Monday, December 2, 2013

Our Common Hedges

Crotons or Codiaeum variegatum has been here in the country 'since time began', as is commonly said. In my mind it is a native species. However, my search shows it originated from India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and western Pacific Ocean islands. That means it is a naturalized species in the Philippines. They grow favorably well here with us, and i love their many varieties and variations of leaves within a variety. Wikipedia said there are several hundred cultivars already bred in crotons. I even found a variety named 'Andreanum', oh maybe i should be planting that one. I hope to convince my neighbors that it is named after me! LOL.

 We have a few of them near the side of the street, serving also as hedge. I noticed that this one plant shows a very distinct brightly orange leaves, with very less green patches like the rest of them. When pruning time comes i hesitate to do that in this special plant. It is at the leftmost part in the photo below.

A clump of them aesthetically grows shorter than the heliconias, so provided a good growth and leaf color contrast. But my special plant at the left-most portion stands out with its bright lighter hues. This clumps of growths also conceal an area in the property which i intentionally hide from the street. And when the heliconias bloom simultaneously, it also provides a good show to the passersby. But not many know that croton's sap is very toxic to humans! Don't be scared, i haven't heard of someone's death caused by croton poisoning.

Another perennial presence with us is the candle flower, Pachystachys lutea.  The top left photo lives up to its name as candle flower, those golden structures are actually the bracts. The real flowers include the white protrusions shown at the right photo. 

The above hedge is the continuation of our hedge next to the crotons and heliconia. It is planted on a sharp slope because of the street below. On top of the hedge are tall fruit trees like santol, duhat and citrus. Further down the candleflowers is a long queue of Dracaena fragrans, which we already cut because they are already very tall and might bend to the passersby during typhoons.

At the other side of the street opposite the crotons are also Dracaena fragrans, which we commonly call fortune plants. The name maybe came from its very seldom flowering habit. But we have been very "fortunate" as we get blooms every year! Some of you who fairly know how the flowers smell like, you decide if the owner is really fortunate at all. When the spikes bloom at the same time, you will not think twice in putting the axe on them, as in you will unhesitatingly guillotine them!

This is the last photo of this dracaena hedge, before my mother and sister decided to cut all of them to just a meter high. With that, flowering will be curtailed this year!


27 comments:

  1. Hello there:) I have grown these lovely plants here in the desert but they make better house plants. However, the Croton is very fussy for me and I can never get the right water-dry mixture:)

    I hope you are doing well and that things for your country are getting better. You have been on my mind. Several of those smaller islands are really in bad shape. Sending positive thoughts your way.

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    1. Thank you very much my friend Kreesh! I am okay and doing fine, not personally affected by the calamities. But my friends are and have some difficult time. God bless you for the positive thoughts and concern.

      Crotons are not taken care of in these parts of the world, they are supporting themselves as long as they are on the ground.

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  2. coming here is a learning experience each and every time. i'm familiar with the first plant, which i just learned of the name here :) and have been growing in my mother's garden when i was a child. we also always had fortune plant, many of them bec as my mothre would say more fortune the better; the candle flower i've never seen it anywhere in the philippines sadly.

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    1. Thank you so much Maria for the appreciation, and i am glad i have something to impart to someone. All of these plants are self supporting come rain, come shine, i just prune them before the start of the rainy season to reduce the growths. I think you should have a vacation here and let's meet in Manila.

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  3. The candle flower is gorgeous!

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    1. yes ladyfi, you're right. And they don't need caring.

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  4. Very pretty. They would be nice as a houseplant where I live perhaps. I'm sure they would not survive the ocean winds in the summer time let alone the harsh winters.

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    1. You should have a greenhouse to raise these tropical plants. Someone in the very cold part of Edmonton, Alberta raises a lot of these plants in her greenhouse. In fact they are even more beautiful there than ours.

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    1. I love the vibrant colours of crotons and have make several cuttings to be planted in my new house. Pachystachys luteas are ny favourite too as they bloom non-stop. The new cultivars from Thailand are exciting but tend to be on the expensive side.
      Today the students in our Faculty collected many boxes of food and clothing to be passed over to Red Crescent for distribution to those affected by the typhoon.

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    2. Thank you very much Elsie Xie, may God bless all of you for your concern and generosity. I just see on the news now that more bodies are still seen floating under the San Juanico Bridge in the area.

      Please post the photo of the new cultivars from Thailand. By the way, i am glad i learned something about you, as there's not much info in your blogsite, haha! No wonder you write very well.

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  6. Crotons have such gorgeous leaves!

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    1. There are many croton varieties, and each one is lovely with all those mosaic leaf colors.

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  7. The Crotons have fabulous colour! Lovely to see the Candle flower.

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  8. I had a Croton hedge when I lived in Hawaii. I think the British carried them everywhere. Very nice photos. Good luck convincing your neighbor. Dianne

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  9. I love these beautiful and colorful plants. Lovely series of photos.

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  10. It is really nice to be able to learn about plants which live in a climate so different from mind... Very nice post Andrea... Michelle

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    1. Yes Michelle, am also glad that blogging informed me of a lot of temperate plants, and plants with wide range of adaptation

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  11. Hi I was looking at Pusa's kittens and left a comment, but I think you closed the comment section. I would like one of Pusa's kittens, but we are too far away in Washington DC.

    Regarding spelling of words. I grew up in the American South and the English is slightly different. The South retained many British spellings and some parts still do. Spell check doesn't distinguish regional variations, so depending on who you read, spellings may vary. Dianne

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    1. Thank you Dianne, am smiling at your comment now. I can send you as many kittens as you want, whatever color except purple, haha!

      About the term, I was just actually looking from your site your location coz I really thought at first that you're British. I also looked for colour as indicator, but none! Glad to meet you here. Kittens on the way

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  12. Crotons are so pretty, I would love to grow one as a house plant. I saw Pachystachys lutea growing in the greenhouse when I was in Montreal. visiting the Botanic garden. It was flowering, I took a photo of it. I have never seen a Dracena flower, I guess I'm not very fortunate :).

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    1. hahaha Melanie, it has to flower with your growing care, that is the belief. Everybody knows that is probably just a joke because they don't flower easily. But if nice emotions in seeing them with scented flowers is the secret for triggering good vibes, then it must be true. If your seeing it invoked happy emotions, then maybe it's the same. LOL.

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  13. Your photos remind me of the botanical gardens in Florida, where most of these plants thrive. I especially remember some very healthy specimens of the orange crotons that you show at the beginning of this post. They're lovely!

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    1. Hi Beth, yes Florida grows tropical plants, they even have better plants than us maybe because of the lower temperatures.

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  14. Crotons are a great houseplant here. I had never seen it growing in the wild...how interesting the way it grows there.

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