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My Vertical Garden Wall

My Vertical Garden Wall


Sunday, March 8, 2020

Cowslip creeper (Telosma Cordata)


Telosma Cordata is known as Chinese violet, cowslip creeper, Pakalana vine, Tonkin jasmine and Tonkinese creeper. Locally known as Bunga Tongkeng and its a novelty as edible flower which is highly sought after for it is believed to aid eye sight. Often used to fried together with eggs or made into soup.

This particular plant was cultivated ages ago and appears to be rare but it's now slowly coming back into gardening community identified edible plants. 

It has a lovely fragrance during the night. A beauty that I would love many gardeners to cultivate these in the tropical region. 

Another thing this that this one is not easy to cultivate and maintain as a neat plant - meaning its behaves more on the wild side. Its very much more on the wild side and you must allow it to grow freely in order for it to produce many blooms if you are growing the flowers to consume especially after cooking them - they shrink their size and nothing much to consume anyway.


Just like any vine plants. This is one is easy to grow using cuttings.
However the diameter is very tiny hence it could be tricky where the tip cutting may develop rot due to the sensitivity of the stem. In this case, it would be good to have some spare cuttings planted to increase the success rate of chances of plant survival.

Take a slight mature vine and trim off the bottom part and plant from the bottom node with leaves stripped off allowing (2-3 nodes with leaves) 
Planting in a potting mix and keeping it in shade until new growth appears.
Once the plant established, place it where it can easily trail and grow around a fencing area and open to sunny area. (it is not a shade loving plant) It won't bloom in shade. 

It does bear fruit but the plant will slowly die away after setting seeds similar like blue-ear pea. The seeds are air-borne.


This plant is susceptible with mealybug and white flies infestation and often the flowers are often visited by ants due to its nectar bearing flowers. I'm not sure if that helps the plant by engaging the ants to be around to protect the plant from other pest attacks.


I had once fried the flowers with eggs and found the taste is very much fall in an acquired category. The flower taste is like eating something green (like a raw vegetable). Removing the ants from the flowers was quite a challenge - even putting the flowers in water only make them to embedded deeper into the flower and I had to cut each bloom into half to get them all out.

Another recipe - these flowers are used in a soup, you can mix these flowers with carrots, winter melon and a few other herbs. I have not tried that yet - however it may be more on a trial basis. As I have mentioned it is consumed more on the category for traditional medicinal purpose especially for better eye sight.

The flowers are quite fragile, handling them and taking these pictures had caused few of the spend blooms to fall off. However - I'm not having any intention to fry any of these yet.


The soil medium is very much of a basic standard potting mix, a balanced set where is has equal parts of all the elements to ensure good and steady growth. Do ensure that is has good drainage and also not so much like succulent mix either as it retains good moisture for better root growth.


Like most tropical plants, these requires daily watering however it does tolerate lack of water. Also too much overwatering can be detrimental to this plant as it may face root rot. Personally, I find this particular plant quite hardy and may able to handle a little more stress in comparison to other types of plants.


Being a Tropical 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 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 receive inadequate light.


One of the most challenging part for this shrub is pruning. They do grow in moderate speed however it can 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 hard wooden shrub - 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 plant blooms constantly on a daily basis.

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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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