Garden Mid Autumn 2015


Autumn 2015

Autumn 2015

Right now the ground is still wet from the storm early this morning. The very frequent lightning strikes and rumble of thunders woke me up. In general, autumn this year is mild and cool, plants look fresh and many are still blooming. The Hibiscus are still flowering and some of the roses are showing off the remaining autumn blooms. Some of those that flower in autumn are making themselves ready to bloom, like for examples the lucky jade Crassula ovata, Thryptomene and Zygocactus. The dwarf Nandinas have turn into vivid maroon bronze colour, while the Miltonia orchids are in full bloom. More


Flowering Succulent Plants

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It rained so heavily last night and now it is still cloudy and cool 19 deg. C. We had planned to see Comet Ison on Sunday before dawn, but it seemed that this comet did not make it through its journey close to the sun. It is just gone out of sight.  Images from NASA spacecraft showed Comet ISON approaching for its slingshot around the sun, but nothing coming out on the other side. Very sad and disappointed, but at least I have seen the best one so far (Ikeya-Seki).

Note on Ison Nov.30,2013: The latest news…. apparently a tiny part of Ison nucleus has survived and it has been seen coming out from behind the sun. It looked like a tiny nucleus with very short and stumpy tail and still….it may not survive very long.

Now talking about some of our flowering succulents so far:

Donkey’s Tail, Burro’s Tail or Sedum morganianum is an odd plant from Mexico. The very brittle stems and leaves form long and neat strands. The small red bell-shaped flowers are also strange as they grow on the end of the strand hanging down. Very suitable to grow in hanging baskets/pots. Both stems and leaves are very easy to break off at the slightest touch or movement. The good thing is that most of the broken part (even a single leaf) will grow roots and start a new plant if they have dropped on soil.

Donkey's Tail

Donkey's Tail Flowers


Aeonium haworthii or also known as Pinwheel Aeonium is commonly grown and the rosette leaves form nice clumping mounds if grown in full sun. This Canary island succulent has small creamy yellow flowers.

Aeonium haworthii - Pinwheel aeonium

Pin Wheel Aeonium


Crassula tetragona has clumps of tiny white flowers. This southern African native is also known as Miniature Pine Tree (don’t make any sense to me). Just like all succulents, it is very easy to grow, best in full sun and well drain soil.

Crassula tetragona


Dec. 03/2013: More succulent flowers:

Kalanchoe hildebrantii ‘ Silver Spoon’ is one of my favourite succulent plants. The small leaves are spoon-shaped and green-grey silver in colour. The flowers are clusters of red orange bell-shaped blooms that grow on tall stems. When the flowers are matured, they will produce some fruits/pods with seeds inside. Not the prettiest flowers, but the plant offers interesting and pretty leaves.

Flowers and Fruits - Kalanchoe hildebrantii  'Silver Spoon'

Kalanchoe hildebrantii 'Silver Spoon' 1


Kalanchoe beharensis is also known as Elephant Ear. Another favourite succulent of mine. The green silver-grey velvety leaves are kind of triangular. how to explain the peculiar leaves? This is what I get from Wikipedia, by using the proper way to explain leaves. Do not ask me the meanings as I am not an expert. Ha, ha….

Leaves are olivaceous in colour, triangular-lanceolate shaped, decussately arranged with leaf margins that are doubly crenate….” (Wikipedia)

The not so beautiful small flowers are bell shaped, hairy and the colours are cream with green center. This is how I explain them… do not ask me to explain them by using botanic terms:(

Kalanchoe beharensis aka. Elephant Ear


Next flowering succulent is the Stapelia grandiflora or also known as Starfish Cactus or Carrion plant. The flowers are hairy, red meat colour and smell like rotten dead animals. Flies will lay eggs/maggots inside the flowers in believing that there is food there for the maggots to eat. But within a day or so the maggots are starving and dead and the pretty star-like blooms will also wilted. The flies have helped the process of pollination. Mission accomplished!

Flower buds - Stapelia grandiflora - Carrion Plant - Starfish Cactus

Stapelia sp. (Carrion or Starfish Plant).


Although not as fleshy, Yucca plants are also considered as succulent. The one that we have is Yucca filamentosa ‘Hairy’. The name hairy comes from the fact that the leaves grow hairs. The plant consist of trunkless rosettes of soft-textured but wide, blue tinted leaves that are adorned with particularly large numbers of curly white threads, giving the entire plant a hairy effect. The flowers are creamy white that grow very tall, well above the plant itself. Very showy blooms indeed!!

Close-up Yucca filementosa 'Hairy' flowers

Flowers of Yucca filementosa 'Hairy'

Yucca filementosa 'Hairy'

Jade Plant – Bonsai Ideas

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Big cuttings of jade plant (Crassula ovata) are ideal to grow as bonsai. The fat and rough look of the fleshy stems and trunks are ideal for bonsai. They are easy to maintain and to keep them alive. The soft branches and stems are easy to shape and bend.

