Since my move to Bangalore last month, I have experimented with various plants, soil, fertilizers available locally, and have learnt a lot through trial and error. A few of my plants died an early death partly because of the poor soil in which they were planted originally, and partly because of my ignorance on the kind of soil and fertilizer I purchased. My gardenia leaves shed off completely, and my geranium also seems to have suffered the same fate. I have stopped using the red mud that a nursery sold me and so also a nameless, unlabeled fertilizer, which burned off the roots of several tender plants.
First, here are some flowering plants that are growing well after I changed the red mud soil to Cocopeat and compost.
This lovely white and sweet smelling flower has given us a lot of happiness! The moment I open the balcony door, I can smell its fragrance. I threw out the original soil, made a mix of Cocopeat and compost and replanted it so that water drainage improved.
The plant is growing well after transplanting it in Cocopeat mixed with compost, and with the addition of a teaspoon of fertilizer (Agropel – sold for a can costing about Rs. 200 at a shop specializing in gardening materials).
The only problem that I am still facing with this plant is that the small black ants love to assemble within the red flowers and probably strip the insides bare. I have seen these little devils carrying off some whitish stuff from these flowers in a long line that went off the balcony destination unknown. I blew them off whenever I could, but they keep coming back. I also applied some mosquito repellant (only stuff that was at hand) around the pot, and they stayed away. I’m sure the ants will be back after summoning their distant relatives and form a new long line tomorrow. I’ll have to look for some home-made remedies to get rid of these ants and save the Salvia flowers.
I love this creeper plant. As usual, I transplanted it after buying it from a nursery with my usual Cocopeat-compost combination, keeping stones at the base to drain out water easily. This plant has been growing very well, creepers traveling all over the net and fresh leaves and buds coming up.
There was another small plant growing from the same pot when I purchased it. I had thought initially that there were two Allamanda plants in the same pot; I separated the two planting them in different pots. The small plant is now growing. The leaves seem to be different from the Allamanda leaves. I also see a bud in the plant; once the flower blooms, I will know what kind of a plant it is. Hope it is a flower different from the flowers I have seen until now!
Meanwhile, I bought a packet of tuberose (Rajnigandha is the local name) bulbs and planted them in a long pot, using a mix of Cocopeat, red mud, and compost taking care to lay a layer of stones at the base before filling in the soil mix so that water drainage would improve.
The growth seems to be good; I’m hoping that flowers will bloom within a month from now. I love this flower because of its heavenly scent, and am eagerly awaiting the flowers.
The Edamame (Soya seeds) that I got from Japan did sprout very fast but after growing to about 100 cm, growth has slowed down. Either the soil lacks the nutrition for the plant or the weather conditions are not conducive to rapid growth, or the size of the pot is inadequate. I hope to set right each of these conditions in the coming days and observe the growth of the plants. Today, I found a soya bean pod in one of the plants. This doesn’t bode well – I have seen bunches of pods coming up at the same time from the main stem!
Jasmine – Belle of India
Another variety of Jasmine is turning out very well with lots of buds just about to open. These flowers are also very fragrant and make the balcony an attractive place to spend time. Petals are fuller and not pointed like the first variety of Jasmine I showed earlier. Again used a combination of Cocopeat and vermicompost with an occasional feed of AgroPel fertilizer.
The small roses have started blooming at last – this is the first of the rose after replanting to a larger pot with fresh Cocopeat and vermicompost. I find that the soil in the rose planter dries out much faster than other flowering plants, and I found watering it twice a day makes the plant healthier.
I love the color – reminds me of cherry ice cream. The flower is quite large and seems to remain in bloom for two to three days (maybe more). There are a few more buds behind this flower, and if I don’t cut this off, the buds behind won’t bloom soon!
After changing the soil and replanting it, the Bougainvillea plant has also perked up. I’m wondering when to prune it so that there is no adverse effect on the blooms. Time to read and study some more!
The sweet-scented and lovely Jasmine flowers bloomed well – until disaster struck. A few monkeys that visited the mango tree just outside my balcony ate up the leaves and flowers, puled out the plant until the roots were exposed and took off!
Monkeys on the opposite building after devouring my beloved Jasmine plant
Yes, it was a monkey that created havoc. I have no idea why a Jasmine plant is delicious to a monkey!
I drove them off twice and fixed up a net so that they wouldn’t eat any more of my plants but he damage has been done!
I planted two Plumeria seeds not hoping much and wonder of wonders – one of them took root! I wonder how long it would be before it starts giving flowers.
Until next time, happy gardening from Bangalore, the Garden City!