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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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Friday, November 27, 2020

Different Types of Callisia Species

 Similar to a Tradescantia species, this particular type seemed to intrigue me especially the beautiful foliage structure. I find that they are actually planted more as a hanging basket plant and viewed as a colony plant rather than a singular plant. 

I often find this particular plant species taken for granted, sort of more like considered as a nuisance than a houseplant especially when they grow leggy and do have invasive tendency.

However when maintained and cared properly this one can truly be a beauty. I want to share my collection and my experience with them and my thoughts on this particular species type.

I would really recommend this one for beginners as they are quite hardy and robust and the plus point of this particular one always come with vibrant colored foliage which give strong emphasize in small space garden or a hanging potted plant.

This is the List of Types of Callisia species.
Do click on the Name of the Plant for more detailed information
on this particular type to their link below:


                Callisia Repens 'Pink Lady'       


























Basic Plant Care:

As I mentioned earlier these are hardy plants and easy care, however these are some basics considering them.

WATERING
These ones prefers daily watering however they cannot handle over-watering and may easily rot away if they are in wet feet. They seemed to do fine if they are underwater but may shed lower leaves for it to survive.

LIGHT
They require bright indirect light - too hot may cause them to have burned leaves and too shaded may cause them to become leggy - looking for a light source and easily break due being too brittle.
However if they are in their optimum light position - the foliage appears to be vibrant and colorful.

SOIL MEDIUM
I find they can do very well in all range of soil medium - a well balanced fast draining soil medium works best and they seemed to be a surface plant and therefore don't require deep pot rather shallow pot will do. Also they are very much behave as a trailing plant and works best cascading or trailing plant.

FERTILIZER
Above all, these truly don't need any fertilizer - I just spray my general foliage fertilizer to all my plants and spray together on them.

PEST
I find that snail & slugs seemed to feed on their leaves and can be easily taken cared of by using mollusk pesticide.

PROPAGATION
The best and easiest method to propagate them using stem cutting - trim off the bottom leaves (2 nodes) and poke into the soil medium and kept them in shade for a week until new growth appears.
Also they do then to grow longer and the matured bottom part of the stem structure appear to leggy and messy. It would do look good and neat when they are trimmed and replanted.


Tradescantia fluminensis


By now, it may sound like a broken record of me repeating myself over and over again concerning a Callisia species in comparison with a Tradescantia and Spiderwort and their Growth and Care requirements.

I just wanted to make mentioned the variations and different types available and unique characteristics of this particular plant species.


I thought this one had morphed into all green due to lack of sunlight but I was wrong when I had closely inspected it and found that this is actually Tradescantia fluminensis but ditched all it's unstable variegation format.


I also found that this one is a slow grower in comparison to Callisia repens. I grew them together to give that color mix where the  dark stem seemed to be give a nice feature. I also find that the leaves seemed to have center folded crest. It does have a fragile appearance but able to handle direct sun and rain unlike the sensitive counterpart.


 I'm pretty sure there are many more types and varieties of this kind but I prefer to just cultivate this few. I had recently introduced one particular type and it had gone extremely invasive and wild and I was forced to get rid of it as it started to choke on other plants.

Please click on the Link below for the Main Page
For other basic information of plant Care and Different Types of Tradescantia Species:
Different Types of Tradescantia Species

Callisia sp. (wild type)


There is a childhood memory concerning this particular one. I still remember my mother used to grow this as a hanging basket plant and she showed me the magic about this plant where she snap the succulent leaves and it bleeds fresh liquid and it even gives that snapping sound when the leaves were fold.

That memory stuck on me, however during that time - people were not fond of their plant names rather just randomly identified as hanging potted plants.


Hence it is indeed a hand me down plants, it really never made it into the plant market. Also it does seemed to have an invasive characteristics where it can just grow wildly almost like grass. 

I had not found it's ID yet, I'm suspecting it falls into a Spiderwort or Tradescantia species as they seemed to look alike and have all similarities. 


I must say that this one is quite hardy and easy to care for and grows vigorously on the right condition. Just like all of it's counterparts - they love good direct sun, well watering and rich soil medium for optimum growth.


