A home is as much the building as it is the lot, and yours can have a greater Filipino touch with the following trees that are native to the Philippines
A Filipino home is not complete without having some greens. Aside from adding color to an otherwise bland façade, shrubberies and trees definitely give life to your house, literally and figuratively. Having plants gives homes depth and makes them a bit more natural and closer to the environment. Some believe that plants actually gleam with positive energy that truly makes any house a home.
Although gardening depends on whatever space is available, for small houses with little front and backyards, flowering shrubs and ornamental grass will do. But if you have a large open space that waits to be groomed, adding trees to your landscape plan would be wise to give your garden the oomph it needs. So get your green thumbs ready and take a look at these 15 trees native to the Philippines. Some of them are even considered fast-growing trees in the Philippines. Some would even say that these native trees are better than cherry blossoms. This list of trees in the Philippines will make you realize the important contribution made by trees to the environment. Make sure to read until the very end to see three tree planting tips for the different types of trees in the Philippines.
In a tropical country like the Philippines, papaya trees (Carica papaya) are a common sight, especially in the rural areas. If you have a large backyard, it would definitely be a missed opportunity if you do not consider planting papaya. More than just adding another shade of green, growing papaya is a practical choice as it bears fruit that has plenty of culinary uses, either as dessert, an ingredient for Filipino favorite chicken tinola, or pickled to make atchara.
Papaya is very easy to cultivate. Grown from seeds, the tree does not need much space to grow. If there are two things these trees love, these are lots of sunlight and a healthy soil. Three papaya trees would be a good number, but you have to make sure that at least one is a male tree. Male papayas do not bear fruit; instead, they help in the pollination of female trees. Lucky if you get to have hermaphrodite ones as they self-pollinate.
If you love to wake up to a familiar hint of jasmine that refreshes your soul, then growing ylang-ylang tree (Cananga odorata) in your yard is what you should do. Ylang-ylang is a fast-growing tree in the Philippines that could grow to as tall as 12 meters if grown in an ideal climate. It has these long, silky leaves and greenish-yellow drooping flowers. However, you might have to wait a little longer before it blooms as ylang-ylang seedling can take up to five years to flower.
Fun fact: ylang-ylang is said to be the key ingredient of the popular scent Chanel No. 5.
This is one of the herbal trees the country is known for. Reaching a height of up to 30 meters, the neem tree (Azadirachta indica) has shiny pinnate leaves attached to limp branches that sway beautifully with the wind. Fully grown, this tree gives a decent amount of shade from the sun. A blog compiled by some pharmacy students in Bacolod said that its leaves can be used to treat leprosy, eye disorders, stomach problems, and skin ulcers. The tree’s bark, on the other hand, can be used to treat malaria and some skin diseases. Others believe that this tree produces a scent that keeps mosquitoes away, a good weapon to guard your house against those pesky insects.
Another flower-bearing ornamental tree, champak (Magnolia champaca) grows to a height of six meters, which is relatively small compared to others. This tree has a silvery to grayish bark and yellowish to golden flowers that also give off a particular scent, and as such adds a little romance to your backyard. Caring for this tree requires extra effort, as it needs a moist environment to thrive in the best shape. During its early stages, the plant needs plenty of water source and lots of sunlight.
The next time you see a pine-looking tree in your neighborhood, better look closely as it may be agoho (Casuarina equisetifolia) that you are seeing. This tree is often mistaken for being a member of the Pinus family given its resemblance to pines. According to the blog Our Philippine Trees, agoho is actually a flowering tree whose stems are quite similar to pine needles and whose fruit looks like pine cones. As such, it gives a mountainy feel to any landscape. Once it is fully grown, agoho becomes fairly drought-tolerant, meaning it can do well even without the constant supply of water.
Another tropical staple, the mango tree (Mangifera indica) is something you can usually find in sprawling gardens. Bonnie Grant of the blog Gardening Know How noted that this tree takes several years to grow into a sturdy evergreen. Easily grown from seed, the mango tree needs full sun to bear good fruits. It can survive in any soil type as long as it is well-drained. Known for its sweet fruit, the mango can reach maturity at three years, and from then it flowers and bears fruit rather quickly, especially if it is in season.
The Philippines’ national leaf should, of course, be on the list of trees to add to your garden. Growing to 20 meters tall, the anahaw (Saribus rotundifolius) perfectly blends in the background, as it towers over all other elements of the landscape. It is truly a standout tree especially when it starts to bear brick-red fruits and flowers. However, there’s more to this than being a great backdrop in your garden. Anahaw is popular in crafts making as its dried leaves can be used to make fans, bags, and food wrappers.
Another one from the herbal bunch is banaba (Lagerstroemia speciosa), a flowering tree that typically grows in warm climates. It can reach up to 10 meters high, with large green oblong-shaped leaves. This tree has nut-like fruit and lavender flowers, which when in full bloom are truly a sight to behold. According to Medical Health Guide, the banaba tree’s leaves and flowers have insulin-like properties that can be used as herbal treatment for diabetes mellitus.
