Root Awakening: Camellia changii flowers well in Singapore

Camellia changii
Camellia changiiPHOTO: CYNTHIA WONG
Rosmarinus officinalis
Rosmarinus officinalisPHOTO: WILSON WONG

Camellia changii flowers well in Singapore

I saw this plant (pictured) at the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

What is it and how tall can it grow? Can I grow it at home?

Cynthia Wong

This plant is botanically known as Camellia changii. A native of Guangdong province in China, this species flowers well in tropical Singapore. It is often sold as a grafted plant on a Camellia japonica rootstock.

Grow it under direct sunlight and place it in moist, well-drained soil. It is prone to disease if its soil is waterlogged.

As such, it may be better to grow it in a large container.

Sansevieria trifasciata PHOTO: MIRANDA CHNG

Insufficient sunlight for Sansevieria trifasciata

When I bought this plant (pictured), the leaves were broad. However, the new leaves are now narrower. Is my plant undernourished?

I fed it one teaspoon of a pure organic fertiliser once a week for a few months. I also water the plant once a week and place it in my balcony where it gets partial sunlight.

Miranda Chng

Your plant is the variegated version of Sansevieria trifasciata, also known as the Mother-In-Law's Tongue.

If your plant has long, floppy leaves, it is a sign it is not receiving sufficient sunlight for healthy growth.

This variegated version should get at least six hours of direct sunlight. Allow the soil to dry out before the next watering.

The lack of sufficient, direct sunlight and prolonged exposure to moisture at the root zone can lead to the leaves rotting.

Ficus religiosa PHOTO: CHELSEY ONG

Bodhi Tree considered sacred by Hindus and Buddhists

What is this plant (pictured)?

Chelsey Ong

The plant is a sapling of the Sacred Fig, which is also known as the Bodhi Tree.

Its botanical name is Ficus religiosa.

This tree is considered sacred by Hindus and Buddhists.

The Sacred Fig can grow into a large tree.

Its roots can damage concrete structures if it is allowed to grow into crevices.

Xanthostemon cultivar needs full sunlight to thrive

Xanthostemon chrysanthus PHOTO: ANG HUI KEOW

What is this plant (pictured) and how do I care for it? Can it be propagated?

Ang Hui Keow

The plant is a cultivar of Xanthostemon, which has pink flowers. It needs full sunlight to grow well and flower profusely. It is best grown in moist and well-drained soil and can be propagated via stem-cuttings or air-layering.

A relative of this plant, the Golden Penda, which has yellow flowers, is a more common sight in Singapore. Botanically known as Xanthostemon chrysanthus, it is often planted in parks and along streets here.

Tip: Grow Creeping Rosemary as a herb in Singapore

The rosemary is a popular culinary herb. Being a native plant of the Mediterranean region, it does poorly in tropical Singapore due to the hot and wet climate.

One variety that seems to tolerate local conditions is the Creeping Rosemary (pictured, its botanical name is Rosmarinus officinalis "Prostratus"). It has long pendulous stems and shorter leaves.

Grow it in a pot with a well- drained mix with coarse materials such as pumice and volcanic sand. Expose the plant to at least six hours of direct sunlight.

• Answers by Dr Wilson Wong, a certified practising horticulturist and founder of Green Culture Singapore ( He is also an NParks-certified park manager.

• Have a gardening query? E-mail it with clear, high-resolution pictures of at least 1MB, if any, and your full name to

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 06, 2017, with the headline 'Root Awakening'. Print Edition | Subscribe