By Patricia Bianca S. Taculao
Most of us are familiar with Gretchen Fullido as she graced our television screens to bring us the latest celebrity news in the segment Star Patrol on ABS-CBN’s TV Patrol. She is also known as a model, host, and a triathlete.
There is, however, another side to Fullido that has piqued the interest of many: she’s a plant mom as well!
Using her official Facebook page, the anchor posted photos of her plant babies that she has been growing over the years. One particular variety that caught the eye of many because of its size and pleasing appearance is Fullido’s alocasia (Alocasia marorrhizos) which she named ‘Cher.’
Fullido shared in a Facebook post that she named the plant after the famous singer Cher who she both considers are larger than life.
The elephant in the room
Alocasias, also known as “Elephant Ear” or “Badiang” in Tagalog, are tropical perennial plants characterized by long stalks that can grow up to a height of two meters and its notable large, heart-shaped leaves which earned its moniker.
The leaves are edible but should be cooked first because the plant’s sap can cause skin irritation. The plant is also known to treat infections.
Despite being grown mostly as ornamentals, alocasias can grow wild in clearings and secondary forests at low and medium altitudes in the Philippines. Most of these plants prefer rich, moist soil and can be grown under full sun. However, they generally prefer partial shade.
Elephant ears require little attention but those growing in containers need to be watered regularly during the dry season.
Moreover, alocasias can be planted outdoors but aren’t tough against cold conditions so they need to be transferred indoors.
Gardening to help her mental health and well-being
Other than Cher, Fullido has also been growing other tropical plants such as monsteras and snake plants, among others.
Fullido disclosed that because of gardening, she learned a lot of things such as how to properly care for particular plants and especially how to be patient when things don’t go exactly as planned.
“What planting taught me is patience and persistence. Don’t give up on your plants because they will not give up on you if you put in the effort to keep them alive and happy,” Fullido said in a Facebook post.
Gardening has also helped her with her mental health and general view in life.
“Since I started indoor gardening a few years back, it has helped me with my mental health. Taking care of our plant babies is also a great way for us to be mindful and focus on the little things,” she added.
Using her notability and online platform, Fullido also shares valuable advice for aspiring home gardeners. There was an instance when she bought some Monstera Peru cuttings that have no roots at all.
The anchor advises that it’s necessary to ask plant sellers or suppliers whether or not a cutting has established roots to secure its chances of surviving.
She also shares other plant care tips on her other social media accounts such as It’s a Greta Life! on YouTube.
Although Fullido already has an impressive collection of indoor plants placed all over her house, she hopes to keep it growing and eventually inspire more people to start gardening as well so they too can enjoy the many benefits that she gets from it.
For more updates on Gretchen Fullido’s plant collection, visit Gretchen Fullido’s official Facebook page.