1) Sun lover - Unlike other floral plants, this one is hardy and drought tolerant.

When planted in shade the plant grows leggy without blooms, eventually the plant matures and dies. The roots do not go deep, and they grow as ground covers.

2) When they put out many branches and leggy, its better to trim & use the stem to propagate more plants. They can be planted using few stems together in a bunched and poked inside the soil. That way, when they bloom, the flowers are bushy and not singled & spaced out.

3) Once they finished the blooms and become leggy the plant slowly becomes dormant and began to die. So, its important to take immediate cuttings and replant them just after they matured or at their prime. This happens when a single plant puts out 3 - 5 long stems.

4) They can also root in water very easily, tiny roots appears after few days. But you need to make sure that none of the leaves submerge in the water as that may cause the whole thing to rot.

5) They need free draining soil, sand would be the best option. Too much water retaining type of soil may cause root rot and fungus. They are like the succulent type - so too much water is not advisable.

There are some variety which had been sold in wet markets as vegetables. The flowers are not so grand looking. I have not seen them for sometime. I guess they are not popular anymore.

These are the other two which I had before now gone extinct. I got this from my office mate, I had left it in my office for a day and the plant start blooming, there were immediate flower buds which bloomed on the next day.

These are temporarily planted together with my coleus. They were not replanted and had slowly disappeared. Somehow they become leggy and dry up. All these time, none of my Moss Rose had every put out seeds or self sowed. Once matures, they just die.

Update: 2020 March

These are what currently existing in my garden. 
I find that it is much more difficult to cultivate them in long-term as these are short life span plants and may not regenerate back again in the same pot / medium. The idea of trimming and replanting the pruned cutting back into the same pot may not work in various times.

Also, space seemed to be a challenging constraint when other plants are growing together in the same community pot. However the beautiful sun blooming flowers does cheer up the day when they bloom during the few hours in the morning till late afternoon.

There are many cultivars and varieties had been introduced year after year that it is impossible to keep up with all them. However the ideal thing to do is to find the ideal space and room from the grow and flower.

These require bright direct sunlight throughout the day in order for them to bloom constantly. They will never bloom in shaded area. They won't do well in cool, wet & humid areas too.
The best ideal condition - bright open sunny areas.

Their roots won't go deep into the pot. The ideal potting size would be shallow wide type of pots. These will ensure good sunny expose on them that will optimize greater flowering and longer blooming time during the day.

The flowers however last only for a day only and closes by evening time. A new bud will take place and bloom in it's place. Some variety from seedpod with tiny black seeds which will self germinate around the moss growth areas.

These sometimes have mealybug infestation in between the leaf and buds. Sometimes ants farm them and therefore they can be a vector for the infestation which could prove difficult to rid off using home-made pesticide as these ants may introduce them sooner than you think.

Apart from all these set-backs. Consider moss-rose plant as a temporary joy plant. Something that you can collect and exchange with other gardening friends when you have the chance. These do great as a nook & crook plant as you can just poke the stem in between the edges of the pot and soil as they are non-fussy plants when it comes for root growth. 

Red Flame Ivy - Hemigraphis Alternata

This is my love-hate relationship plant. When a little neglect and it can cause this plant to die.
Both of the pictures (top and bottom) where the past history where the plant never survived.

The first time, it died due to lack of water - that was my mistake when I was thinking the rain would do that watering job for me.

The second time it died when I got confident as I uprooted and replanted them in a planter box, they all shrivelled and died.

I realised that its a sensitive plant. Few pointers about this plant:

1) Though placed in water before planting - they can still dry up.
(The leaves will appear to be dried as paper crisp)
(so the idea of rooting in water does not apply for this plant)
Alternatively - plant them immediately after the cutting and water it, they will rejuvenate within few days.

2) Its does well in shady areas. Good for hanging plant or ground covers.

3) Plant characteristics: Metallic sheen looking leaves, it has silvery gray-green above and purple beneath with tiny white bell shaped flowers. (They stand out in the foliage background)
The foliage colour are different from those which placed in shade and those are placed in sunlight.
Shade - have more silvery green
Sun - have more purple from the leaf tips.

4) There are similar types of Hemigraphis plant: (with similar characteristics)

a) Purple Waffle Plant - Hemigraphis Exotica (the leaves is crinkled & closes in a cupped shape)

b) Dragon's Tongue / Dragon's Breathe / Dragon's Flame - Hemigraphis Repanda
(narrow long leaves - edged & toothed)
It had been used as an aquarium plant as it would not rot or pollute the tank.
I had this plant before but died due to neglect.

5) Propagation:
They grow much easier when the stem cuttings are placed together in bunches of 3 - 4 cuttings.
They also have trailing stem that grows along the ground.

Additional Notes:
I finally managed to grow it at last, improving my technics (of course by trial & error)
Now, they look more vibrant then the first few trials. (I think I had tried this about 4 - 5 times)
The leaves looks more brighter and spaced out instead of the dark wrinkled shape.
Hope it last longer with blooms.