 I had experimented this by hanging it and it lasted for few weeks before falling apart. The stem seemed to be very durable and able to handle it's own weight unlike other Callisia species where it disintegrates when grows longer. Also the leaves don't look unattractive when they dry out (somehow it shrivels when dry and fall away without creating any mess)

Somehow, I doubt many gardeners are very much in favor of cultivating this one, I for one keep this particular one for memory sake and indeed it is a fairly an easy plant to cultivate and does well as a substitute for weeds and grassy areas.


Please click on the Link below for the Main Page
For other basic information of plant Care and Different Types of Callisia Species:
Different Types of Callisia Species

Callisia Repens "Gold" or Callisia Repens var.


At first glance I really thought it was Callisia Repens Gold but then it started to turn slightly paler almost like "Pink Lady" with the jaded tones of tiny pink dots.
I might be wrong on both ends however it is definitely not the common green type.


Also I find that it is slightly a bit sensitive and a slow grower plant. I had yet to notice any vigorous growth on this one. The plant do seemed to be compact in growth and somehow flimsy rather that having a good density clump. I must say - it is indeed fragile and can easily damaged if handled roughly.


Come to think of it, I realized that there are not much study is done on these particular type of ornamental plants except for few basic introductions on Watering/Light/Soil Medium - that's all have been introduced and often portrayed as an easy going plant.

I wished the plant vendors give more details apart from the plant origin rather give more details on how this particular plant had been cultured and developed - whether if it a hybrid and how was the process done and the place of origin and the months or years it took to develop the variegation process as such.


Like most plant - these types will eventually saturate into the plant market and slowly fade away if not cared properly. This particular Callisia do tend to disintegrate similar to "pink lady" type. Hence care is required not to expose to direct rain or hot sun and protection against snails and slugs.


Also constant pruning and replanting is needed to keep the plant fresh - as they tend to get leggy and may become matured. I found that some types - similar like Coleus species - if they are not cut and replanted, the plant tend to mature and die away. 

I'm pretty sure this one fall into that category.


 Other than that, it is indeed an fairly easy plant to care given all the requirement it needed. I had not seen it blooming - however the inflorescence may be insignificant given the factor Callisia only have tiny blooms.


Please click on the Link below for the Main Page
For other basic information of plant Care and Different Types of Callisia Species:
Different Types of Callisia Species

Callisia sp.


One of the most challenging part of finding out a common plant is identifying their ID. For instance - I know this particular plant had been in the gardening world for ages - often passed down from one generation to another like a heirloom plant - usually it comes from a grandmother who often says that this one is good to boil and drink like a tea - I still haven't find any reliable resource to authenticate this information.


What more elusive than it's name is there is no database that I can find in Google - with countless searching time - I had given up. Intrigued I suspected that it may not be a Callisia - perhaps fall into a different category such as a Tradescantia or a Spiderwort but even that I came to a dead end.

I had a little hope when I discovered some similarities of something known as a Teddy Bear Plant - However that is totally African and this is Asian. Another dead end.


As for now, I'm just setting it as a Callisia sp as I find that Callisia do have tendency where it can be edible unlike tradescantia species but again - I had come across that Moses Boat Leaves are also brewed as tea, hence it's more universal rather than specifically falling into a species ID.


Apart from all that. All the Care of the plant is very much similar with Callisia species - However this is a hardy plant which loves sun and prefers better in bright sunny area than planted in shade. Also do consider it as a trailing plant and it can become invasive thus do care not to let it overgrow on ground.


This is truly a very hardy plant and do not have much restrictions. The best control would be planting it as hanging plant thus control their growth behavior. Often it does get leggy just like any other types of this kind and thus it does require constant pruning and replanting in few month basis.


 If you had come across this one and know the ID, Please do let me know in the comment below.


Please click on the Link below for the Main Page
For other basic information of plant Care and Different Types of Callisia Species:
Different Types of Callisia Species

Callisia repens 'Gold'


Very similar to the common green type but this one is slightly sensitive and a slow grower. However it is much hardier compared to "pink lady" version. It does require some good sunlight for it to retain the gold coloration or else it will revert to a slightly jaded tones which can be unattractive.


All other care and requirements are very much similar like the "pink lady" version. Do take care to observe this plant time to time as they have the tendency to go missing suddenly if over exposed to too much rain or get attacked by pest especially snails and slugs. Sometimes rodents too love to nibble upon them and this can easily ruin the clump and therefore always keep a spare plant tucked in somewhere - just in case.


