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Welcome - Malaysian Tropical RainForest Garden Blog.


Here is where I share all my tropical garden design, concepts, themes & experiences, secrets and tips in gardening, plant care, my plant discoveries, experiments of my trials & errors.

I'm blessed with the Hot & Wet Tropical Climate and my endeavour with Tropical Garden & Rare, Exotic Plants.

I am a Plant Enthusiast and Gardening is a major part of my life where I love to share my thoughts, experiences & life work.

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Tropical Garden, Batu Caves, Malaysia

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Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Different Types of Pilea - Names & Images

Unlike other species of the same genus -
I find pilea intriguing uniquely different from each other.
Surprisingly they are so different that you might had known that they are of the same species.

I had cultivated few of the famous popular ones like Pilea peperomioides (chinese money plant) or
Friendship plant (pilea involucrata)

Here are the list Pilea species plants
- specifically the ones which I had managed to cultivate and grow in my garden.

Do click on their names to get to the link to get into more detailed information
on their Care and Cultivation on each plant types and their characteristics.




 Pilea libanensis (True Name)










I believe there are so many varieties available together with the variegated types.

As for now, I'm sharing information based on the experience on how I care and cultivate them in my garden. I do wish to collect as many as possible on which I can get my hands on from purchasing from nurseries and exchange from other gardeners.

Pilea spruceana ‘Norfolk’ - Angel Wings



This one has similar appearance of another pilea (Pilea involucrata  - Friendship Plant) but of a different coloration.

There is another one appears to be like Coleus looking with big foliage formation with furry leaf surface. But then, that particular one is also known as (Moon Valley Friendship Plant) which is also Pilea involucrata.

This particular one looks similar like episcia foliage colors with creeping charlie similarities. This one is very succulent looking and therefore must be very caution with over watering as it had died on me rotting.


This one is a larger version of compact foliage formation where the leaves are oval puckered leaves are bronze red with notes of grey, brown and black a version with much brilliant tones.

I believe this one is known as
Pilea spruceana ‘Norfolk’ is sometimes called Angel Wings or Silver Tree.

This is a slow growing plant and may prefer the brighter side of shaded area. Also it is a magnet for mealybugs. Once I had long but lost the battle with this pest followed by scale insects which was farmed by ants - the culprit.

Plant Care:

Bright shade with controlled watering - too much rots the plant from the root base.
Medium should be fast draining and moist - keep the medium dry before the next watering.
Also do check the foliage underside time to time for pest infection such as mealybugs or white flies.


Pilea involucrata - Friendship Plant




I have been searching for the ID and found it may be mislabeled as
Pilea involucrata  - Friendship Plant.

There is another similar looking one appears to be like Coleus looking with big foliage formation with furry leaf surface. But then, that particular one is also known as (Moon Valley Friendship Plant) which is also Pilea involucrata.


This one has smaller compact foliage formation where the leaves are in lighter notes of grey, brown and black coloration with trailing behavior.

This particular one looks similar like episcia foliage colors with creeping charlie similarities. This one is very succulent looking and therefore must be very caution with over watering as it had died on me rotting.





Adding to another mystery - there is now two different types.
The other has compact foliage formation where the leaves are oval puckered leaves are bronze red with notes, a version with much darker tones.

This is a slow growing plant and may prefer the brighter side of shaded area. Also it is a magnet for mealybugs. Once I had long but lost the battle with this pest followed by scale insects which was farmed by ants - the culprit.

I'm pretty sure there are many more variants and hybrids which may prove challenging and exciting to collect and cultivate.

Plant Care:

Bright shade with controlled watering - too much rots the plant from the root base.
Medium should be fast draining and moist - keep the medium dry before the next watering.
Also do check the foliage underside time to time for pest infection such as mealybugs or white flies.


Monday, April 27, 2020

Alocasia Odora - Night-scented lily


This particular plant more likely looking like an elephant ear plant is the most common one you will ever find growing everywhere like a wild plant. 

This one may be considered like a weed and may be mistaken for a yam 
- this one though (alocasia odora) is not edible.


Alocasia odora commonly known as night-scented lily, Asian Taro or giant Upright Elephant Ear.

However I must emphasise that this is NOT a Colocasia species where it is considered as a Taro (which is edible) 

This one unfortunately is NOT TARO and had caused poisoning over the confusion over the difference of the species - especially Alocasia contains the needle-shaped raphides (calcium oxalate crystals) in the plant cells.

Though the appearance looks similar - they are different plants.




Care & Maintenance:

Considered fairly easy as this is a tropical hardy plant similar to most bog aquatic characteristics they do love water but can tolerate without them too.


Propagation: By Tuber Division.

When the tuber grows big, cut into several pieces and let it totally dry out for few days and plant it in a rich potting medium and observe for new growth. Once the plant-let sprout out 2-3 new leaves, transfer into a separate pot and let it allow to grow more freely with root space.

Also this plant do give out new plant sprouting from it side which can be easily removed and replanted separately.


Plant Care:

Light: Bright Indirect Sun Area to Semi Shade Area.
They can be grown on direct sun but requires a swampy condition - loves wet feet areas.

Watering:
They love over watering and can also tolerate dry conditions but won't grow bigger than usual in dry conditions.


Feeding: 
General Plant Feeding Care - not too particular as this is not a sensitive plant

Pest: 
Spider mites might be found at underside of leaves.


