Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Very Early Hoya Bloomers

I started growing hoya in 2010, so that was more than 5 years ago. Those first 2 plants dwindled for almost a year, without my attention. However, they didn't die even with neglect. One is planted on a driftwood vacated by orchids, in full direct sun that made the leaves truly yellow, wilted and most leaves die during the dry season. When the rains come it resurrected and continue adding leaves and stems. The second one was planted on a foot-long dried branch. Despite the dry and pathetic condition, it flowered once even with just a few inches of stem.

That triggered my addiction to hoyas and i continued adding more species as time went by. Now, my weekend at home in the province for 2 days and 1 night always seem very short,  time fully devoted to them and yet i want more. It truly is addictive and contagious, so whenever someone starts having it, that was my warning.

The following are some species which responded so fast to life that upon stabilizing as a newly rooted plant, it began producing buds and flowers. This is special, as most plants grow for years before producing buds. Patience is the topmost requirement in growing them. So i feel like giving tribute to the few exceptions here!

Hoya scortechinii (still with the label from the seller in Thailand, even wrongly written there). It came as a cutting which i rooted and planted in December in this recycled cup. After 4 months it struggled to produce those 4 buds, but it is looking great.

close-up  of Hoya scortechinii buds

H scortechinii flowers, already completely reflexed corolla

Another young newly planted cutting that immediately produced a big umbel is this red Hoya lacunosa. This is already a cutting from my mature plant.

The fully open flowers of red Hoya lacunosa looks like they are from a mature plant. The cutting has 2 nodes with 4 leaves, and they are enough to fully sustain those 14 lovely flowers.

This is a bit older plant than the previous 2, because it already has a long stem typical of the first new long growth. However, those 2 buds are still early for the typical plant. My previous plants of this Hoya crassicaulis were already bigger when they produced the first bloom. 

bloom of Hoya crassicaulis

You will be delighted with this Hoya obscura young plant. It was very newly planted and just starting to stabilize. It immediately produced those buds despite the position of the pedicel, because the normal position of the umbel is drooping down. Even then, the position didn't deter it to produce lots of buds. 

In effect this look is not typical of the normal Hoya obscura umbel. 

This young plant is also still very young with only 2 leaves from the 2 nodes, yet it already has an umbel with lots of buds. You can still see the blurred top of the planter. I am sorry i forgot which plant this is. I wasn't able to see also the flower when it bloomed during the weekdays i am not home. 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

April Plants Fooled!

You might be misled with my title, but my plants hit me like for April Fools' Day! I will narrate to you the reasons. The heat here is already too much  scorching  our plants. Our Heat Index yesterday is 42.5°C. Grasses and weeds in the fields are already brown, and even agricultural crops dry due to dried-up irrigation water. Our garden is no exception, even the soil cracks and leaves of trees yellowed or had advance yellowing. However, my hoyas greeted me with lots of blooms and newly developing buds. They hit me like April Fools' Day.

Now i am wondering whether they really prefer the heat, or they are blooming more because they are dying, as a precautionary response to preserve the species.

At the left is a hoya plant which doesn't seem to be affected by the dry season. They are just covered with a single black net to lessen the direct impact of the bright sun. The net is left there even during the rainy season, rain or shine.

At the right above, is Cymbidium finlaysonianum, a native orchid that has most leaves yellowing due to the intense sunlight. The past years claimed many big plants in this clump, these few plants are just growing nicely because i put it under the hoya plants. There they got the water drippings, felt colder and were able to recover. But afternoon direct sun still turn the leaves yellow.

Red salvia also responds favorably to the intense heat. More flowers per inflorescence are produced.

At the right is Hippeastrum reticulatum, also a survivor.

These 2 above vanda orchids are blooming also well. They are directly exposed to the sun, so let us see if their leaves will be able to withstand the long dry and hot season.

Dischidiopsis parasitica, endemic to the Philippines, blooming profusely too. We don't water them.

 Of course the hoyas are blooming well. Above is Hoya pubicalyx 'Black Dragon', now renamed Hoya pubicorolla. It was more black during the first blooming, but gets lighter as time goes by. Anthocyanin pigments are known to be much affected by many environmental factors especially in its media.