Other than that, It is truly a remarkable plant to cultivate - especially if you like challenging plants and love to upgrade your gardening experience to feel the niche in a way of growing uncommon plants.


Just to mention few pointers:

1) Watch out for overwatering
2) Good bright indirect light
3) Watch out for pest especially snails and slugs.

Occasionally spray foliar fertilizer for it to grow healthy and robust - it's a bit sensitive and therefore do check on the type of fertilizer and the dosage used.


 Please click on the Link below for the Main Page
For other basic information of plant Care and Different Types of Callisia Species:
Different Types of Callisia Species

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Callisia Congesta "Dragon Tail"


I had tough time figuring this one out, mistaken for a tradescantia species only found out that it is actually a Callisia. And because it is - the plus point about it is that this one is quite hardy.


This one requires some bright light for it's growing condition, placing it in even in bright shade seemed to make it unattractive, become green and leggy. 

However this one loves direct sun - the more the better. I guess it's known as Dragon Tail for that burning reason - the colored features only appear when it is planted in good light position.  


Propagation is fairly easy:
Just cut and poke 1-2 leaf nodes into the soil (removing the bottom leaves) and the leaving the tip at the top. They do tend to grow leggy and messy and so constant pruning is required to keep them neat and tidy.

The plant do tend to branch out new stem from the sides which can be an ideal place to trim and poke them into a new potting mix. However they do tend to grow long and leggy and may appear messy.


These do well in dry conditions however they can rot easily when water logged. Also the faded dry leaves tend to stick together with the stem making it look unsightly and therefore pruning the dried leaves can be tedious if you are keeping a big bunch.


I had not seen any pest on them so far and I would say this one truly a hardy plant and would recommend for new plant beginners. I had not yet seen these sold widely in any nursery making me to think whether it had really not hit strong in the plant market or perhaps it is now considered as a pass me down plants and so lost the popularity like most Callisia common species.



These grow carelessly by the side of the kerb bordering my garden space. Getting good bright sunlight is a challenge in my garden area.




Just to show how it appear to be when planted in shade - the leaves appear greener and fragile looking. It can snap easily when mishandled. The plant had sort of expanded in search of light - hence not an ideal plant to grow in shaded area.

Please click on the Link below for the Main Page
For other basic information of plant Care and Different Types of Callisia Species:
Different Types of Callisia Species
 

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

A Garden, the Birds and The Best of Pillow Talk


I must say that gardening is indeed a tiring work, though the rewards of tiling, working out the soil, planting, pruning and carrying heavy stuff and cleaning does sounds a good workout and refreshing - though it is so rewarding, the pain of labor does comes afterwards.

Especially when you have a back aches and neck pains, the suffering and pain comes with dividends on the next day.

So hitting the sack, so to say - a pillow talk:

Searching for that particular comfort zone for the ever aching-neck and backaches does sound like a very big deal, especially after a hard day work.
 


Recently I had given the opportunity to try out this product:
Origin Superior Coolmax Latex Pillow

This particular pillow however made it to be the
No:1 as the Best 8 Pillows in Singapore.

It has a latex foam cushioning and support which comes with a removable Tencel fabric pillow cover that is easy to clean and suitable for machine wash. The pillow will set accordingly to the shape of your head, and so it helps a good night sleep especially there is no need to readjust and set the pillows over & over again finding that comfort zone. Also it made with hypoallergenic properties that have lesser dust, bacteria or mold issues - If you are worried about hygienic issues.

I must say I'm indeed surprised that I don't hold my neck and self-massage myself recently - knowing these pain don't go easily and somehow without realizing - the pain is not there anymore. 



Founders of Origin Mattress, Shaun and Gee
Founders of Origin Mattress, Shaun and Gee
Photo Credit: Express Photography

A little bit about the founders:

The founders Shaun and Gee came up with Origin Malaysia to give consumers the ease of buying mattresses without the technical complications or breaking the bank. After extensive research and working with German design engineer, Frank Richter, they bought the patent and chose to manufacture locally in Malaysia.

Thanks to their founders, who understand that purchasing a mattress is a a long term investment but also a bank-busting business with pushy salesmen and endless unfamiliar terminologies.