This particular one is growing in total shade. Note the dark green sheen on the foliage. I had not seen the foliage point upward straight especially the tipping point. Also this one is totally have the leaf fully covered by where the stem is connected.

Hence I believe this one is Alocasia Odora due to that feature.


This is the underside of the foliage.




Also this is the common aroid flower - that appears with two parts of the flower parts.
The stick looking thing inside the hood is known as spadix.
The covering hood is known as spathe and the bottom bulb like cover is known as floral chamber.

Normally the Peace lily plant or Anthurium will have a well defined floral structure that can last for months - this one may last for few days.


Eventually pollination will take place with berry like seeds appearing on the spadix which will be propagated by birds or it's animals that eat it and the seeds deposited in their dropping.


Do click to the Link Below 

To check on the Main Page Concerning Different Types of Elephant Ears Alocasia:
Different Types of Alocasia - Names & Images

Pilea microphylla - Rockweed


Pilea microphylla also commonly known as rockweed, artillery plant, gunpowder plant is actually considered as a weeds and rarely cultivated. 

They are easily found along drainside or mossy areas.



This particular one had started growing by itself on a kokedama ball, some of the seeds would had airborne or would have occurred from some other source and started to grow here. At first, I often pull off and throw them away as weed and as usual it still comes back time after time.

Then, I just thought it does look good when it was small and sort off create a tiny arrays of miniature plants and I had let it grow for these moment. Later did I realized that these are actually pilea species.


Surprisingly for this humble plant is being used as traditionally as folk medicine to treat several ailments. I doubt to recommend their uses as there are some contentions and require more research and study on these matters.


I would find it hard to believe if anyone is seeking to cultivate this one but if you do - these are some pointers:

Light
This is a shade loving, high humidity plant - do grow it in bright shade area - too hot & it will burn, too wet and it may rot away though it may able to tolerate and withstand wet feet.


Medium
I would recommend to grow this on sandy medium mix with moss. They can also grow on moss surface by the drain-side or on a clay bricks. 


Water:
This may require on humid side and therefore requires constant watering - too dry and hot may cause this one to dry off and wither away.


Propagate:
This is a self-propagating plant - so therefore do feel free to uproot them off if they started to sprout out elsewhere as it is invasive - one of the reason this is considered as a weed because of this reason.


Anyway, do share with me your thoughts on this particular plant - I hope you find this particular one interesting.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Pilea cadierei - Aluminum plant


I would consider this a big surprise to note that this is actually a pilea.

Pilea cadierei commonly known as a Aluminum plant, a very popular plant grown for the lovely white silvery spots on the foliage surface.


Light:
This one require more on the sunny side for the white silver spots to appear on the foliage. Too shaded and the leaves will be more green than the silver. Also it may become leggy looking for sunlight.


Watering:
Just like most plants - this may require daily watering on a hot day. Do refrain overwatering especially during rainy days as it may cause root rot.



Medium:
Normal potting mix - I find this one is not fussy - it can grow in any normal soil condition.

Pest:
I had hard times battling with mealy bugs and white flies that heavily attack at the underside of the leaves. I suspect it could be due to lack of sunlight as my garden is very much shaded.

Unfortunately the plant suffered badly from the heavy ordeal of pesticide and the continuous pest attack and eventually died. I did not introduce the plant back due to fear of the pest might infect other plants and I'm not keen in applying pesticide in my garden.



I might start trying again later as I'm keen to collect all the pilea species together. I'm totally unable that the pilea species does so well in my garden without much care.


These are the pictures of my garden where I had planted them years ago. As I mentioned I haven't cultivated them again and thus do forgive me for introducing them here as they are from years of experience before.

I guess it is something like memory lane - some plants do stick with you forever and others pass you by. I wonder if I still miss them - perhaps I might try again if I can ask my friends around if they still have them in their garden.


Pilea nummulariifolia - Creeping Charlie


Pilea nummulariifolia commonly known as Creeping Charlie.

The leaves are oval shaped with bright glossy green with wrinkles on them. It is a soft pink veins only appear in that color when exposed to direct sun. When planted in shaded area - the foliage does appear to be larger and dark green.

This cascading basket plant is often mistaken for a mint plant. I often prove my curious friends by pinching the leaves and ask them to smell as this one is without fragrance. You should see the shock of disappointment as all of them thought that this was mint and therefore wanted to use it for culinary purposes.


Care and Maintenance:

I often heard that many of my gardener's friends had killed due to overwatering and overfeeding.
I would advise to consider it as a weed plant - to let it grow as ground cover and let it be. I rarely water them in this side of the garden (almost at the border of the drainside) and so it's quite unreachable from my angle from the garden.


Light:
Recommend it for bright direct light for few hours in a day. They can also grow in semi-shade location. 

Medium:
Normal potting mix - I find this one is not fussy - it can grow in any kind of soil condition.


Feeding:
Do be cautious on the feeding though - as I had heard report they don't fair well on over-feeding.
And strangely might thrived without any care at all.

Watering:
I would recommend watering it daily on a hot day. They can appear burned and very light green to yellow shades with burned spots when lacking water - however this is a hardy plant.



Note: 
There are concerns that this can be invasive as their trailing behavior can overtake and overgrow.
And I would recommend that if you have such fears - do grow them as basket plants and they do good as cascading plants.

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