The panorama on the sunrise side: an awesome view of Malarayat

The quiet panorama on the sunrise side of the farm: an awesome view of Mount Malaráyat and the river below the gap.

21 October 2011

The Many Shades of Purple

Spathoglottis plicata

Purple has many shades and a lot of them are named after flowers: "lilac," "mauve," even "violet" is named after a bloom. But hardly any of the names are from tropical plants, when in fact there is a bigger palette of colors in warm climate flora.

Pink Quill Bromeliad/Tillandsia cyanea
This month alone, four plants: a ground orchid (above) two bromeliads (left and bottom) and a flowering vine (below) are making the gardens more mesmerizing with their gentle purple blush. Cool colors are not too common in a tropical garden and they always give an interesting contrast to the warm oranges and bright yellows. In my experience, purple-hued flowers always command a second look, and psychologically calms rather than excites. It is a color that quiets me down, and causes me to be introspective.

The orchid on top is a Spathoglottis species, a low-growing terrestrial that we have begun propagating this year. Just like typical orchids, it had seeds like dust falling off its dried flowers. This one is particularly prolific this year; flowering continuously already for several weeks.

The tiny flower above is of a pink-bract bromeliad from the Tillandsia family. They're best grown potted because of its small size.

The flowering vine below is the infamous garlic vine, pretty to look at but the leaves and the flowers smell like, uh, garlic. At least, they only smell when you pick them, so they're best left high up on a trellis.

A Neoregelia bromeliad (bottom) has mauve-colored leaves when young then changes to stripes with mauve blotches as they mature. This particular one has miniscule flowers, still mauve, in the center of the rosette.

Garlic Vine/Pachyptera alliacea
Neoregelia variety


  1. Hi, you should plant the Philippine Violets. I didn't know it is called like that in other countries, just found out in a few blogs abroad. It is Barleria cristata, which also has a white variety. I am also attracted by blues and violets, but yes they are more abundant in cold climes.

  2. I'll look it up, Andrea. Thanks for suggesting. In a few months, my other purple-flowering plants will also be in season na.