Origin Mattress
 Website | Facebook | Instagram

Best in Singapore
 Website | Facebook | Instagram


Those darn, nasty pain in the neck!
It's Gone !!! 
(pun intended)

Thanks to this Pillow! 


What To Do With the Old Worn Out Pillow?

And so what to do with Old Worn Out Pillows,
especially when it comes to an issue of want not - throw not issue.
These are a few suggestion which I find a big deal when it comes to Gardening.




1) Make Kokedama Balls For Hanging Plants:

I find the synthetic fiber is very durable and ideal to wrap around into a ball shape form and fasten plant root-ball around it. Just stretch out the fiber material and roll around as an outer later. I use coconut chips as inside base material and thus this helps to hold all of them together.

Usually I had used this type of setting for orchids, dischidia, hoya and ferns.
However as for an experimental try out - I find that it does well even for Crypthanthus species - a Bromeliad plant commonly known as Earthstar Plant.



2) A Root Encouragement Layer Below Drainage Pot.

I find the plants does so well and well established when using these fiber below the drainage hole especially when watering these fiber holds water retention when do not cause root rot.

Often works best for aroids species like dieffenbachia, pothos and agloanema - as these are slow growing plants.


3) Material For Sunbirds to Build Nest.

A little bit of my garden video below:





I know it sound crazy but it is a common sight to find them weaving out these fibers for them to build the nest and often they make quite a song whenever they visit my garden. 

These birds known as Olive Backed Sunbirds are nectar drinking birds - I had planted my garden plants as such to encourage them to visit my garden often.

And so, these are so forth my pillow talk
Hope you enjoyed my story:

A Garden, the Birds and the Best of Pillow Talk:
Thanks to Origin Superior Coolmax Latex Pillow

Friday, November 13, 2020

Growing Begonia Hydroponic Method - Update 1 Year (Video)



This is my Update from my first experiment using a mop-wick system which I started from Sept 2019.

Over a year some had thrived and done so well, some lasted for a few months and died or gone dormant. Due to the past rodent infestation that faced had badly damaged most of my begonias. It had caused great damage to other plants as well and some of it had died out of stress. Once I had handled the pest control. 

The begonias began to pick up. 
The ones that really did well, amazingly thrived and grew large in super size. 

Here in this set-up are : 
Begonia Chivalry, Begonia Jolly Silver, Begonia 'Silver King', Begonia - U578, Begonia - U514, Begonia - Luzonensis, Begonia Aquamarine, Bethlehem Star.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Callisia Fragrans (Basket Plant)


Callisia Fragrans commonly known as a Basket Plant. 
I'm still figuring it out of all the names - a Basket Plant? Strange. 

Anyways I must say you will either love it or hate this plant. 
They are so hardy as you can just throw them anywhere and it would pick itself you and grow as that to say it really requires no care at all - Mine is actually growing on a roof -literally!

And thus it is so easy a plant - it can become invasive and so you may have to prune it down to keep the leggy appearance when it is overgrown.


Just like most hardy Callisia characteristics - this one is practically hardy and easy to care for.
It does require more on the bright light area to grow (Too shaded and it will become leggy and messy)




I also had noticed that it does have very beautiful variegated leaves but I had also found that it's coloration is unstable and thus will not really remain in that condition when it gives out it pups.


Propagation:

Usually you can trim the stem and replant it where new shoots will grow from the stem cuttings. Alternatively when nature takes it's cause - hanging pups appear with aerial roots very much similar in the appearance of a bromeliad - even the florets appears in the same features of a broms.

However the leaves are succulent and can easy damaged if handled roughly. Also just like any other Callisia species - I find snails and slugs do cause more damage on the foliage if left unchecked.


Over all, I would say this is the most easiest plant to grow without much care and would truly recommend for new beginners - though I had not seen them sold in any nurseries widely. Perhaps I had gone out of fashion and had become hand me down plants.


 I do still find them growing in abandon areas where it thrives along drain sides and roadsides - growing lushly without anyone caring for it. It is also sad to see that they are also be a tender plant when exposed to harsh elements the foliage is all but damaged - infested with pest and sunburned and the plant trying it's best to survive.

Please click on the Link below for the Main Page
For other basic information of plant Care and Different Types of Callisia Species:
Different Types of Callisia Species

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