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Archive for February, 2009

Growing Conditions

February 28, 2009 Leave a comment

I have received numerous emails about growing conditions and I will dedicate this post to this very wide and important topic. Knowing the growing conditions of your plants is one of the key to growing beautiful and healthy plants. The plants in the correct conditions experience less stress and able to function properly.

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There are basically 5 key growing conditions, light, water, humidity, potting media and feeding. By satisfying 4 out of these 5 conditions, your plants will be able to grow to its full potential! If you are good enough to get all 5 correct, plants will grow to perfection, more vigorous than those in the wild! In today’s post we will talk about light.

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Light is the primary energy source for plants. Without light, photosynthesis cannot be carried out and therefore food production stops. Different plants need different level of light, exposing to excessive light may cause “burns”. So how do we know how much light to provide?

We first need to find out the natural habitat of the plants. Plants in their natural habitats do not experience stress and they are in their perfect growing conditions. If the plants are found under the canopy of the tropical rainforest and therefore do not have access much direct sunlight, then we can deduce that these plants can do well under bright light or partial shade. Same goes for plants found in grasslands and constantly baking under the sun, it is best to grow these plants in full sunlight condition.

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In this way, we have satisfied part of these growing conditions. But most of us live in high-rise apartments and do not have direct sunlight all the time. Therefore it is best to grow these plants under direct sunlight for at least 6 hours daily.

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My Adenium finally flowered!!

February 25, 2009 Leave a comment

Adeniums, commonly known as “Desert Rose” or 富贵花, is a common flowering plant in Singapore. Grown for their pretty blossoms, Adenium flowers are believed to bring good luck and prosperity as the name suggested. Gardeners also grow them for their enlarged caudex, the swollen twisted stem of the plant.

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                    Adenium Flower                                        My Small Adenium Plant!

Native in arid habitats, this plant is drought resistant. Watering is needed only when the soil is dry… Overwatering will cause its enlarged caudex to rot. Their flowers come in many colours, red, white, pink or a mix of colours depending on the different cultivars grown by overseas nurseries. Some plants have grafted stems and therefore bearing different coloured flowers on the same plant!

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               A full bloom of my Adenium!                      More flowers coming!

I got this Adenium a couple of years back. It was just a small seedling and only seedlings will develop the enlarged caudex. Grown in partial sunlight, this plant did not flower for me until recently, a dash of flowering fertilizers made them start growing buds! Adeniums prefer to grow under full sun for at least 6 hours a day and they will flower even they are 6 months old! Potting media is a draining mix of sand and burnt earth, fertilizers can be added every 2 weeks or so.

African Violets

February 12, 2009 Leave a comment

African Violets (Saintpaulia ionantha) are small flowering plants found on rocky, mountainous terrain in Africa. Most of them are relatively easy to grow and constant flowering under right conditions, make them the most suitable plant to grow in offices and homes.

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Their leaves are are rounded to oval, and some are heart-shaped, are fleshy and hairy. They grow in a rosette from long petioles with cluster of flowers emerging on top. There are over 2500 cultivars to choose from and they are classified into major categories, based on size and flowers. There are the smallest, Micro African Violets spanning over 5cm and there are Large African Violets which can be 30cm across!

They  require cool environment and high humidity in order to flower. I have little success with them at home, where growing conditions are windy and warm. However they started growing vigorously and flowering well when I shifted them into my office.

African Violets are not fussy plants and do not need much maintenance. Water them when the media is dry and trimming suckers and leaves are all you need to do. Therefore, they are good candidate of office plants!