Ferns and Mosses

Wordless Wednesday: tree-hugger fern

Ferns and Mosses

Young staghorn ferns

During the 1980’s when I was teaching Home Economics in grade school, I used to display specimens of various ornamental and herbal plants at the premises of the H.E. building during school-evaluation to impress the Province’s educators/supervisors. One of those plants was a wonderful specimen of Staghorn Fern (Platycerium). It became a conversation piece at my H.E. garden; my colleagues even asked for offsets of it. (That plant eventually died after many years.)

Sopronia, my orchid dealer, brought me a pair of young Platycerium last October 2011; she got it from a plant farm in Davao. Both male and female young Staghorn ferns were mounted on barks of black tree ferns. My grandsons thought they look like weird crepes or inverted capes. Generally,they got nice compliments from my friends and visitors.


My glossy ZZ Plant

Five months ago, my sister Juliet gave me a ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia); it was just an 8-inch long stem with 2 glossy green leaves. It is commonly called the Eternity Plant. My friend Hermi referred to it as Zamia; Gloria Vargas and Juliet called it interchangeably as the Welcome Plant or Fortune Plant due to the fact that most people put this cheerful-looking foliage near entrances, at least here in the Philippines. I potted that single stem with loam soil and decomposed rice hulls. Then, I placed it in a shady area near my gate.

There several things I’ve noticed with this plant.

  • First, it likes bright light and tolerates low light.
  • Second, its direct exposure to sunlight often results with scorched leaves.
  • Third, this plant is cactus-like for it thrives even when neglected. (I didn’t water if for a week and it looked okay!)
  • Fourth, regular watering makes it perform well, hence the glossy look of the leaves.
  • Fifth, pests seemed to stay away from it.

The fifth observation made me ask this important question: Is ZZ Plant poisonous? I just hope not…but of course the plant is for an ornamental purpose and not to be ingested by humans or animals.


Spiral and Green

plant given by Dr. Opay-Villarmino
plants from Boging, a dealer of ornamental plants

I have no idea what these plants are — succulent or grass? My grand-kids thought they were like green noodles or spiral candy-sticks or telephone wires or just plants with a bad hair day. Well, whatever they are… I like them.

I first saw it at Dr. Opay-Villarmino’s home; the good doctor gave me some of the spiral-shoots when I visited her garden last last August 2011. She, too, had no idea what it is… but we agreed that this plant is interesting and it encourages plant-talk. Early this month, I added three more from Boging’s mini-nursery. I potted these plants with loam soil mixed with decomposed rice hulls, watered them regularly and place them in a partially shaded area.

P.S. — If anyone knows what they are, kindly tell me…I’ll really appreciate it.


Purple flower

Purple is my favorite color. My eyes automatically zoom in to anything or anyone wearing this hue. Maybe that is why I noticed this plant on a rainy morning last August 6, 2011. (It’s not the first time that this plant produces flowers but every time it does, it always looks fresh.) Honestly, for five long years I still don’t even know its name but I know that my friend Tasing gave it to me.

I just put it in an area where it could get morning sunlight and partial shade. Also, I potted it with loam soil and watered it regularly, except for rainy days. I observed that its shoots grow from the base of the plant and each slender stems are about 0.5 cm in diameter. The 3 to 6 inches long stems hold patterned-leaves and purple flowers. The ovate-shaped leaves have green, greenish-gray and black markings.Meanwhile, the purple flower had a cruciform shape (that is, 4 petals are in right angles to one another) and the bloom lasted for about 2-3 days.

So if you know the name of this plant, I would really appreciate if you’ll tell me so I’ll know how to care more for it…

Ferns and Mosses, Home

Foxtail Fern

I always thought Foxtail fern (Asparagus densiflorus ‘Meyersii’) is a pretentious plant, beautiful but not that friendly. This is also given descriptive names such as Ponytail, Bottle Brush, and Emerald fern. This evergreen shrub has stems that look very much like tails of foxes. I’ve witnessed some dog-people touching it, trying to pat the plant only to find out that the “tails” are cactus-like. Yet, despite the plant’s low friendliness rating, many gardeners would agree that the Foxtail’s dense foliage, round feather shape and deep emerald color make this shrub very attractive.

I’ve had several potted Foxtails this during the 1980’s. Oftentimes, I’ve included some of its stems in bouquets and floral arrangements. Well I guessed that practice stressed out my Foxtail because it eventually died. After a long period without it, my friend Boging (a plant dealer) brought me a new shrub of Foxtail to add to my fern group last August 3.

This plant requires attention when in a new environment or when repotted. Like people, it also needs time to adjust to its new home. In addition, I’ve noticed that Foxtail Ferns would express their approval or disapproval on the TLC (tender, loving, care) I’m giving them. The color of their leaves would “communicate” how they feel — green informs that it is happy;  yellow warns that it needs more water; and brown cries out for help because it’s drowning.

This plant could grow up to 2 feet when grown outdoors. However, I refrained from planting it as ground cover because it’s quite invasive with an attitude like that of a ribbon grass. Instead, I placed its pot on  my winding plant stand at a shady area; the more sunlight it gets, the faster it grows. With regards to soil medium, I’ve mixed equal parts of loam, sand, and rice hulls. I haven’t put fertilizer on it yet because it’s still adjusting here in my garden.

Ferns and Mosses

Ruby Red Spikemoss

Red Selaginella erythropus

One of my favorite fern plants is the Selaginella erythropus ‘Sanguinea’. This evergreen plant is commonly known as the Ruby Red Spikemoss. Its leaves are feather-like and bi-color — above is dark-green and underneath is blood-red. The lovely texture of this plant is perfect for terrariums, ground covers, hanging plants, or just an addition to a dish garden.


Presently, my ‘Sanguinea’ is about 4 to 6 inches tall. I noticed that this plant thrive well in moist sandy-loam soil and in a shady area near my gate with the fern group. I just hope to find a chocolate version of this…