A favorite among Filipino gardeners, katmon (Dillenia philippinensis) has always been used in urban landscaping. This evergreen is a medium-sized tree, which is perfect for smaller yards. Its trunk is erect and the whole tree can grow to a height of up to 15 meters. The tree’s canopy is bushy with thick leathery leaves. The tree is also known for its edible fruits and its white blossoms that have blood-red centers.
Does this name ring a bell to you? It probably does, as it is mentioned in the Filipino folk song “Sitsiritsit.” However, don’t mistake this name for an insect, as it is actually an ornamental tree that has pink to purple flowers and heart-shaped leaves. Often seen lining up roads, alibangbang (Bauhinia spp.) tree is relatively small and can grow the maximum height of 10 meters.
The reliable Narra tree is the Philippines’ national tree. If you’ve got a space in your backyard to spare, having one of these durable trees in your home is the ultimate way to showcase the beauty of Filipino flora. Vibrant yellow flowers bloom from the Narra trees’ branches every February to May, yielding sweet honey and a slight fragrance that perfumes the surrounding environment.
Bring a bit of island life into your home with the Dap-dap tree. This tree can grow up to 27 meters tall and is often found along the seashore. Its most notable feature is its beautiful bright red flowers, which are used as an organic medicine to treat infections and joint pain.
Malabulak is a majestic tree known for its vibrant cup-shaped red flowers which blossom during the cold months, particularly in February, and attract plenty of birds. They’re often found in Bulacan, but they’re also scattered throughout Metro Manila. Malabulak can grow up to 25 meters high, so it’s best to save some extra space in your backyard before bringing this tree into your home.
If you’re from Pangasinan, you might have heard of a town called Bani, which is named after this stunning tree. Bani is a common legume tree that can grow up to 15 to 25 meters tall with a large, expansive canopy with beautiful clusters of purple, white, and pink flowers. If you’ve got a large garden or yard that receives a lot of sunlight, you might want to consider planting one of these trees, as it can serve as shade during the summer months thanks to its sweeping canopy.
Salingbobog is perhaps the closest tree that the Philippines has to Japan’s famous cherry blossoms. This moderately-sized tree can grow up to 15 meters, and can fit into most standard homes without a problem. Salingbobog can grow beautiful green-yellow flowers that turn purple, white, and yellow over time. These flowers are also filled with sweet nectar, which can draw in a host of friendly birds and insects.
Best Indoor Plants to Keep at Home
Trees aren’t the only thing you can introduce into your home to give it that quintessential Filipino touch. There are also plenty of indoor plants that can liven up your living space. The best part about them is that they don’t take up much room and they’re easy to take care of, even if you don’t have a green thumb.
Here are some excellent indoor plants to consider bringing into your home.
Rubber trees can grow up to 10-feet in height and feature beautiful dark green leaves and slender branches. This plant is a popular choice for beginner plant parents since it doesn’t require much maintenance besides periodic repotting and pruning. You just need to make sure to dry out the soil in between watering it and place it in a well-lit area.
The Philippine Ebony is a gorgeous native tree known for its smooth black hardwood trunk and lustrous green leaves. When it grows to its full height, it stands at 30-meters high, but its compact bonsai variant allows it to be kept indoors. It’s a hardy tree that can thrive well under the shade, making it the perfect addition to a home that doesn’t receive much natural light.
Lucky Bamboos are often given as a housewarming gift in the Philippines, and for good reason. This plant is said to bring good luck to anyone who keeps it in their home. It’s very easy to maintain too, needing only a small amount of water and indirect sunlight to thrive.
Aloe Vera is the perfect little plant to keep in your home since they’re relatively easy to take care of, needing only a bright sunny spot and minimal watering. Besides looking great, you can also use the sap in its leaves as a moisturizer or a salve to treat sunburns and cuts.
There you have it, the 15 trees and several indoor plants that will help you achieve the dream home you have always longed for. Before you start digging and planting, here are three things you should keep in mind when planting different types of trees in the Philippines.
Growing trees is not a walk in the park. It takes commitment, passion, and patience. A tree may take at least two years to fully grow and you might have to wait a bit longer before it can unleash its full beauty.
Always Choose the Natural Option
This is important especially in the early stages of the tree when it needs fertilizing. Always choose organic ways to nourish your trees. Research and try to read on gardening topics.
Pick the Right Spot
Make sure that the tree you chose is sufficiently watered and planted on a spot that gets lots of sunlight. In some cases (as in the case of mango), it is better to plant a tree some distance away from your house, as its roots can grow quite extensively and might cause damage to your walls.
Master the art of growing plants in your home with these tips and tricks.