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Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Brahma Kamal/ Saussurea obvallata

New Growth of Leaf in Brahma Kamal Plant
 The Brahma Kamal plant is very rare and has been declared as rare species amongst plants. This is commonly known as Brahma Kamal but it really is a variety of cactus. Commonly termed as Saussurea obvallata. Also named night blooming Phyllocactus Many people have this plant for religious purposes. There is a belief that the one who gets to the blooming of flower in this plant is very lucky. And I really do hope even I get to see the bloom of my brahma kamal plant.
Also known as Epiphyllum oxypetalum plant, Queen of the Night,  Duchman's Pipe,  Night blooming Cereus. With so many names it is a beautiful plant with green elongated leaves. This plant has some medicinal properties also which I have not personally used, but read about. Also some say the flowers are edible and especially people mention about the sweet heavenly fragrance of the Brahma Kamal  flowers.
The Brahma Kamal Plant
My experience with this plant goes back to when I viewed the flowers of this plant at my neighbour's. It is really a very spiritual, surreal experience. They had two flowers and I witnessed the full bloomed flower which was of white colour.The size of the brahma kamal flower is approximately the size of our palm.
Right since then the search began to find this plant for my garden. On inquiring from them I came to know that it had bloomed after some years. It is known that the flowers bloom at night say from evening and remains open only till the next morning. The wait is so long but the blooms are definitely worth the wait.
I have read that this Brahma Kamal plant blooms after five years, some say seven some say one but some mention that after purchasing the plant they have seen blooms after six months or even 6 weeks!. I think the age of the plant is very important for flowering and just like other plants that flower after maturing to an age of one year till five years even this plant may have a certain age for flowering.
I was unable to grow with cuttings and even one  garden aunty, as I called her gave me a Brahma Kamal plant. This plant took growth spurt but then fell into quiet for some months. I planted this in another pot but to no benefit.I purchased another Brahma Kamal plant and also planted this with the same. My trials for growing the brahma kamal did not end here. I took a small ceramic pot and planted a small plant in this. Finally I am at rest, no sight of it getting the growth spurt. It is alive but guess my cajoling, singing, music and spanking all was of no use. Wonder when this plant will get the growth spurt. All the plants are planted in one pot and left to its own fate.
This plant can be grown by cuttings or small baby plants of the mother plant. You can purchase it from a nursery or request for cuttings from anyone who has this beautiful plant. Since this plant has tentacles like leaves and looks quite ugly and shapeless the form can be controlled by cutting some leaves to encourage growth. Cutting is required after blooming of flowers as this will encourage fresh growth.
Fresh leaves come out of the original leaves and growth can be seen from side of leaves.
For starting new plants take the cuttings and let it dry for some days. This is very necessary to let the edges of the leaf heal. Once during the rainy season I had seen that this plant started developing roots from the leaf that dipped in the water of another pot. So this plant can also grow in water and in fact I think before planting a leaf cutting one can start the growth by placing the tip of the leaf in water.
Also needs feeding regularly for encouraging blooming. I have viewed so many pictures on the web about people who have posted good news of flowering of the Brahma Kamal.  

I have tried putting it in shade, direct sunlight, rains ..still am waiting! Journey of patience and hope continues...Hope to post the good news ...
Tips: Guess it does not like to be re-potted frequently. Let it be when once the growth spurt starts and do not move it even if the pot seems very small. The Brahma Kamala plant  definitely likes to be root bound so plant it in a smaller pot.
I have read that watering has to be kept at minimum , maybe this part also I have to take care since I can't help watering it along with other plants. Try to avoid placing it in direct sunlight as the leaves burn and plant may suffer. All The Best you will need it if you want to grow this plant!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Money Plant and Making a Moss Stick at Home

