Saturday, August 23, 2014

Alagaw Project

This an alagaw (Premna), a very popular bonsai material here in Rizal. There are two types of alagaws that I know of: the puno (tree) which is the broad leafed one that Tagalogs and Kapampamgans use to wrap fish like bangus in cooking paksiw and the smaller shrub alagaw locally called alagaw gubat.


  • It is easy to grow and tolerant to pruning.
  • It can be grown from cuttings.
  • Easy to train.
  • Grows fast.
  • Grows branches and leaves almost everywhere on the tree.
  • It's leaves responds to miniaturization very well. In wild the leaves can grow from four to five inches in length but with regular defoliation and trimming, the size can be reduced to about half an inch up to, I have read, an eight of an inch.
  • It can be placed both under direct sunlight or in the shade. But this is not an indoor plant. 
  • Tolerant of insects. I think (caveat: I am not an expert) the odor emitted by the leaves acts as an insect repellent because I have not seen alagaw leaves attacked or consumed by insects. I know this from observation because we have three alagaw trees in our lot. 

I have one thing against Alagaw, it is softwood. It produces beautiful deadwood (jin or shari) but because the wood is not dense, the dead wood decays easily. I haven't tried varnish or preservative yet.

The tree is too tall for me so I reduced it by about three inches from the top.

I do not throw away the cuttings. I collect and plant them in pots because they are materials to work on in the future.

This is where the cuttings go, in a nook where there's a lot of humidity.  

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