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Monday, August 30, 2010

Bleeding Heart Vine (Clerodendrum Thomsoniae) PART 1

 

INTRODUCTION:


 I'm totally overjoyed to see this little bloom turn into a magnificent bouquet. I guess it got a lot to do with the sunshine it receive. I can tell you that this one does very well in the shady area. So do not dead-head your bleeding heart as more blooms may appear from the source. 

Its quite easy actually to propagate this plant. Just get a cutting and press it in the soil. Do keep this plant in the shade until it gives out shoots and later place it in semi-shade for them to bloom. Total shade will make the plant grow but without blooms. 

Another thing is its a slow growing plant, you will not see any result for weeks when you propagate it, so be patient and do not uproot those dry looking twigs (in the process of propagation) You will see new shots appear (peeling out) from the twigs. These are vines and very much a vigorous climber. So you want to have a proper space for that or you might prefer to keep the plant small but constant pruning. I'm planning to set all the vine plants that gives out pompous blooms. 



WATERING & FEEDING:

It may require a good adequate watering - both morning and evening based on the size of the plant.
You can grow it in a nice medium or large size pot, the plant will behave and grow based on the size of the pot. However I would recommend this to grow freely on ground if you want lushful beautiful constant blooms.

Also this plant is a heavy feeder and do feed adequately during the flowering season.
However take note that over-watering can cause them to bud-drop especially during the rainy season, hence a well balance fast draining medium to ensure no root rot occurs.



LIGHT:

Being a Tropical plant does require good strong indirect bright sunshine, It can tolerate growing in shaded area however it must receive at least few hours of sunshine. It does not do well in heavy shaded area and may not bloom in such conditions. Also the leaves may turn yellow to light green/pale green and also become leggy. Another factor in the lack of sunlight may cause the plant to become stress and can attract pest to heavily attack on them.

Hence do give a thought if your are not having open garden area as this would not so well as indoor plant - even placing them as a balcony potted plant can be challenging if they do not receive adequate light.

SOIL MEDIUM:

Considering one of the most basic thing about planting material - this one doesn't require anything special - just any balanced potting mix will do. They seem to do fine in a medium or big potted plant - however they will do great if they are planted directly into the garden soil as these will require just that to produce those lovely blooms.

However if limitation occurs where you can only grow in pot - then a good balanced potting mix with rich amount of organic material and equal part of well drained soil which will help from root rot. 

Instance as such as these - they are often planted straight into open garden land where they are not in a pot - hence they appear hardy and able to take the heavy pruning.


PRUNING:

One of the most challenging part for this shrub is pruning. They do grow extremely fast and become very unruly if not proper care is not given - especially when it comes to growth factor, this plant focus more on branching more stem and over growth rather than blooms which can be one of the down-side coming from this ever blooming plant.

However with the right pruning method and keeping it trimmed and manageable size - this one can be such a beauty. This plant can become into a full grown tree - hence pruning and keeping focused in making its growth into one main stem can allow it to bloom more gracefully and not creating a wild-like shrub with stem branching everywhere.

This particular plant blooms constantly on a daily basis.

PROPAGATION:

Propagation can be done but stem cutting, stripping off the bottom leaves and poking it into a deep pot with a rich potting soil. Keep it in shade until you notice a new leaves growth.

Another method is to put the cutting into perlite medium (soaked in water)  Once taken roots, it should be carefully transplanted into a good potting mix..

Do click on the link below for more detailed information on the other Clerodendrum Plants and Posts:
Different Types of Clerodendrum Plant

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Tips to Care & Cultivate Ylang ylang Plant (Cananga odorata)



INTRODUCTION:

Commonly known as Canaga Tree or more famously as Ylang-ylang (Cananga odorata) is a tropical shrub tree. There are however a well refined type where it appears to be a dwarf type where it blooms more profuse in comparison the tree type where the later growths in considerable size. 

This particular miniature type is very much garden ornament friendly where you can easily grown in a flower pot. On a general note - Ylang-ylang has these greenish yellow flowers and emits the constant relaxing scent which I may say can considerably help eliminate anxiety and stress.

Hence this particular one is very much cultivated for the flowers and used for therapeutic uses especially as essential oils in aromatherapy. There are a huge extensive study done on the uses on Ylang-ylang essential oil namely for calming  & relaxing effect.

I managed to purchase this for RM20.00 and its so worthed it.



LIGHT:

Being a Tropical Plant native surrounding regions of the Southern Asia - this plant does require good strong indirect bright sunshine, It can tolerate growing in shaded area however it must receive at least 6 hours of sunshine. It does not do well in heavy shaded area and may not bloom in such conditions. Also the leaves may turn yellow and also become leggy. Another factor in the lack of sunlight may cause the plant to become stress and can attract pest to heavily attack on them.

Hence do give a thought if you're not having open garden area as this would not so well as indoor plant - even placing them as a balcony potted plant can be challenging if they receive inadequate light.