Hoya halconensis has one of the biggest umbels in my collection, and it really gives back high return on investment, i.e. labor hours

 Hoya sp aff. camphorifolia. This means it doesn't have an exact ID yet but has affinity with the Hoya camphorifolia group. It belongs to the small hoyas. Can you see the larva munching on a bloom? I just saw it when i played back my shots, so i went back to the plant and removed the larva.

Hoya merrillii looks radiantly lovely. However,  the umbel is not as organized as most hoya umbels.

 Hoya carnosa red is very slow growing, but its flowers are so lovely that its worth the wait.

Hoya multiflora is exceptionally lovely too, with their flowers like arrows, making its common name as "shooting stars hoya". 

Look at other Hoya multiflora umbels, they promise a big turn-out.

 Hoya alwitriana blooms for the first time. But i failed to see the actual bloom, as i left before it does.

 This Hoya crassicaulis yellow is totally left in direct sun, planted on a drifwood vacated by vandas. The leaves got totally yellow which dry at the end of the season. However, stems inside the driftwood continue to live and grow again come rainy season.

 This cotton bug, Dysdercus cingulatus, doesn't leave the buds anymore! If i know, it is sipping the sap of those buds. They are so lovely, very colorful, but i sometimes kill some of them.

 This is a young umbel of the black hoya. One plant has 8 umbels at different stages of development, how lovely it would be if they bloom at the same time.

This is the more mature buds of the black hoya, Hoya pubicorolla

 very young buds of Hoya carnosa

another Hoya carnosa with a cotton bud resident

 You will surely love this black Hoya madulidii bloom. It is just its first blooming in a very long 3 yrs of growing. I've seen photos which are yellowish, but mine emerged as black. I am so amazed.

A few buds are waiting to bloom, but i left home while they are still tightly closed. This particular species love the full sun, so it has been growing outside the single black net. That cotton bug at the background, like me, seems patiently waiting for the buds to open. How i wish i am home when all of them opens almost simultaneously.

Friday, April 8, 2016

The Yellows

Last week i've posted our flowers with orange colors. Today i am posting the yellows to follow the color that Floral Friday Fotos posted.  We also have lots of yellow flowers, but these ones are easier to locate in my files, of course they are all hoya. I know you will not be surprised because i have been telling everyone of my hoya addiction. And this addiction flows to the blogs and to Facebook too. Sometimes i also put individual features of hoya in In Focus.

I didn't expect that i already have a few yellow hoyas in my collection, i never counted them until i realized when i posted here. Yellows are lovely, and they are not as loud as the orange and the reds.

In case you will be bored with my hoya photos, i hope you wont, i included two yellow photos at the last. They are common plants too, ampalaya or bitter gourd, which is a vegetable and a chrysanthemum. I hope you enjoy these.

 Hoya alwitriana

 Hoya halconensis

 Hoya merrillii

 Hoya crassicaulis

 Hoya buotii

 Hoya crassicaulis


Chrysanthemum with a green visitor

Friday, April 1, 2016


I am sure many of you already remember me saying that most of our flowers are all in very loud colors, as in yellows to oranges to reds. Sometimes i also almost complain that these loud colors are somehow boring my eyes. Somehow i wish to see more violets and blues, but they are very seldom seen especially during our dry season. We started our heat, scorching heat, in March. Our Easterlies that bring slightly cold air are now "ëxtinct", and we cannot feel anymore the air moving. At least we still have air to breath, lol.

Our temperature today in Metro Manila is 34°C with Heat Index of 38°C! Can you imagine how 38C feels? Our mitigating measure is just to stay indoors with the air conditioners. I am thankful that i still have work and the office provides for electricity bills.

So.....with those temperatures and scorching heat outside, will you still want to look at the colors of these flowers? They even aggravate my feelings of heat. By the way, these are all in my garden in the province and not in Metro Manila where i work. Despite the heat they are blooming profusely. They love the direct sun.

Ixora javanica

 Hoya valmayoriana

Hoya benguetensis (taken at night)

Pentas lanceolata