The Money Plant
This plant has been grown from ages, My childhood we had these money plants grown in glass bottles which were displayed on all window sills. They required very less care and grew only in water. Whenever this plant was grown in soil it had profuse growth and would cling to any nearby plant or wall and cover up the area. There was also the belief that growing this plant gives lots of money to the grower and people would steal leaves and stems of this plant in order to grow these money plants.
I had this plant over the years and gown in mud the plant roots clinged to the wall and grew very large. Leave aside the money part I did get scared of the profuse and thick growth of this fast growing climber or creeper. The leaves also grow very large sometimes if it is growing with the support of a big tree or near a continuous water source.
Now according to feng shui this plant was earlier considered a no no, as it indicated that the person growing this will flourish only when they get support of some one and people will always be dependent on support from others. By this belief many people threw away these beautiful plants and some people still avoid growing this money plant.
Leaving aside these beliefs now even in feng shui a growing plant is considered auspicious especially since this plant requires less care and flourishes in any environment, so will your business flourish without much effort.
Money plant has got its name since the leaves of this plant are similar to coins or money and this is best grown when it is planted in containers. I have grown this in water as the mud one grew out of control! The leaves of money plant are of light green, dark green or some times shaded green in colour. It can grow in any shaded area or even indoors. The new leaves come out from the tip of the creeper. Trimming side shoots will give you single long growth or cutting from the tip will encourage side growth to give a more fuller plant.
There are also moss sticks available in the market to guide this plant in the pot. One can also make a moss stick at home using rough rags and plastic stick or rod. Having a strong rod , cover this using a twine made of jute or cotton thread. Use cotton rags and avoid synthetic materials for making this moss stick to encourage growth. Plant this stick deep into the pot and then plant the money plant inside. It would be good to tie the plant to the rod at the base. As the plant takes root, and believe me this is a very fast growing creeper, the plant will send roots and hold on to the moss stick.
According to feng shui upward growing plants are very good for getting profits in business, and especially this money plant is used to promote money luck in the house or office. These plants do not require much care that does not mean that it will grow anyway. There are people who have tried growing this from cuttings and have not succeeded.
Tips: Watering in potted plants is similar to any other plant. Avoid direct sunlight as this money plant will not grow in areas having direct sunlight for whole day.
When starting a new plant from cuttings, first grow it in water. Let the roots develop and then transplant it in pot containing soil for better growth. Please do not allow this plant to grow on your home wall as the roots growth will weaken your walls making cracks which will lead to leakages during rainy season. (Please do not throw away these beautiful plants whatever your beliefs are, grow them in upward directions if need be,  it really may give you money luck!)
Control its growth to enjoy its beauty. The Money Plant has been from ages and is definitely a plant to stay for many.

A Space Cover Vine

Small White flowers on Creeper
The leaves of this plant are a red or shade of green and red. It produces white flowers and they look very attractive among the dark foliage. I have not searched for the name of this plant and this is a creeper or space cover plant, that is it spreads sideways.
It has small roots coming from the stem which gets transplanted by itself on the side of the ground.
This plant needs a shaded area that gets sunlight for some part of the day. This cannot tolerate direct sunlight and the leaves burn if placed in direct sunlight.
This is a very attractive plant to grow in containers and is best grown in hanging pots. It can also be guided on a trellis to cover any wall for privacy in your garden though I have left it in a small hanging pot, and it is very good to break the monotony in the garden with all green plants.
This plant is very good to use in landscapes as they cover up the area left by big plants in the garden. It can also be used to break the monotony of colour in any landscape design. Delicate fall plant looks good when it overflows from the sides of the pot.
Tip; Restrict over watering but do take care of watering schedules. Does not tolerate dry periods and the plant will wither off quickly when not watered daily. In case the plant is in the shade it will require less care as compared to the plant kept exposing to sun. Keep trimming dry areas of the plant, and off shoots to promote healthy growth and fresh leaf growth.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Rains and the Beautiful Amaryllis Flower

The bulb of Amaryllis plant has given plenty blooms and what a beauty to watch the new bud opening in the rainy season. This is a very attractive flowering plant which is grown from bulbs. Iam sure the size of the flower does command attention and is the highlight in the garden. Having got this as  a gift I was new to bulbs and this took a long time to bloom.

Close up of red amaryllis flower

I had planted this bulb in a plastic tub and this started multiplying like hell! within few months I had many little bulbs and no doubt it did not flower then. I had to leave this bulb many times outside of the pot, just in case it continues to multiply. But since I have planted it in a mud pot it gives flowers every six months. This post is  especially  dedicated to the new growth of the blooms.
Tip: Keep it in a small pot. If you give it more space it will start multiplying and all the energy of the plant will go in developing leaves. It likes to be root bound. Less water, partially shaded area but one that gets sunlight for some time of the day.

Red Amaryllis Flowers at Night

Close up of Red Amarlyyis Flower

Red Amaryllis Flower Close up of inner parts of Flower

The Center of Amaryllis Flower

Opening of Red Amaryllis Flower Bud

New Bud of Red Amaryllis Flower

Excellent photos of  red amaryllis flower, I love this!
All the Best from Rizwana!
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