SOIL MEDIUM:

Considering one of the most basic thing about planting material - this one doesn't require anything special - just any balanced potting mix will do. They seem to do fine in a medium or big potted plant - however they will do great if they are planted directly into the garden soil as these will require just that to create those majestic cascading blooms. 

However if limitation occurs where you can only grow in pot - then a good balanced potting mix with rich amount of organic material and equal part of well drained soil which will help from root rot. 


WATERING & FEEDING:

It may require a good adequate watering - both morning and evening based on the size of the plant.
You can grow it in a nice medium or large size pot, the plant will behave and grow based on the size of the pot. However I would recommend this to grow freely on ground if you want lushful beautiful cascading flowers.

Also this plant is a heavy feeder and do feed adequately during the flowering season.
However take note that over-watering can cause them to bud-drop especially during the rainy season, hence a well balance fast draining medium to ensure no root rot occurs.


PRUNING:

One of the most challenging part for this shrub is pruning. They do grow extremely fast and become very unruly if not proper care is not given - especially when it comes to growth factor, this plant focus more on branching more stem and over growth rather than blooms which can be one of the down-side coming from this ever blooming plant.

However with the right pruning method and keeping it trimmed and manageable size - this one can be such a beauty. As shown here - the appearance of the blooms can last at least for few months until the next pruning session is done to maintain the blooming cycle from interruption.

This consideration applies very accurately when the plant is matured and had grown for years - that is if it is not flowering in its full potential. Other factors involving lighting / watering / feeding is also essential and necessary.


PEST CONTROL:

I had found this one seemed to be a very sensitive plant without strong resistant to pest attack in comparison to many other floral plant. Often mealybugs are found around the flowerbud farmed by ants and occasionally sap sucking insects too are found at the bottom of the leaves.

Occasionally I had come across that if the plant is anyway stressed or lacking nutrients may face some damage on it's foliage but rarely fatal to the plant. 

Keeping the plant - Pruned and Compact does make the plant focused on its blooming cycle and also able to take immediate action if any unruly pest attack where pruning is much easily handled rather than spraying pesticide all over the plant.

Apart from this factor, other matters are very much similar with most tropical garden plants.


HISTORIC PLANT - OIL USAGE

Ylang-ylang has deep historic roots throughout many cultures and traditions spanning around the Asian and South Pacific Region. Often adorned as a fragrant flower and very much prized for the aromatic oils that been collected from these blooms. 

Generally speaking, Cananga comes from the local name known as Kenanga in Malay. However unlike Jasmine this one is comes with some taboo where according to feng shui it has drooping flowers hence signifies sorrow thus avoided.

Also these are grown in Malay cemeteries in village areas centuries ago and often emit strong scent especially during midnight which been associated with evil spirits and ghosts as folktales during that time. 

During these modern times, these are now slowly making a comeback bypassing old-age taboos. 







Bud drop due to overwatering.




PROPAGATION:

Propagation can be done but stem cutting, stripping off the bottom leaves and poking it into a deep pot with a rich potting soil. Keep it in shade until you notice a new leaves growth.

Another method is to put the cutting into perlite medium (soaked in water) 
Once taken roots, it should be carefully transplanted into a good potting mix.
Another option is to look out for a sucker that appears from the root base. 
This happens if the plant is very established and has a huge root system.

Also I had noticed that this particular one can be very challenging to propagate if done wrongly - these are difficult to roots easily. Another alternative is seed propagation or marcotting - however it is too tedious that it would be much easier to just purchase the plant from a nursery that going through a lot trouble of trail and error in getting it right for the first time.


I would strongly recommend for you to cultivate these if you have the space and open bright sun for them to grow. The fragrance is very mesmerising and it is true - the fragrance is so much real like having a constant Channel No.5 Perfume Plant emitting all over your garden.


Also, Do click on the link below for more information on Other Types of  Tropical Fragrant Flowers:

Friday, August 20, 2010

How to Care & Cultivate Water Jasmine (Wrightia Religiosa) Part 2

 

It feels like ages when I actually started this plant from seed to this point when I can finally enjoy the flower. I never imagine the moment to see these blooms, masses of pendant, tiny white flowers cascade at the end of each branches. 

There are many varieties of this water jasmine, this is the most common & the easiest one to maintain compared to rest - the small & medium leaf ones also the double-layered petaled ones. Often these are used to make bonsai or you can actually find few of these type sold in the nursery in a bonsai pot. 

My guess is those must be of the small leaf type and they are slow to grow and rarely produce seed pods. One of the things I enjoy the most is stripping of the leaves of this plant (now its more like a semi-tree) To see the exposed branches and leaving the cascading branches gives that mystical look in the garden. 

Finally it had blessed me with flowers (which I had almost given up hope - thinking this must be a sterile type - never producing flowers) Probably it must be the change of location - where it get a good amount of sunlight compared to the earlier location. 

