Schefflera arboricola ‘Hong Kong Variegata’

Schefflera. 7 at P100. Branching shrub to 3 m or taller. Native to Taiwan, recently introduced to the Philippines. Prefers partial shade. The glossy leaves are variegated yellowy-cream and dark green. Propagated by tip cuttings. It is said that this plant bears seeds, from which it can also be propagated; however, my plants have not borne any fruit so far.


The Sedum is a perennial with thick, succulent leaves, fleshy stems, and clusters of star-shaped flowers. There are many types of sedums, which all have different uses: use low–growing varieties for ground covers and rock gardens and tall varieties for back borders. Sedums are easy to care for and the taller varieties are good as cut flowers. They are attractive to butterflies and bees.

I think I have a variety of Sedum spectabile. It has purplish leaves and stems and four-petalled red flowers borne in the usual Sedum cluster. A drought-tolerant plant, it needs very little care. While internet sources say it requires well-drained soil and the full sun, I have seen the variety I have flowering well under shady shrubs.

The Sedum can be propagated in various ways. Apparently it can be grown from leaves placed directly on soil. It grows roots and forms plantlets from stems lying on the ground; the part of the stem with the plantlets can be snipped off for planting. The usual way is, of course, possible - separating rooted stems from main clumps and planting them on their own. The Sedum can also be propagated from unrooted stem cuttings.

Selaginella willdenowii

Plant for the shade. Also called the Peacock Fern, the Selaginella is not a true fern but a club moss though its delicate leaves are frond-like. “It is quite astonishing to think that members of the genus Sellaginella still in existence today resemble plants that first developed about 350 million years ago,” says an Internet source. It is native to Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. The iridescent leaves of this “fern” look blue when the light strikes them from certain angles.

The plant needs shade and plenty of water. It can die back when left dry. Give low doses of fertilizer each month. Spray frequently. It can be propagated from branch tips that can be pinned down to compost or from division. Some species can be propagated from young plantlets that form on the leaves.

Some authors suggest that it can make a decorative cover in shady, moist garden areas. Plant for the shade. (Source: mainly

Solandra grandiflora

Cup of gold, chalice vine. 1 at P150. This is a large woody climbing shrub from South America. It has a woody base from which 2.5 to 3 m straight stems grow. The leaves are glossy and broadly elliptical. The chalice-shaped flowers are up to 15 cm deep, with long and tubular calyces that are as long as the flowers. Almost white at first, the flowers turn yellow-gold as they age; they have 10 purple stripes on the inside. They appear several times a year, usually in profusion, and are fragrant at night. This Solandra likes well-drained fertile soil and the full sun for good flowering though it will also grow in partial shade. It is easily propagated from young-growth cuttings. Flowering again in May 2004 and has not stopped flowering prolifically since then (it is now November). Only one or two flowers in December. Cuttings planted in November growing quite well in December.

Solanum macranthum. Giant Potato Tree.

This shrub (which can be trimmed to grow into a small tree) bears clusters throughout the year of showy large flowers that change from deep purple to lavender to white. Its velvety green leaves are large and deeply lobed with undulating edges. Some internet sources say this plant is also known as Solanum wrightii.

A native of Brazil, the Potato Tree belongs to the nightshade, potato, eggplant and tomato family. It is probably the only species of the family that grows into a tree-like stature, with a woody trunk and several major branches.

Each flower, about 8 cm across, has five fused petals and prominent orange-yellow anthers in the center, just like the potato flowers. The sweet-scented blooms are large, about 8 cm across, cover the whole shrub, and develop into roundish yellow berries, bearing seeds that can be used for propagation when ripened. The flowers are magnets for birds and pollinating insects like butterflies and bees.

The Brazilian Potato Tree is an easy plant to grow and maintain. Besides being grown on the ground, it can also be planted in containers and will flower well in them.

It prefers the full sun, but can tolerate light shade. Some sources say it should be watered regularly, keeping the soil moist but not soggy; others say it tolerates some dryness. A humus-enriched and well-draining soil will do it good.

It benefits from regular feeding. As the shrub can be unkempt or top-heavy, it should be pruned regularly to maintain its shape.

It is easily propagated from seeds and stem cuttings. It will bloom when it is still quite young.

Spathiphyllum wallisii

Spathiphyllum. 30 at P35. This plant has broad, dark green leaves and snow-white spathes. It makes an attractive ground cover for shady areas or those which receive filtered sunlight. It requires moist but well-drained soil. Once established, it multiplies rapidly.