Bonsai - Variegated Jade Plant

Jade Plant Bonsai

Bonsai idea - Jade Plant

Bonsai Jade

Jade - Bonsai Idea

Chopping Jade Plant

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Spring glorious spring has sprung! All of sudden one of our jade plants (Crassula ovata) next to the foot-path was growing out of control. The big fat branches were getting much too heavy so they bent and drooped down. It was nice and rounded before. The only way to make it better is to chop all of the top part of the plant. Yesterday I just did that.

Oh no! That will kill it…. Not to worry at all with this large succulent plant. You can just break a branch and stick in in the ground and it will grow. Actually the more you cut the tip of the branches, the compact and rounded it becomes. As long as the soil is well drain, Crassula ovata will grow happily. In the sun, in the shade or as indoor plant, no problem at all. The only difference if you want it to flower, then you have to grow it in full sun.

Yesterday I had planted half of the cuttings. It was one wheel barrow full, stacked very high. I just used the old soil from the bonsai trees that I repotted recently. It was mixed with a bit of ordinary potting mix for a bit of nutrition. Today, there is still more to do, half wheel barrow full. I have to cut all the spent flower to make it look nice and tidy. Probably I will have about 20 pots of newly planted cuttings and quite a few of them are large that look  more like mature plants. Some one I know sells stuffs in the market, probably I will ask her to sell them for me once the plants have grown roots.

Jade - Crassula ovata in July 2013

Jade – Crassula ovata in July 2013

Out of control Jade - Crassula ovata getting too big and heavy

Out of control Jade – Crassula ovata getting too big and heavy

What is left of the plant now is many exposed cut trunks and branches. It looks ugly now, but new leaves will grow back and the plant will be much lower and bushier. The cuttings in the wheel barrow (the picture above) are the remaining half that I have to pot today or tomorrow.

Jade - Crassula ovata - Growing from Cuttings. Still more to do today.

Jade – Crassula ovata – Growing from Cuttings. Still more to do today.

Jade Plant – Crassula ovata in Full Blooms

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This time of the year again in early winter when the jade plants are flowering. The small white flowers almost cover the whole plant. It brightens dull winter days.

For those who believe that jade plants bring good fortune, this is a bit of information from White Lotus Fengshui.com :

The Jade Tree is also called the Money Plant. It is an auspicious plant because its succulent dark green leaves resemble pieces of jade or coins, therefore represents earth or metal energy, which adds nourishment and stability.  Earth chi helps relationships. The jade plant also signifies wood energy or growth. 


East for family harmony, health, initiation of projects, scholarly pursuits Southeast for wealth luck

West for creativity or children luck

Northwest for the luck of mentors and helpful people 

To go to previous entry on Crassula ovata:


Crassula ovata, the Fat Plant


Bonsai Crassula ovata

One day my hubby said that I should trim the fat plants along the driveway. Ha….. fat plants? I had no idea what he was talking about. Actually, he was talking about Jade plants. Why? He reckoned because it had rounded fleshy leaves and thick fat soft trunks.

Jade plant is also commonly known as lucky plant, money plant, friendship tree and the botanical nama is Crassula ovata (or Crassula arborescens, Crassula argentea, Crassula portulacea). Native to South Africa, this big succulent plant can grow higher than 1 m. It is very easy to grow and to propagate by cutting the branch/stem or leaf cutting. Most species of C. ovata will bear pinkish white small starry flowers that cover the plant twice a year during early winter and early summer. It has few different varieties: jade green colour or variegated ( double colour of green and creamy yellow, green and orange red or tri colour of green, creamy yellow and red). There is also dwarf variation which has smaller leaves. I notice that the colour of jade foliage can change according to the season. In the heat of summer they tend to be more colourful with more prominent red margin.

To flower fully, it has to be grown in full sun. If grown in shady area it tends to grow very green with less or no flowers at all, while in full sun the foliage will be slightly yellow with red margin/tinge around the edges.

Our Jade Trees

As Jade plant has attractive folliage and thick shapely trunks, it is very suitable for Bonsai. To make the jade bonsai nice and compact, it is important to pinch the new leaves during the growing season to create new branches to develop.

Growing jade plant is very easy and versatile for any garden with warmer climate. If grown on the ground and once established, they will prefer to be left alone and no need to water. Only if it is grown in containers, it will need water once the soil is becoming dry and it will need a little fertilizer to make it grow better.

Many Asian people believe that putting jade trees near the door way will bring good luck and more money. I’m not really sure about it, only if you sell plants for a living then I believe that it can be true as you can easily propagate this plant, easier than any other plants that I know. When I trim our jade trees along the drive way, I also stick them in pots and later when they have grown, I just give them away to family and friends or anyone who are interested 🙂

Happy Gardening!!