I had placed dumbcanes at the background giving this one a very good focus point of depth and colour. (if not, it would be the boring green..green..green) I might strip off the leaves again, probably after they have finished their flowering. 


PRUNING:

The Key for strong and beautiful blooms for this particular Jasmine is Pruning.

One of the most challenging part for this shrub is pruning. They do grow extremely fast and become very unruly if not proper care is not given - especially when it comes to growth factor, this plant focus more on branching more stem and over growth rather than blooms which can be one of the down-side coming from this ever blooming plant.

However with the right pruning method and keeping it trimmed and manageable size - this one can be such a beauty. As shown here - the appearance of the blooms can last at least for few months until the next pruning session is done to maintain the blooming cycle from interruption.

This consideration applies very accurately when the plant is matured and had grown for years - that is if it is not flowering in its full potential. Other factors involving lighting / watering / feeding is also essential and necessary.


PEST CONTROL:

I had found this one seemed to be a hardy plant with strong resistant to pest attack in comparison to many other floral plant. However at times mealybugs are found around the flowerbud farmed by ants and occasionally sap sucking insects too are found at the bottom of the leaves.

Occasionally I had come across that if the plant is anyway stressed or lacking nutrients may face some damage on it's foliage but rarely fatal to the plant. 

Keeping the plant - Pruned and Compact does make the plant focused on its blooming cycle and also able to take immediate action if any unruly pest attack where pruning is much easily handled rather than spraying pesticide all over the plant.

Apart from this factor, other matters are very much similar with most tropical garden plants.


PROPAGATION:

Propagation can be done but stem cutting, stripping off the bottom leaves and poking it into a deep pot with a rich potting soil. Keep it in shade until you notice a new leaves growth.

Another method is to put the cutting into perlite medium (soaked in water) 
Once taken roots, it should be carefully transplanted into a good potting mix.
Another option is to look out for a sucker that appears from the root base. 
This happens if the plant is very established and has a huge root system.

Also I had noticed that this particular one can be very challenging to propagate if done wrongly - these are difficult to roots easily. Another alternative is seed propagation or marcotting - however it is too tedious that it would be much easier to just purchase the plant from a nursery that going through a lot trouble of trail and error in getting it right for the first time.

In most cases, these are cultivated using seed propagation as they are trained as bonsai plants even at the very young sapling stage as they form great structure and root formation. 






However apart of pruning of the branches, the stripping of the leaves is also important. As shown in the pictures above of how well it had grown and how I had stripped off the leaves - creating like a autumn shedding leaves only here - I had done it manually. You can use scissors or any other tools necessary. 


After couple of years doing the same process - the Jasmine had finally blessed me with thousands of blooms that had flood the whole garden with mesmerising fragrance throughout the day and night. It was indeed like a deity had visited and blessed me in my garden.

It was as if a Garden of One Thousand Buddha Flowers Bloomed in my Humble Garden.













If you are considered cultivating this particular Jasmine,  I would strongly recommend for you to cultivate these if you have the space and open bright sun for them to grow. The fragrance is very mesmerising and it is true, they do invoke the sense of sacred and sense of virtue and holiness as these gives out such pure fragrance around the garden. 



Also, Do click on the link below for more information on 
Other Types of  Tropical Fragrant Flowers:

Monday, August 2, 2010

Amaryllis Bloom



I was thinking about the name "Amaryllis" and
it was playing in my mind for sometime.
whether:

"I'll marry Liz" or
"A Mary List" or
perhaps... " A Merry Least"
maybe the last one - when they never seemed to bloom in the tropicals.

I remembered about an experience about putting all these bulbs in the fridge in the vegetable compartment. My sister thought it was a vegetable when she came by and waited to help in preparing lunch.

So this is a WARNING:
AMARYLLIS BULBS ARE POISONOUS!
DO NOT MISTAKEN THEM FOR A VEGETABLE AND COOK IT!!!!
(That is if someone would have thought - Hey! That's a pretty exotic looking onion!!!)

My wife sort of grumbled for 3 months for taking half of the vegetable compartment space.
So, its another thing you may have to "negotiate" if you are a guy.
(Probably show her these pictures and the last one on how to prepare it - It might soften her heart in agreeing in "leasing" the fridge space for you.. perhaps?)

I guess a woman gardener who prepares meals and "owns & manages" the fridge do not face this problem. All she have to do is mark on the package:
WARNING! DO NOT TOUCH THIS!!!

Anyway, these are the beautiful pictures I took last weekend - hope you enjoy them.
I'm totally mesmerised by the blooms and two more waiting.
Though, I'm a little excited as I guess the other two spikes are the same type like the first one.

Another thing, do not bloom them during the raining season - the flowers tend to get overweight and with the constant showering the whole flower and spike gets too heavy and well...
"Fall on the ground". I had to put a stick and tied it for a support.
So keep it in mind, the best time would be the hot season.
It would also keep the bulbs from rotting (wouldn't want to take that chances)






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