Sunday, January 8, 2012

Start of the year, start plants

Gardening in the tropics is much unlike that of the temperate or subtropical climates. We have annuals, biennials and perennials. The annuals germinate at the start of the rainy season and finish life during the dry season. Biennials, are of course on the ground for two years after which they finish fruiting and then die. Our perennials are real perennials. They are always on the ground unless we uproot them, or prune them severely, or destroyed by typhoons!  

I have been blessed with some blogger friends who are generous to send some seeds. Lily is mostly growing lilies, her namesake, although she also grows some annuals. She also tried breeding and exchange her seeds with some other breeder-hobbyists across the globe. Lily, The Suburban Gardener from Illinois, sent me seeds and bulbs through the post office at the middle of 2011. She painstakingly gathered seeds from her own plants, put them in personally made small packets, and placed them in a bubble sheet envelope. We were discouraged at first because we thought the package got lost in the mail. It came much later than our expected date. This might have caused most of the seeds to loose germinability. There are more than 10 different seeds, but did not germinate successfully. Only 2 seeds and  two bulbs were successful and now growing steadily.

Being excited of growing temperate plants not common here in the tropics, I might be rewarded of some success. 

A few coneflower seeds germinated although with a very low percentage germination

Gaillardia showed higher percentage germination

All the Lycoris radiata bulblets sprouted and they seem so happy with our sunshine

The four Rhodophiala bulblets also grow well, with very long leaves of more than 2 ft each. I don't know if that leaf length is normal, because they are so thin and long.

Allium purple is not successful, different unwanted seeds are growing in its pot.

Clematis blue did not germinate as well, and its pot is conquered by Impatiens balsamina volunteers

I bought a pack of petunia to indulge my mother's patience in watering my plants when I'm away. She must see some flowers if my experiment will not be successful. She is 81 and getting plants to flower is happiness!

At least the petunia is already giving its first bloom. My mother will not see the experimental plants until a few years from now.

 To go with the temperate seeds, i also planted Eucharis grandiflora from a neighbor. It already produced some leaves. At the front are my transplanted Gaillardia from its germination pot.

I am trying to grow this Clerodendrum in a pot. It is commonly growing in our unfarmed areas. It is now beginning to show the start of flowering. I just don't like the smell of its leaves.

I salvaged this  Crysothemis pulchelia from totally drying last dry season. Then I saw a lot of germination in a pot which turned out to be this plant. I didn't know it seeded and now regaining its ground.

A lovely Coleus looted by my mother from a neighbor. Its first leaves are big and real beautiful.

And to complete my newly planted or newly acquired plants, this Epiphyllum oxypetalum is now producing its first shoots happily. In two years i will witness my first Queen of the Night bloom, if ever i can wait until midnight.


  1. I'd really love to see a Queen of the Night in full flower - it's one of my botanical ambitions. I think sowing seeds is a great way to celebrate the start of a new year - I sowed my sweet pea Lathyrus odoratus seeds on January 1st.......

  2. So splendid is the growing of lilies from seed.. but beware of dominance. So many years I waited before the flowers bloomed and then dominance [ck out Greg Mendel, his peas and the founding of genetics] took over-- no more yellow nor purple all became white.

    Though the white were more strongly scented. I did miss the variety of color--the yellows were so like butter and the purple did remind of spent sunsets.

  3. Hello Phil- thanks for coming over. Will it grow in your conservatory? Teach me if pollinating it is easy, meaning is there no problem with time of receptivity, and i will try it and send the seeds, haha!

    Jean - yes my lily bulblets might turn out to be recessive, but be that as it may, i will still love it because there are no Lycorice nor Rhodophiala here in the country, and they are kindness from a very far country. And what is lovely with ornamental plants is that variation is sometimes more beautiful. I have to still search, but who knows they might be sterile. Our orange-red amaryllis are sterile, so they are invading our property and still true to type. Thanks for coming over here, i hope you visit again.