Spathiphyllum wallisii 'Mauna Loa'

Plant for the shade. This a vigorous variety that grows to 3 feet tall. Like other Spaths, it has pure white blooms.

When caring for Peace Lily plants, remember that their leaves will indicate any problems. Brown leaf tips are likely caused by overwatering. Water thoroughly, but don't allow the soil to get soggy. It could also be caused by direct sun. Move it to a shadier spot and be careful not to overwater.

Spathiphyllum is mildly toxic to humans and animals when ingested. It contains calcium oxalate crystals, which can cause skin irritation, a burning sensation in the mouth, difficulty swallowing, and nausea. Keep it away from children and pets who may play with or chew on it, and wash hands thoroughly after handling it.

Spathypyllum wallisii ‘Sensation’

Plant for the shade. This is the biggest of the Peace Lilies. It can grow to 5 or 6 feet tall and, while it seldom blooms, the flower is quite impressive. The Peace lily is not at all demanding. It will thrive in almost any light situation other than full hot sun or deep shade. It does like to be moist at all times and will droop if it gets too dry but is quite forgiving and will perk right up after it gets a drink.

A planting suggestion: I have seen ‘Sensation’ in a grouping with a giant Bird’s Nest (Dapong babae), a giant-leaved Alocasia and the long-leaved (up to 90 cm) Nephrolepis exaltata. Really striking grouping and hugely attractive.

Spathoglottis plicata

Philippine Ground Orchid. Has underground corms and plicated leaves. Native to South-east Asia. This easily grown herb has pretty, arching broad leaves with prominent parallel veins and clusters of small flowers at the end of a metre-long stalk arising from a basal leaf axil. Flowers may be magenta, pale violet, white (all three of which I have in my garden), yellow, peach and pink. Leaves emerge from round pseudo bulbs that become increasingly multiple and larger as the orchid matures. Ground orchids can be grown as potted plants and also do well in beds and borders. They are extremely adaptable, and flower the year round. Propagation is by division of clumps.

Stephanotis floribunda

Stephanotis. Madagascar jasmine. 1 at P400. From the Flower Box in Barangay Bucal, Calamba. Has thick oblong dark green leaves and clusters of waxy white fragrant flowers. Should be watered and fertilized regularly. The vigorous climbing stems should be cut back once flowering has finished. Some sources say the Stephanotis likes bright light but not direct sunlight; others state that it likes to be in the full sun. It is propagated from 8-10 cm stem cuttings taken from non-flowering lateral shoots; the potting soil should be kept just moist.

Stromanthe sanguinea

Stromanthe Triostar. Plant for the shade. This is a wonderful plant to grow either outdoors or indoors as a houseplant. It is native to the Brazilian rain-forests. Being a member of the prayer plant family, the leaves fold up at night as if in prayer. The oval-oblong dark green leaves with a small pointed tail are variegated in shades of pink, red, white, or green. Indoors, it can grow to a height of 60 to 90cm (2-3 feet), but grown outdoors, this plant can easily reach 1.5m (5 feet). It produces reddish-pink flowers.

The Stromanthe should be kept out out of direct sunlight and be placed in partial to full shade. It should be watered thoroughly, taking care not to overwater. It should be fertilized regularly.

To propagate, divide any overcrowded clumps of leaves just as plants begin to make new growth. (Info source:

Strongylodon macrobotrys

Jade vine. Bayu. Tayabak. 1 at P1,000; 2 at P 400. Native of the Philippine jungle. Grows naturally along streams at low and medium altitudes. Does not flower readily in hot dry places. Rampant climber, grows high into trees or densely covers a trellis with its three-parted leaves, which are purplish or pale green when they first appear and harden into darker green. The flowers emerge from wooden stems. It likes moist but well-drained soil and, especially when young, its roots should be shaded. It is thought that in nature, the flowers of the jade vine are pollinated by bats. The sensational blue-green colour of the flowers shines in the dusk and is clearly visible to the night-flying mammals, which are attracted by the enormous amounts of nectar that each flower produces.

Strophanthus gratus

Scandent shrub from Africa. It produces long stems that can be trained over a support, or it can be pruned into a bush. It has purplish stems, large and leathery leaves, and trumpet shaped flowers which appear as purple-red buds and turn pink when they open. The flowers are long-lasting and can be used as cut flowers. The plant must be in the full sun to flower well. Propagated from woody cuttings.