Flora in HDB Estates

By : Priya Shandhini
30 September 2014

Singapore enjoys the reputation of a clean and green city. The verdant landscape we see around us has not been the result of accidental plantings, but rather, part of Singapore’s dream to be a city in a garden.

Beyond the lush green foliage and bougainvillea shrubs which line the East Coast Parkway and which greet residents and visitors upon touching down at the Airport, there are other green and colourful pockets all around the island.


A sprinkling of orange leaves on a lush green tree

Our HDB estates are no different. Green nodes can be found within developments, and many a time, they help to beautify the neighbourhoods on top of ‘greening’ them. With the variety of plants and trees in our estates, this means that you don’t even need to step out too far from your homes to be close to nature. Plants also lower the ambient temperature of the surroundings, so having more greenery in your estate helps you keep cool as you make your errand runs.


Green sanctuaries can be found in every estate

The yellow cane palm, with its breezy leaves

A serene spot under the Trumpet Tree, known for its distinctive pink trumpet-shaped flowers

The Miagos bush, which is commonly found in HDB estates

(Left photo) Creeping daisy – Fast growing groundcover with yellow flowers sometimes planted on slopes

Excoecaria cochinchinensis (Variegated) that has leaves with a reddish underside

(From left) Heliconia with colourful bracts not flowers, and Syzygium campanulatum, which has orange-coloured young leaves

Plant types specifically selected to accentuate the ‘riverine/ Chinese garden’ feel of the space

HDB has been designing landscapes with relevance to the theme and heritage of the areas. For instance, the new Punggol Waves development in the waterfront town of Punggol features coastal plants in addition to other common plants. These plants were chosen to reinforce Punggol’s heritage of a former fishing village.


The Fish-killer tree which has parts that have medicinal values, at Punggol Waves

A closer look at the Beach Morning Glory plant, at Punggol Waves

Residents would just need to step out of their HDB flats to find an array of plant types

(Clockwise from top) Borneo Mahogany, Pandanus Pygmaeus, Spider Lily, Sea Lettuce and Umbrella plant are mostly coastal plants which reinforce the identity of Punggol Waves

In addition, herb and spice plants can also be spotted in new developments at the multi-storey car park roof garden, such as in Treegrove@Woodlands. These plants have been planted to sow the seeds for community gardening initiatives in the area.


Plants at the Treegrove@Woodlands car park roof garden

(Clockwise from top left) Check out herb and spice plants like Pomegranate, Purple Cat’s Whiskers, Neem and Lemon Grass at Treegrove@Woodlands

Did you know? – A guide to some interesting plants featured in this article

Fish-killer tree: Native tree, with fruits that are able to float. Fruit and seed are used as fish poison, however some plant parts like the bark have medicinal value (e.g. can treat backaches).

Beach Morning Glory: Creeping groundcover plant type with pinkish-purple trumpet flowers.

Borneo Mahogany: Native tree with glossy oval shaped leaves.

Umbrella plant: Aquatic plant (with leaves in an umbrella shape) that is usually found next to freshwater pond, lake or river.

Sea Lettuce: Native, coastal shrub, with medicinal value.

Weeping Willow: The tree is easily recognised by its open crown of pendulous leaves/branches.

Neem: People in India bathe in water with Neem extracts to treat health problems. The seed oil and by-products are also used to make soap, pesticides and other products.

Purple Cat’s Whiskers: Shrub with purple flowers that have a whiskered appearance. Leaves are used to make tea to treat kidney ailments.

Lemon Grass: Used commonly to flavour food and leaves can be boiled to make drinks.

Pomegranate: Well-known as an edible fruit but did you know that people often grow them as a symbol of fertility, wealth and luck?

Such distinct plants can be found in other HDB estates as well. Which are your favourites? Share your photos with us by emailing us at mynicehome@mailbox.hdb.gov.sg!


By the way, there is more to landscaping than just plants! Keen to find out more? Check out the ‘Designing Landscape’ article on Dwellings.sg.






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