Endemic Begonia Species Found in Palawan


    Manila Bulletin

The Philippine flora’s rich biodiversity is again shown in the discovery of another begonia species in Palawan. 

A team of researchers found two species of Begonia Begonia Tandikan and Begonia obscuribracteata — in an unexplored area of Central Palawan. The preservation of these species and their habitats is critical. The said species are found in unprotected sites, making them a highly possible target for poaching. 

According to the authors who published the discovery, begonias are one of the fastest-growing genus and the sixth-largest genus in the world of plants. 

Begonia Tandikan

Begonia Tandikan was first discovered in the Balsahan River in Puerto Princesa. It thrives all year round because of its habitat’s high humidity and shade coming from the forest. Its name was coined after the Palawan peacock-pheasant (Polyplectron napoleonis) or “tandikan,” a Philippine endemic bird with beautiful feathers that look like the foliage of Begonia.

Begonia obscuribracteata

Begonia obscuribracteata is another addition to the Palawan Begonias found in an isolated riverine area of Dumaran. This species can be easily identified due to its matted circular leaves and six ovary wings, twice the usual number seen in most Philippine Begonias.

About the researchers 

The begonias were discovered with the assistance of the Palawan State University and the Philippine Taxonomic Initiative (PTI). PTI is a non-profit, independent scientific organization focused on advancing the discovery and identification of plant and animal species in the Philippines. 

Yu Pin Ang, Lea Magarce-Camangeg, and William Cabanillas comprise the team working on this research.

Gardening: Philodendron Serratum

 It’s been a while since my last post about gardening. At the heights of pandemic last year, many people became plantitos and plantitas. Personally, I have been caring for plants in my small window garden even before the rising hype of gardening happened. 

One of my favorite houseplants are philodendrons varieties. Just like this Philodendron Serratum:

Such a beauty, isn’t it? 

Caring for this particular houseplant is very easy. It can thrive with bright, indirect sunlight and right amount of water – allow the top soil to dry out between watering . You might wonder why the featured plant is indoor. That is one of the advantages of collecting Philodendrons…Unlike most houseplants, they do not experience as much stress when moving from outdoor settings (from gardeningknowhow).

More about my houseplants collection in the next posts. See yah! 

Window Gardening version 3.0

Gardening remains one of my hobbies and stress reliever. However, for mixed reasons, I neglected my window garden once again. To tell you frankly. this is my 3rd attempt to cultivate herbs and ornamental plants in my mini garden.

Sometime between April – May while ECQ was in effect, my husband told me several times that he will clean the windows where my plants have been sitting for almost a year, some of them already withered…Then one day, I decided to clean the area, and repotted  the plants, mostly aloe vera that multiplied and grown on their own haha. 
 I started with two bromeliads (guzmania variety) which I bought from an online seller. 
And before I knew it, I am at it again. Joined few gardening and plant hobbyists group  on Facebook, bought plants weekly and now this is how my garden look like. 
I have  few herbs, too, such as basil, peppermint, oregano, and rosemary. 
Not photographed yet are my newly-planted sansieviera (snake plant) in our laundry area. 
Happy planting!!! 

Gardening: Cool Kalanchoe

Prior to consulting Mr. G, I am confused with mother of thousands and mother of millions – two succulents from Kalanchoe genus. But I think this plant I’m featuring in the post is a mother of thousands. 
This plant has a story. It was given to me by my colleague, a fellow plant addict. The mother plant is from another colleagues hometown (Nueva Ecija). This baby was previously placed in my desk along with some other succulents.  However, it was not growing properly there due to insufficient sunlight. So, I decided to bring it home. Before, it has a very slim stem and unhealthy leaves. Now, it’s growing like a normal mother of thousands 🙂
Based on my research, here’s how to spot the difference between the two:
Mother of Thousands has a broad, tear-shaped leaves.  They always grow in pairs, each leaf on opposite sides of the stem.  The next pair of leaves rotates 90 degrees, so that the new leaves do not block the sun from the old ones! Great! This leaf pattern is actually common in plants, and helps ensure all the leaves get enough sunlight. Each leaf has little ridges on the edge- this is where the baby plantlets form.

Mother of Millions, on the other hand, has very narrow leaves. It has four leaves that all grown from the same of the stem.  These don’t alternate like the Mother of Thousands. The plantets on these leaves only grow at the end of the leaf, near the tip. Mother of Millions is considered a toxid weed in Australia and Africa because it grows rapidly, even in the most adverse weather conditions. 
Image result for mother of millions


Now I know! 

Bird Cage Planter

This DIY project has been postponed for several months. One of the reasons was I had a hard time looking for sphagnum moss which is one of the materials needed to keep the plants in place. With the assistance of my daughter, we finally finished our pink bird cage planter. We planted succulents in it. My original idea is to put flowering plants like vietnam rose but I just worked with the available plants in my mini garden. 
This is it!
We are planning to create another that will look like this one. 

