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Gardening

Hanging plants add life to bare walls

Creepers Moonflower plant at Kilua Resort
Creepers Moonflower plant at Kilua Resort. PHOTO | DIANA MUTHEU | NMG 

Moonflower ((Ipomoea alba), a night-blooming plant hangs off the ceiling on the restaurant area at the Kilua Resort in Shanzu, Mombasa.

It crawls obediently following the ropes that traverse the ceiling of the restaurant. The green-effect of the flowers brings to life the metal lampshades hanging from the rafters.

Moonflower is a tropical plant that germinates from seed, which form in pods.

Salim Juma, the gardener at Kilua Resort, says the plant blossoms well in full sunlight.

“These plants also adapt well to shade,” Juma adds as he picks some dried-up flowers.

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The plant blossoms with fragrant white, bell-shaped flowers which open from sundown to sun up and one can literally watch them unfurl at dusk.

“We water all our plants twice a day, mainly morning and evening to ensure that they stay ever green,” the gardener adds.

The soil should be well drained to ensure the roots of moonflower plant do not rot.

Juma regularly adds flowers to the garden whenever he sees the need to.

The hotel has a flower nursery where they grow plants that suits their taste.

He say tending to the plants regularly helps him know which plant needs to be replaced because it has dried.

"For the moonflower, we have to remove the dead leaves, make sure the plant is not hanging to the lower level because the restaurant should be clean and friendly always," Juma says adding that snakes have never invaded the flower.

"Many people always think the flower is fake but when they visit us they are taken aback by the truth that it is a real plant," Hassan Feisal, the manager, adds.

In addition to the Moonflower, the balconies of the hotel are pampered with different types of plants, both the flowering and non-flowering.

Juma informs us that the balcony collection includes, the Peace Lily, Haliconia (Lobster-claws), Fern, Desert Rose and Dracaena.

Peace lily is one of the most common houseplants because they’re easy to grow and beautiful, too They require well drained soil and for those growing it indoors have to repot it time and again.

Lobster claw plant characterized by large, brightly coloured leaves that are oval in shape. They cluster up the stem and do well in partial shade or full sunlight. They are also called parrot flower. They bloom with beautiful bright red flowers.

Ferns love a humid atmosphere, but they also prefer moist soil as well. For the parts which are dry or attacked by pests, remove them to avoid the same spreading to other parts.

Desert rose are plants with succulent stems and deep red flowers. In their bonsai form, they can be grown indoor or outdoor. They are hardy plants and do not need much attention.

Dracaena require less water than most indoor plants. They also require soil with good drainage. Before a fresh watering, make sure that the top soil is dry as overwatering results in rotting of the plant.

The hanging plants blend well with the white paints on the walls. Also, in the area near the pool and most of the edges are palm trees some which act as shade and some tables and seats are arranged under them.

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