Root Awakening: Frangipani may be shedding flowers after being hit by strong winds, heavy rain

The flowers of the frangipani can shed profusely after being hit by a storm with strong winds and heavy rainfall. PHOTO: YANG SOON LIM

Frangipani flowers can last for several days

Why is my frangipani tree shedding a lot of flowers regularly? What is wrong with it?

Yang Soon Lim

Depending on the cultivar, the individual flowers of the frangipani can last a day or several days. When they fade, they shed from the inflorescence.

Flowers can shed profusely after being hit by a storm with strong winds and heavy rainfall.

As the frangipani plant prefers a well-drained root zone, it can be stressed by waterlogging or wet feet that can occur during the rainy season. This is a possible reason for flowers that have been formed and are open to shed profusely and prematurely.

Sapling is a chilli plant

Chilli can be sown via the droppings of birds. PHOTO: HELEN LOW

This plant sprouted in my planter on its own and is growing well with just some water. I have only a pot of spinach nearby and no other plants. What plant is it?

Helen Low

From the feature of the leaves, it appears you have a chilli plant.

Did you sow any seeds of this vegetable recently? It could also be brought in by birds as they do consume chilli, and seeds may have been sown via their droppings.

Normal for young leaves of banana to have markings

Some banana plant cultivars have leaves that showcase markings when they are young, but these fade when the plants mature. PHOTO: JEN YANG

I am growing this banana tree in a pot. Recently, brown spots appeared on the leaves. What is the problem with the plant?

Jen Yang

Depending on the cultivar of the banana plant, some have leaves that feature red markings when they are young. As the plant matures, the markings on the leaves will gradually disappear. There is no cause for concern.

Plant with red berries is pigeonberry

The pigeonberry is regarded as an ornamental plant and is known for its red fruit. PHOTO: RUBY TAN

I would like to know the name of this plant growing from a pot in my backyard. I have a cat at home, so I would like to know if this plant is toxic.

Ruby Tan

The plant is botanically known as Rivina humilis. Its common names are pigeonberry, bloodberry and coralito.

It is admired for its attractive red fruit, which yields a red dye. The plant is generally regarded as an ornamental plant with no food uses, and information on whether it is edible is mixed.

When in doubt, do not consume any part of the plant.

Monkey’s Potato is a common weed

Monkey's Potato is a weed. PHOTO: CHRISTINE NG

I grew some cucumber plants recently, but they were eaten by snails after a few days of heavy rain. Then I found this plant growing in the same pot and was hopeful that it is one of the cucumber plants that survived. However, as it grew bigger, I realised that the leaves do not look like those of cucumber plants. What plant is this and is it a weed?

Christine Ng

The plant is botanically known as Coleus monostachyus and its common name is Monkey’s Potato. It occurs widely as a weed, where it appears in planted areas.

You can remove the plant manually and regularly before it flowers so that it does not have a chance to disperse its seeds. 

  • Answers by Dr Wilson Wong, an NParks-certified practising horticulturist, parks manager and ISA-certified arborist. He is the founder of Green Culture Singapore and an adjunct assistant professor (Food Science & Technology) at the National University of Singapore.
  • Have a gardening query? E-mail it with clear, high-resolution pictures of at least 1MB, if any, and your full name to We reserve the right to edit and reject questions.

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