Aptenia Cordifolia

Aptenia cordifolia (common names: baby sun rose, heart leaf ice plant) is a succulent with glossy leaves and bright magenta flowers. It is a fast growing, perennial plant and commonly used as  ground cover. It also looks good as crawler and in hanging baskets.  When I first saw this plant, I was amazed by its glossy green leaves. Although some variegated Aptenia has light green leaves, others have yellow, white or purple flowers.  
It can be easily propagated from either seed or cutting. Based on my experience, I planted cuttings directly in the ground and flourished easily with minimal casualty ha ha ha. From initial two pots of Aptenia, I now have four pots including newly planted cuttings in a Dish Garden. 
Another thing I love about this plant is that is easy to maintain.  It grows in any type of soil and thrive in partial shade locations.  Regular watering is needed but must be careful with over-watering.
This is my Aptenias previously planted in recycled PET bottles. I already transferred them in plastic pots. 
Here are other varieties I want to add in my Aptenia collection. (Note: Credit to the owners of the photos)

Have a great gardening weekend! 

Top 10 Succulents for your Home Garden

I am pretty satisfied with my window garden. While the idea of expanding urban green space at home is good because we still have a vacant spot at the rooftop, I am afraid that it might be difficult to maintain.  So, I opted for smaller and easy-to-care house plants to maximize the small space. 
photo not mine
Found this list online – Top 10 Stylish Succulents for Home Garden.  I got a score of 1 out of 10, I only have plant #3 – Aloe Vera. My jade plant withered last summer.
Let’s proceed to the list. Just Google the names if you want to see how the plants look like. 
  1. Golden Sedum
  2. Hens and Chicks (Echeveria elegans)
  3. Aloe Vera
  4. Burro’s Tail (Sedum morganianum)
  5. Zebra plant (Haworthia attenuata)
  6. Echeveria “Lady Aquarius”
  7. Jade Plant
  8. Flaming Katy (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana)
  9. Queen Victoria Agave
  10. Black Rose
I’m keeping my fingers crossed in completing the list. Happy Gardening! 

Gardening 101: How to Propagate Bromeliads

I already mentioned this in one of my previous posts – I am currently obsessed with Bromeliads. Bromeliads are excellent houseplants because of its bright color, unique features, and hardiness.  In addition to that, propagating bromeliads is quite easy. 
I purchased my first bromeliad (the one featured in the photos below) last summer.  Since then, the mother plant has produced three offsets or in gardening terms, pups. 

When and How to Remove Pups

The plant seller once told me that this plant is generous in giving the owner new plants, hence quite easy to propagate. I doubt her no more! and based on my readings, the more you (properly) cut the pups the more the mother plant survive and produce more offsets. Isn’t it exciting?
Now, what is the proper way of cutting the pups?  Bromeliad pups can be safely harvested when they are 1/3 to 1/2 the size of the mother plant.  Use a sharp knife and scissors in removing the new plant and make sure that the mother plant is not injured in the process. 
Potting the Harvested Offsets

Prepare a small pot with a light, well-draining soil. Gardening experts suggest dipping the newly-harvested pups in fungicide before planting it. Due to lack of fungicide at home, I skipped this process.  So, wish me a bunch of luck that my three “babies” will grow despite my incomplete re-potting procedure.  Do not set it deeply in the potting mix.  
The 3 Important Factors in Growing Bromeliads are Light, Warmth, Humidity. 
However, newly potted offsets need bright indirect sunlight.  Be sure to keep the new plants watered but DO NOT OVER-WATER. Just like other plants over-watering baby bromeliads can cause root rot. 
When properly taken cared of, bromeliad propagation can be rewarding and can be a great and affordable way to build your collection.  
Are you a gardening hobbyist, enthusiast or expert? Don’t forget to share your gardening tips and experiences in the comments section just below this post. Thank you and happy gardening. 

Growing Succulents and Some Basic Supplies for Planting them in Containers

After receiving plants from my sister which included Aloe Vera and other succulents, I was inspired to collect more. Before I knew it I am running out of space in my window garden.
So here is the extension of my home garden – my office desk haha.
succulents in ceramic planters. the cute ceramic boots was a souvenir from a colleague who went to the Netherlands few years ago 

Planning to grow succulents? Here are some basic materials you need for planting this “cute babies” in containers. I got these tips from my favorite gardening blog, succulentsandsunshine.com.

  1. Succulents 
  2. Mesh tape or drainage screen
  3. A container (the ones with drainage hold are highly recommended to prevent your plant from rotting)
  4. Succulent soil (though there are readily available cactus and succulent potting mix in the market, you can always prepare your own soil mix)
  5. Shovel
  6. Top Dressing (you can use colorful gravels, pebbles, sphagnum moss, gems or beads)
That’s all for now, happy gardening! 

Roses and Bromeliads

I bought some plants for my teeny weeny garden last Saturday. Take a look at my beautiful pink roses and bright green (with red bulb) bromeliad.  I started collecting bromeliads because “we are friends”. I mean, this plant is very easy to propagate.  
I am very happy with my new flowering plants. 

 pink rose

bromeliad and money plant.