Around my neighborhood here in Tubod and the rest of the province of Lanao del Norte, the bombil (Cebuano) or bogambilya (Tagalog) or Bougainvillea (English) is the most popular potted plant seen along national highways and town streets. The plant’s tolerance in environments with high salt and warm climate makes it suitable in the coastal towns of Lanao province. Or perhaps, we just have a fondness for this plant due to its lovely flowers in purple, burgundy, white, pink, or orange…
Also known as Paper Flowers, the Bougainvillea is often presented in various ways such as: (1) topiary in various forms, (2) clipped-shrubs in cement ‘Clean and Green’ planters, (3) hedges along fence lines of private homes or public schools, (4) planted in hanging baskets as wall accents, and (5) potted in containers as bonsai tree… The possibilities are endless because our love affair with Bougainvillea goes way back in the Spanish era.
Anyway, most of the Bougainvillea in my garden are 10-year-old bonsai plants.They’re still a work in progress though; I relocated them at the balcony so I would see them flower. The ones I trained as miniature trees are Bougainvillea glabra and Bougainvillea spectabilis (both normal and variegated). Usually, I water them sparingly so they wouldn’t rot.
I acquired a cutting of variegated Moringa when I attended a seminar on miniature trees held by the Lanao del Norte Bonsai Society around 2004. That cutting given by Mr. Ray Villanueva flourished into an attractive ornamental plant. It is still on training as a miniature tree though.
This plant is locally known as Kamunggay and Malunggay in most areas of the Philippines. It is regarded as “Tree of Life” because almost every part of this plant is used for food or has beneficial property. Moreover, Moringa oleifera is considered as one of the most useful trees in the world.
Presently, I’ve trained my Moringa plant into a shape I fancy, an informal upright. I put wires on branches to alter direction. I used aluminum wires to control its shape so my bonsai would have a twisted trunk in the future. Also, I wound the plant around a stake driven into the soil in the pot.
Hopefully, the variegated leaves of this plant would be in proportion to the tree.
Basically, Moringa is a sun-loving plant, even if it’s a variegated variety. I’ve been told never to put my plant in a shady spot or its mottled leaves would revert back into plain green.