  4. That is fantastic germination rates. It's so nice to see those little starts grow and become beautiful plants.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

  5. It's so good to see so much progress in your garden. The Queen of the Night looks awfully healthy. Today I just destroyed my Dragon Fruit Plant (Pitaya) which is very similar to the Queen. While you are busy growing, I've been busy with pruning, weeding, mulching, destroying and harvesting.

  6. Good luck Andrea with your temperate plants. It was nice of Lily to send on seeds and bulbs. You are right about typhoons, nasty, nasty, nasty. We are so lucky not to have weather like that here.

  7. Hi Andrea, I would expect growing temperate plants in your part of the world is as challenging as our attempts to grow the exotic. The perennials in our part of the world also flower year after year.

  8. Andrea - I agree about the smell of clerodendrum leaves. Clever idea to use plastic spoons as markers.

  9. Sunray Gardens - Oh no, it's not! I planted lots of seeds and it looks only less than 10 plants germinated on that first pot for the coneflower!

    One - I had also destroyed lots of plants during the holidays. I and my nephew cut 2 avocado trees, which are already maybe a foot in diameter. I cleared some areas for sunlight to see my plants. Anyway, we have lots of avocado volunteers in the property.

    I am sorry for the dragon fruit, but if you really have small garden area it covers a big space. But you might be like Autumn Belle, who after killing a plant become guilty! I am having problem now also with my mother's bougainvillea planted on the ground, it gets too big.

    Donna - yes Lily is so generous. But i am so sorry, out of 14 plants, only 4 germinated well. Yes you are lucky not to have typhoons, but you have ice, which can be damaging too. I don't know if you get hurricanes like the other US States.

    Alistair - yes it is very challenging, but the bulbs easily acclimatize and adopt. However, the seeds don't even germinate, and the 2 out of 12 that germinated might have problems in flowering later, let's hope for the best.

    b-a-g -- you are the only one who mentioned the spoons, am i a very good recycler or reuser of non-biodegradable plastic! I am sure you also noticed my pots for the bulbs, i haven't bought pots yet that time and am already excited to plant them. So i used an old kettle and half of the bottled water gallon. It is so difficult to put holes on that old kettle, but it is nice now! hahaha! thanks.

    BTW, the Clerondendrum is not so happy in a container, in the wild it grows a meter before flowering.

  10. I'm very impressed, both with your experiments and with the results. You must have a lovely garden for your mother to water wen you are away.

  11. So envious of those that have passion for gardening ... and talent at that.

  12. Salute your mum, at 81, and still enjoying the flowers and garden... hope your queen of the night comes on well...

  13. That petunia is beautiful! Good luck with all the other seeds that you sowed!

  14. Andrea, It was so nice to have you visit and leave your comment! I hope these seedlings prosper for you! Everything looks wonderful so far!!

  15. Andrea I am amazed at how many plants are growing. It seems such fun to experiment. Hoping many of the seedlings grow into nice healthy plants!

  16. You gave me an idea to do simple gardening (I do not have a green thumb).

    I will recycle my cat litter box cut a hole and use it as a planter.

    I see coleus here everywhere in the botanical gardens. You are good with (botany?) with naming your plant species!

  17. LOVE your wonderfully germinating plants! Can't wait to see them in their glory.

  18. It is plant catalogue season here in the US. Everyday is Christmas at the mail box! So many plants I want to grow and seeds I want to buy. I'll be trying to grow tropicals while you grow temperate plants. Nothing is more exciting that sprouting seeds. I must be more vigilant this year for sudden frost that kills seedlings.

    Does Queen of the Night flower open just for one night? We called it Keng Hwa - it opens at night and closes not long after midnight. Suppose to be a Lucky flower.

  19. Hi Andrea! Do you know where I can buy the queen of the night plant in the Philippines? Have a hard time looking for it. Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Adeline, I cannot see your email address so I hope you can see this reply. Will you please email me at, i will show you how to get the EO.


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