Thursday, 7 July 2016

Growing Phalaenopsis orchid at home

Many people thought that growing Phalaenopsis orchid is difficult and some thought it is easy. It is definitely not for beginners unless one has done research on the internet for best method to grow them.

I was guilty of nearly killing one Phalaenopsis orchid when the seller (from a landscaping company) tried to stuff and compact the sphagnum moss with the orchid roots. The seller said that I have to water every day and also on the roots and leaves. In the end, after one month, the roots started to rot and flowers started to wither. It is only after talking to gardeners and researching online that I gain more experience and knowledge.

One pot of Phalaenopsis is about SGD20. A smaller pot will be around SGD15. If you bought it at a higher cost, make sure that it is a unique or special breed. If not, it is not worth it.

Phalaenopsis orchid at World Farm
Phalaenopsis orchid at World Farm
Phalaenopsis orchid at World Farm
Phalaenopsis orchid at World Farm

Care requirements:
  • Water
    • Phalaenopsis does not like to be watered every day. I recommend to water the Phalapenopsis every 10 days using distilled water or rain water. I think tap water is fine if you stage it over a day.
  • Sunlight
    • Do not place them in direct sunlight.
    • They prefer to be in shady places. I placed it in direct sunlight before and it did not do well.
  • Potting medium
    • Use sphagnum moss. Soak them and tuck them around the roots' area.
    • When you bought the orchid, it is
  • Fertilizer
    • Need to use very diluted liquid that is for orchid. I tried to spray the one that I bought from World Farm for orchid only once a month. So far, no ill effect from using it. But I don't recommend you using that on your prized phalaenopsis.
  • Temperature
    • I think normal room temperature is fine.
The flower blooms will last for a couple of months, mine lasted more than 3 months.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Growing Strawberry from seeds in Singapore

Last year, I had tried to grow strawberry from seeds in Singapore. They germinated after 30 days from a pack of strawberry seeds that I had purchased from a local supermarket store. The seedlings grew but after a couple of months, they started to turn red and died. I didn't research much on the internet and had wanted to experience how it would turn out. It was a waste of my time and I thought it is impossible to grow strawberry from seeds in Singapore. Many people have the same idea that it is not possible to grow strawberry in Singapore's weather. But I have decided to start again this June 2016 because of two things.

First thing: I have researched on the internet and found that someone actually grows strawberry successfully from seeds in Singapore. The website is It has recommended to apply ground coffee to the soil to make it acidic.

Second thing: I bought a strawberry plant from a local nursery, World Farm aka Hua Hng at Bah Soon Pah Road. It is very near to my house and I frequent the nursery often. It was throwing out berries and now it is still flowering. So, it is possible to grow the strawberry in our climate but how about growing from seeds? The plant that I bought is very well established and can survive in our climate and weather. But wait, my research told me that strawberry plant needs at least 8 hours of sunlight as well as cool night. I think the strawberry may be able to adapt to our not so cool night but definitely we have a lot of hours of sunlight.

I still have the remaining seeds from the pack that I used a couple of years ago. I thought might as well use it since it might have expired already. Also, I managed to take a few seeds from the Driscoll's Strawberries that I bought from the supermarket. I used regular potting mix and placed the seeds over the soil and applied a very thin layer of soil to cover them. I placed the pot in a bright area, not under direct sunlight.

After a couple of weeks, the seeds germinated and a number of seedlings emerged. The last time, after the seeds germinated, I had transferred the seedlings too early and caused stress to the seedlings. The seedlings managed to grow for a couple of months and then they called it quit. This time round, I will not make the same mistake.

Strawberry seedlings appeared after a couple of weeks.
Strawberry seedlings appeared after a couple of weeks (21 June 2016)
You will notice a small plant with two leaflets appearing. I noticed that some seedlings were unable to anchor themselves into the soil and will die. I tried to gently push the seedlings to see whether they have anchored to the soil. If it moves, I will try to gently bury the roots. I have saved quite a few seedlings using this method. I saw a few clustered together and wanted to separate them. But I stopped. This is because I don't want to make the same mistake again. I will let the seedlings grow by themselves undisturbed for at least 3 months before transplanting them to individual pot. I will probably remove weaker seedlings to make the survival rate of the seedlings higher. In the sgstrawberries blog, it mentioned to use bottom watering instead of top watering. In this case, I will try the top watering method. Maybe in the next batch, I will try the bottom watering instead. More and more seedlings started to emerge and I was thinking whether I can handle that many strawberry plants. If the seedlings are successful, I will consider to give or sell them away.

More strawberry seedlings after one week
More strawberry seedlings after one week (27 June 2016)
After one week, more seedlings appeared and some earlier seedlings had developed the third and fourth leaflets.

I think it is crucial not to move the seedlings until 3 months later. So, in late September 2016, I hope that the seedlings will become hardier and then I can separate them and pot them into individual pot. I'm quite curious how the seedlings develop their crowns. When you pot them individually, it is important not to bury the crown. I didn't see any image of the seedlings with crowns in the internet. I hope by September, I can take some images of the seedlings with crowns and show people how to separate and bury the seedlings.

The soil that you sow the seeds on is very important. One of my interns has interests in growing strawberry from seeds. He was quite successful in the beginning and the seedlings were quite tall before they died. He started to plant again in May and sent me a photo of his pot of seedlings.

A friend's pot of strawberry seedlings - failed
A friend's pot of strawberry seedlings - failed
The above picture showed a friend's pot of strawberry seedlings that went wrong after a couple of weeks. They all died. I think it is due to the soil that he used. It was too hard for the seedlings and probably not suitable. He is starting a new batch and will share the result soon.

Update: 5 July 2016 Strawberry Seedlings
Update: 5 July 2016 Strawberry Seedlings

More seedlings appeared and they have grown taller. I think I have scattered the seeds too close to each other and there are many clusters of seedlings. I'm resisting to separate the seedlings as I'm afraid that I may injure the young roots and stems. I will leave them to grow and establish their root systems and develop more leaves.

Last weekend, I placed the pot in direct sunlight and I realised that I might have done the wrong thing. However, it did not seem to cause any major problem yet. For now, I will leave the pot in the bright area at my balcony but not under any direct sunlight.

Pot under bright area at the balcony
Pot under bright area at the balcony
I have taken some close-up views of the seedlings. I have one seedling from the Driscoll's strawberry variety and I'm not sure whether it is day-neutral, ever-bearing or June bearing variety. I don't think I will be able to tell unless the seedlings grow into mature plants. If there is a way to identify the seedlings, let me know. Thanks in advance.

Close-up view of the seedlings
Close-up view of the seedlings
The seedling from the Driscoll's strawberry has a red stem as compared to the rest which have green stems. I remembered I grew some strawberry previously and they were also red stems. Let's see whether the rest of the seedlings change the colour of the stems in the next few weeks.

Driscoll's strawberry seedling has a red stem
Driscoll's strawberry seedling has a red stem
Recently, I chanced upon a post from and gotten the permission from Dianne to share her post on my blog. It is "How To Grow Strawberries and 10 Best Strawberry Recipes".