Archive for March, 2010

Yuks. What a name.

When someone asked me if I was keen to buy one, I actually sniffed and said “I think not.”

But I changed my tune as soon as I googled and saw a picture. This hybrid is a real beauty. A cross between nepenthes ventricosa and ampullaria, this nepenthes looks like neither parent, shape-wise.

The pitchers of the nepenthes Gardetech are a lovely red – much like that of a nice red apple. And I have a weakness for red pitchers.

Not surprisingly, the Gardentech came with a daunting price tag. So I had to forget about getting a large or even medium size plant. I settled for the smallest – and even that didn’t come cheap.

The plant joined the family in September last year. It had a few pitchers, all gorgeously red. I placed it next to my mirabilis, exposed to morning sun from nine till 1pm. It should be happy, I thought.

But, the Gardentech had other ideas. It pouted and sulked. The pitchers turned a dull red and no new pitchers formed. Worse, the leaves broke out in spots and were marred by unsightly blotches. It was in trouble.

I figured that its new home didn’t agree with it and moved it elsewhere before anything else happened. I bought it a shade cloth and hung the pot amongst two other nepenthes to keep it company. That was in November.

A couple of months passed with no visible difference in the plant. And then in February, it started to perk up. It threw out one red pitcher, and then another.

Today, the Gardentech looks a look better than it has done for a long time. The red pitchers look ripe for the picking. I just hope the squirrels don’t agree with me.




Care and cultivation: mix of peat moss, pine bark, sand and perlite; moss topping; bright light, slightly shielded from the hot afternoon sun; water generously

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Sky Blue Cluster Vine – the small ultramarine, white throated flowers is the reflection of a clear blue summer sky.

When the clusters of blue flowers first caught my eye, I thought they looked delicate. I suspected that the plant would need to be molly coddled and was debating if it was wise to get a pot. But I couldn’t resist the flowers and bought three!

But what I thought was a BATA (buy-and-throw-away) plant is still going strong two years down the road. This fast-growing perennial blooms easily.

The Jacquemontia pentantha grows well either in a pot or in the ground. Just give it some support and the vine will twine happily over the fence, trellis or other plants.
If you love blue flowers, you should get this vine.

Think of blue skies. Think Sky Blue Cluster Vine.


Care and propagation: partial to full sun; well drained soil; water moderately; propagate using cuttings or by layering (apparently the flowers set seeds but I have not spotted any so far)

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