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Started by Peter Lopez, January 18, 2012, 08:10:04 PM

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Peter Lopez

Sorry to bother everyone.

What are the tropical plants and trees I can use for a Japanese garden in the Philippines?

I believe most Japanese plants and trees cannot survive the heat we have here.



Not a bother at all Peter..
how about reversing the idea?
what plants were used in tropical climates before the gardens moved north having to find replacements?
for example the temple tree Ficus religiousa was adapted to the Linden, Tilia spp., so that the idea would be carried through from a warm climate to a colder one. Now go backwards. because the gardens started tropical and then went north.

pine was podocarpus: Buddhist pine

the question then is: what plants would you like to use that provide the sense of the garden you wish to create?         
(to answer the real question: there are many many lists of tropical plants and you can use any that work to convey the idea you are presenting = no point in giving out a useless list when one does not know what you wish to communicate in your garden)           edzard

Peter Lopez

Thank you very  much for your quick reply Edzard.

I am looking for a replacement for Japanese maple.  It seems that all types of maple can't withstand the heat we have here.


Peter, try this..
Acer laurinum Hasskari


and photo: http://homepage2.nifty.com/chigyoraku/EIndones.html
select the one from Sulawesi, that hangs like the maples commonly seen in Japan.

rephrasing the question though, why is a maple important? Is maple the only solution for the 'idea*' of your garden?  (*idea is the idea with which you are building the garden, using the pieces, the trees and stone, to express what you are saying in the garden)
do you have trees that have a similar growth habit or can be trained to the growth habit?

on the other hand if the color is the important part, then you could try a potentially invasive plant if you already have it locally.. Sapium


What about Wrightia religiosa   ?

Peter Lopez

Thanks for the reply Edzard.  I finally got hold of some locally available pines - Pinus insularis.  Hopefully it can withstand the heat in Manila as these plants are common in Baguio city (way up).

I am also looking forward in getting some Acer laurinum and Wrightia religiosa.  Hopefully they are readily available.




I have worked with some of those Pines in Baguio, I doubt they will survive in Manila.  You can grow some magnificent Bamboos, though.

Araucaria heterophylla is the closest thing I saw to a Pine that grew by the coast (Calapan).  Is Podocarpus gracilior available?  I still grow Frangipani in our office to remind me of those days.  Perhaps Albizia julibrissin would help if you could keep it under control.


Peter Lopez

Hi James;

Thanks for your reply.  Wow, those Baguio Pine sure looks awesome.

I doubt also the availability of those Podocarpus gracilior.  It's a pity we got limited choices here. 


Italian Stone Pine would probably be a good one.  Podocarpus and Osmanthus (shade) should do well for you.  Cycas revoluta are used in tropical areas of Japan, and even in Katsura in Kyoto although they are wrapped in winter in colder areas.


Peter... just a thought...
would tree species from Viet Nam work in the Philippines?
James.. you have the living experience, any comment?

reason being: the 2012 Bonsai Exhibition at the Spring Flower festival was posted on the IBC forum, and you can see what species is trainable, how the species trains and can look... naturally, there is a significant difference between niwaki and bonsai, but, the species search needs to start somewhere..
enjoy.. I know I did and thank them for posting the winners...            edzard




Great observations.  Would you agree, Peter, plenty of source ideas?  After this diversion for encouragement, the point Edzard made earlier, regarding purpose and vision, is where to start.  He is a great Socratic conversationalist.  It would help you and the forum if you would pursue those lines of conversation.