Canna Lily Seed Pod

I was waiting for my wife to finish her work and found this canna lily in her workplace garden. Often noticed that canna lilies are sterile but this one had seedpods. Decided to take some shots while waiting for her.

Now, I have a good collection of seeds collected and no place and time to plant them. (sob..sob..)

Canna lilies are more successfully grown using rhizome instead of seeds, but its easier to use seeds when you don't want to uprooting them (in having the hassle with tough soil and deep roots)

Another thing is that the flower stalks tend to dry up and its all leaves and no flower factor. This happens after the blooming period is over. Some gardener just sliced off the whole plant and let the plant to put up new shoots of which it will come together with flowers.

I think this plant had overspend all the flowers and now giving out the seedpods to say its goodbyes. Notice the flower, its very immatured and unattractive.

Spring Onions

I have tried growing onions for donkey years (as much I can remember even from childhood)
Those where the days where it concerns science project where one pokes a nail through an onion and place it on a mug or container and see the roots sprouts.

Then later, I started planting those onion bulbs for their fresh green leaves to use for garnishing. Again it depends how long this plant last from bulb till the whole thing withers and dies.

One day, when I was in a wet market "pasar malam" a vendor sold a nice full bush of spring onion for a RM1.
It took me almost 2 weeks for me to consume the whole amount, I had used it for salads, and mostly added for all the garnishing (till my taste bud tasted nothing but spring onions) I had reserved a bunch freshly by placing them in water.

Then, later a day became two and a week became 2 weeks and then almost a month, those fresh spring onion gave out buds and finally a full bloom flower - hmmmm.. Hopefully they turn into seeds that I can plant them.

I had ran out of soil and pots and they are now sitting in a temporary milk tin. Hopefully I manage to get the soil and pot by this week and help this plant grow, or may end up in my kitchen for soup or another garnishing.

Didn't know onions can have such a beautiful flower.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Bleeding Heart Vine - UNRULY VINE (UPDATES)



This is my follow-up updates of my bleeding heart vine concerning the vines of which I had trimmed and had taken from my mum's garden. 

After awhile - all the leaves started to dry up and the vines turned ugly. I trimmed and tied it and kept it neat. It looked so horrible and I had planted those extra wormwood plant to softened the emptiness.

Later, about a month's time -  the plant started to show some sign of new growth and the vines started to sprout and give out new flower buds. I had planted 2 pots and those little vines in a milk tin container and all had shown a good growth. 


Do check out my other updates on this plant in the main page on Clerodendrum species list.
Also more detailed information on the other Clerodendrum Plants and Posts:
Different Types of Clerodendrum Plant

Lime Butterfly

It all started with this little lime plant which was passed to me by my mother in law. It was growing well and had started out new shoots. After few weeks, I found some grains on the tender leaf shoots and most of them had bite marks on them.

I had carefully inspected it and found that the culprit was hiding at the lower mature leaves. I don't think I want to leave it to continue chomping up the rest of the plant. I got a clear box to put this caterpillar inside and feed it with the leftover half done leaves.

About a week later, it had turned into a pupa and another few week later into a beautiful butterfly. I guess this must be the Common Lime Butterfly (Papilio Demoleus malayanus)

I had set the butterfly free just after taking pictures of the hen & the chicks, there were 10 births on the same day and you can only guess the excitement that took place during the holidays.

Just hope it doesn't come again and lay more eggs!

I visited my in laws during the holidays and found few caterpillars where chomping their existing lime plant.
I had taken these "worms" and also pruned the heavy bushy lime plant. I also noticed that the ants had burrowed on some of the pupa and had feasted on them
(pity those butterflies - they never knew that they got ambushed)
I didn't know that this plant caused so much pain as it is full with sharp spiked thorns which continuously pierced my hands while I was pruning.
First time I saw so much blood in my hands!
This lime plant is worst than roses & cactus put together!

Mother Hen & Her Nine Chicks

Date: 23rd Sept. 2009
I was cleaning up and checking on my garden when I heard a baby chick sound. I was tempted to push the hen and see if they had hatched but dare not put my hand and decided to put a broom handle and see - true enough the mother hen got furious and started pecking over the stick.

On the next day, all the nine chicks got hatched. I noticed that there is a huge trouble this mother hen faced. Just below there is this big monsoon drain infront of her and another drain kerb at the side, the mother hen came inside my house and started calling her chicks to come to the other side by going thru the ferns and fencing.

One and two chicks managed but the rest was just lost, I took the liberty to safe all of them sending one by one to the mother hen. (Needed to be quick too as the hen was very defensive)
Finally all of the chicks reached safely and I had started feeding the new family with break crumbs.

Later, the owner of the hen took all the chicks into his house and care for them (or had chicken soup!!! - hope not, poor little ones)

About Me

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Tropical Garden, Batu Caves, Malaysia
My Malaysian Tropical Garden mainly focused on unique and colorful plants ranging from rare to common plants all around the tropical belt across the world. Ideal for inspiration for challenging areas in the garden space - indoor gardening, balcony gardening and small green spaces especially for ariods, bromeliads, begonias, edibles, cascading & vertical garden plants, succulents & cacti, orchids, together with both shade and sun loving plants.

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