Root Awakening: Linden Plants Need Sunshine and Well-Drained Soil to Thrive, Home & Design News & Top Stories

Linden plants need sun and well-drained soil to thrive

I usually get lime seedlings after the Chinese New Year holiday season. However, making them continue to bloom and bear fruit is a chore. What are plants missing? Do I have to prune them after each fruiting? Also, what is the name of the big lime factory? The leaves and fruits also continue to fall.

Lynne teo

Linden plants appear to be in poor health. Note that these plants grow best in direct sunlight for at least six hours a day. If the plants grow in a shady area, they tend to lose vigor and gradually decline.

The soil should be well drained because citrus fruits, in general, do not like wet feet. Check if the growing medium is still suitable for the plants. Over time, depending on the composition, some growing media break down and settle. This leads to a growth mixture which has compacted and may contain too much water.

You can take the plants out and carefully remove the outer layer of the spent growing medium, then repot them with a well-drained mixture containing more grainy material.

Fruit drop may be due to plant stress caused by too much or too little water as well as fruit fly infestation. It is usually not necessary to prune the plant after fruiting.

As for the identity of the large lime tree, it could be a cultivar of lime tree (Citrus × microcarpa). Identifying exactly can be tricky as there are so many cultivars out there and many look alike.


Soursop lacks nutrients

PHOTO: LIM JOO JOON

My soursop tree is about three and a half years old. About six months ago the leaves turned yellowish green and the new branches stopped growing. But it has many flowers, although none have developed into fruit. I used to prune the plant regularly to use the leaves for making tea and new branches would sprout after a few weeks.

Lim Joo Joon

Soursop exhibits widespread yellowing, indicating that it may lack nitrogen. Have you fertilized the tree?

It is not clear from the photo how your plant is grown.

Check that it is not grown in compacted soil and poorly drained soil. Compacted soils can be corrected over time with mulch and top soil forks, but be careful not to damage the roots.

Waterlogged conditions can be difficult to correct if the plant is growing in low soil. In addition, soursop does not transplant well. In this case, you might want to start some new plants and grow them in a more suitable location.

If the plant is grown in a pot, its roots may have filled the container and the nutrients have been depleted. It can also easily experience water stress due to a small volume of soil. Consider moving the plant to a larger container or growing it in the ground.


Fukien’s tea tree is a popular candidate for bonsai

This plant grew in my flowerpot. I had pruned the branches that had grown, but it continues to grow. What type of plant is it and is it safe to keep?

Sarojani Rethnavelu


PHOTO: SAROJANI RETHNAVELU

The plant is commonly known as the Fukien tea tree. Its botanical name is Ehretia microphylla. Locally, this plant is widely used as a bonsai candidate where it is trained to become a miniature tree in artistic form.

You can find it spontaneously in your flower beds or flower pots, as its seeds are susceptible to being dispersed by birds that consume its small red fruits.

It grows best in direct sunlight, but can also tolerate filtered sunlight. Its leaves are said to be used in making tea and also have medicinal uses. Its red fruits are said to be edible.


Ming Aralia can be propagated by cuttings


PHOTO: MERANDA CHIA

I received this plant about 1 1/2 years ago. It was then between 7cm and 10cm, but has now reached around 1m and looks like a Christmas tree. Can I cut the stalk to regrow it?

Meranda chia

The plant is one of the many cultivars of Polyscias fruticosa, commonly known as Ming Aralia. As the holiday season approaches, why not give it some support by propping it up with a bamboo pole and adorning it with lights and decorations?

If this plant has grown too tall, you can cut it down. The resulting cut stem can be portioned into lengths of 10 cm. These can be planted in smaller pots to take root and they will grow into new plants.

Aralia Ming can grow in both direct and filtered sunlight. It is also a resistant plant to grow in the vegetable garden.


Bitter gourd plant infected with disease


PHOTO: RITA TONG

I notice tiny yellow spots on the leaves of my bitter plant. Are these pests or do they indicate that the plant is lacking in nutrients? If so, what nutrients should I give it?

Rita Tong

The yellow spots could be a fungal disease caused by shady or rainy conditions.

Make sure your plant is grown in direct sunlight – lack of light can weaken the plants and become prone to disease. A dense, shaded canopy will allow pathogenic organisms to thrive and infect a weaker plant. Also give your plant enough air circulation to keep the leaves dry.

Rainy conditions can cause disease due to rain damage as well as predominant wet conditions with lack of sunlight. As such, it’s best to plan your crop growth during the drier part of the year to reduce the incidence of disease.

You can prune the leaves with yellow spots. It is not necessary to feed the nutrients to the plant.


Answers from Dr. Wilson Wong, NParks Certified Practicing Horticulturist, Park Manager and ISA Certified Arborist. He is the founder of Green Culture Singapore and Assistant Assistant Professor (Food Science and Technology) at the National University of Singapore.

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