Search This Blog

My Vertical Garden Wall

My Vertical Garden Wall


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Donkey's Tail - Sedum morganianum

I'm pretty sure this is one of the plants that hates you when it comes to touching. It punish you as it snaps its succulent leaf from the main branch. And before you know it - all is left is a twig which slowly dries up and that is the end of this donkey's tail plant.

I read few website profiles on these and all they give you is simple basic information that you can certainly go wrong and a high chance of killing it. (killing me softly) The word hardy is a mis-interpretation.
Many of my garden friends had tough time handling this one & in most cases they just "drop off" and die.

So what is the trick here? How to keep them successful?
These are my tips:

1) When first purchased from the nursery - check the soil.

If the soil medium contains coconut husk or the medium is mushy - change the soil mix.
I would suggest use more sand (2/3 portion) and black soil mix (1/3 portion)
The most important thing you must handle is that it must have a good drainage soil.
(water which gets stagnant in the pot tend create root rot - often its too late to detect as the plant is holding on until the rot is visible)

2) Hang/Place the plant where there is less or no movement and doesn't get knocked down.

Any slight accident can lose/drop the existing succulent leaves.
And I propose the best one:
(My friend's plant died when his 7-year old daughter joyfully snapped all the leaves)

3) Watering - water it sparingly until the plant establish itself.
My best tip is plant another hardy succulent plant together that takes up most of the moisture and water out of the plant (Mother of Thousand) as it would recreate a tight fitted area for the roots to hold on the soil.

4) Once the plant establishes - Do not repot.
Just leave it as it is. I had made a mistake of repotting and found the most of the fronds didn't survive and I have to start all over again with a small stubble. 

5) Propagation.
So if you need to propagate - trim off from the long existing fronds.
Cut it about 3-4 inches long - remove half of the leaf succulents and leave it to dry for a day or two.
(The wound needs to dry up before placing it into the soil - planting it too soon can cause branch rot
and you might just loose that piece of frond)
- Again : Water sparingly.
It would be good to water it only when the soil had totally dries up.
If you find the soil is wet - then don't water.

6) This plant is very slow to grow - but once it starts growing.
Its really a beauty to behold.

7) WARNING - Same name for 2 different plants.
"Donkey tail" is a common name given to 2 very different plants.
The one in the picture is known as Sedum Morganianum - its a succulent (just like Mother of Thousand & Aloe Vera)
The other is Euphobia myrsinites - this one is poisonous.
Infact most Euphobia species are poisonous. So do get to know your plant before you purchase them.

I was very much thinking of having this plant in my garden when I noticed this particular one planted on a hanging pot. It has a pendant-like rossette which is quite beautiful.
After reading the detail and the testimonies of all the gardeners who suffered dearly with burns and near blindness (I definitely skipping having this poisonous plant)

Read more about the poisonous plant (Euphobia myrsinites)
click below for identification & more information:

Let me know your experience and thoughts about this plant in your garden.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

An Orchid Story

It would have been a difficult thing to consider how actually I started having orchids in my garden. All of my orchids previously had been mostly rescued. 

The Aranchis species which never seemed to bloom. (I had finally decided to pass all of it to my friend -Eddie (the one who I went together for the Bonsai & Orchid Exhibition) 
The Necklace Orchid (Cymbidium finlaysoianum) found by the roadside in a bad shape (sliced & diced) Somehow all these had managed to survive well but at the price where they are never seemed to bloom.

Then my friends in my office started to dispose their overgrown orchids - Cattleyas & Dancing Ladies (Oncidium). I found more Oncidiums disposed along the roadside but truly in a very bad shape - all the backbulbs dried up and a 2 - 3 barely surviving water deprived bulbs. 
I did finally buy one orchid plant - Leopard Orchid (Grammatophyllum scriptum)

As I can remember - Eddie passed his first 2 specimen for me to start with (both had died due to my lack of skill in caring for them) But that didn't stop him from passing more from his collection.
I guess his motto was: Try until you get it.
And to that result - you now see more & more orchid plants hanging in my garden.
(I'm pretty sure he is laughing out aloud while reading this)
I'm guessing that it is his style of converting gardeners into orchid lovers.

Traditionally I would put all these orchids into a plastic or a clay pot and consider that settled. I must say that these are the ideas & the attribute of having a good orchid gardener friend - where ideas and style somehow gets adopted and exchanged. And so most of these are wrapped with coconut husk around a PVC pipe or a  branch. I wanted to press a little further and got one wrapped around a broken pottery.

Somehow it is very difficult to appreciate an orchid when they do not flower.
(Really - now, who would consider a plant with all boring looking leaves on a stick - the whole composition is such that it really an acquired taste in liking them)

And so the means of coming into terms in liking them is actually enjoying them when the do not flower.
(Yes - you heard me right - when they do not flower) That is enjoying the way the orchids trail their cascading roots and they way they descend with their stalks & bulbs and just how natural they tend to be as an  epiphyte (plants that grows upon another plant/trees and not based their roots on ground)

The best part of Epiphytes - I realised that it goes very well with my garden theme (Bromeliads, Ferns, Spanish Moss, Creeping Fig & Button orchids)

Its actually taking the chances - in stepping up in courage and try out new things. 
If a plant survive - then it is taken as a victory (after all its rescued - doomed to die) and if in any case didn't survive - well, its taken as a lesson learnt in managing the intensive care in reviving the plant.
And basically - one moves on from being lucky (in having an orchid plant) to an expert in handling one to bloom.

One thing for sure - these orchids just ever grow so slowly.
Most times - they just go dormant for months.
So there is a lot of patience that you have to handle.

I'm not sure whether it is true when they say that:
Once you get into the orchid craze - you are "infected" for life. 
Personally, I tried not be caught-up with the fever but somehow it just gets into your skin.
Especially something that is exotic such as these - who won't?

My very first Dancing Ladies flower stalk. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Garden - May 2012

This is my continuation of the make-over of my garden. I'm still working around this area and still figuring out what is the best arrangement I can possibly make to make this space neat & beautiful.
And some occasions some of the plants are giving out the best in their blooms - Black Flamingo & Walking Stick Iris.

Above all - its still a lot of maintenance to consider when a plant overgrows or a pruning is required.
Never thought that its going to be a finished job - rather its very much like a constant ongoing work.
And the total standing and watching and looking and admiring takes a more time in decision making.
(in what stays and what gets moved)

All these pictures were taken using a camera phone - so please excuse me for the not-so-good quality.
Planning to take few macro shots of my orchids (if only I can get some new rechargeable batteries soon)

About Me

My photo
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.

Contact Me on the Form Above

Do put your queries on the contact form above and I will come back to you ASAP via e-mail. Also I'm open for any business / advertisement proposals / magazine articles / product sampling and sharing personal product experiences here in my blog. Also for specific plant queries where you need to send pictures for free consultation and plant help and aid.

Contact Form


Email *

Message *

Blog Archive

Popular Posts

Popular Post - 1 Month