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Archive for June, 2009

Pretty Vining Plant

June 21, 2009 3 comments

The Star Glory (Ipomoea quamoclit) is a species of Morning Glory native to South America. This is a long vining plant which can reach a height of 6 metres if grown under ideal conditions! It produces red star-shaped flowers about the size of a 10-cent coin in the typical morning glory trumpet shape.

Plants_0001Red Stars! 

The leaves resembles palm leaves which are deeply lobed, so that they can will not get lacerated by strong winds from their tremendous height. The Star Glory is an easy to grow plant which need at least 4-6 hours of direct sunlight and well-drained soil, makes a good candidate for apartment growers.

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Plants_0004Developing fruit 

This is a very vigorous growing plant which hit my ceiling within a month when I planted it! The plant started slowly and picked up speed when it starts to vine. Flowers started to appear in the 5th week, and soon, the plant is decorated with small red stars. Unfortunately, the flowers only lasted a dayand quickly replaced by many emerging blooms! Also a common roadside plant, Star Glory is recommended to beginners too!

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The “Universal” Potting Mix

June 9, 2009 1 comment

I find it very amusing whenever my audience tell me that the “secret of growing plants” lies in the potting mix! The use of appropriate potting mix is no doubt an important aspect in gardening, but there is no secret about it. Different proportions of various media are dependent on growing conditions too, that is why not all potting mix will be successful for every gardener.

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Clockwise from top left: Peat moss, Vermiculite, Sphagnum moss and Perlite

One of my commonly used potting mix is the peat moss, vermiculite and perlite combination. The main advantage of using such mix is it enables you to control water retention and draining capabilities by altering amounts of certain media. If water retention is preferred, more peat moss can be added. Same goes to water draining, where I will put more perlite into the mix.

Another positive point is the mix generally contain zero minerals. There is no nutrients in the media which I will be able to gauge the amount of fertilizers being added. This zero nutrient characteristic will mean it is also suitable to grow carnivorous plants!

IMG_1145Equal mix of 3 ingredients 

This mix is also known as the “soiless mix”, where the “ingredients” are mostly artificially processed. This non-natural mix is also an “open” mix, which is very well aerated and well –liked by many plants.

Additional media can be added to the mix too. Long fibre Sphagnum moss can be added to the bottom of the pot to stop leaking of potting mix or added to the top to increase water retention and lower evaporation rate. The basic rule to follow is equal parts of perlite, peat moss and vermiculite, and additional media depending on growing conditions.

I would recommend the use of this mix with smaller plants like Gesneriads (African Violets, Sinningia), bromeliads and carnivorous plants (Pitcher plants, Sundews). It would not be wise to use this mix on larger plants like Chiku or vegetables, as they prefer natural soil with nutrients and this mix can cost quite a bit when used in large quantities!