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Medinilla Plant Profile

Medinilla Plant Profile

Medinilla (Medinilla magnifica) is an evergreen tropical deciduous plant. If you’ve traveled around Southeast Asia, you may have marveled at this tropical beauty that grows atop branches, drooping its vibrant 18-inch flower spikes like otherworldly grapes. Flower gardeners living in USDA growing zones 10 and 11 can grow Medinilla as a tender outdoor perennial, but others need to grow this exotic flower as a houseplant or tropical patio.

Medinilla magnifica, also known as pink lantern plant and rosebush, belongs to the Melastomataceae family. Medinillas bear flower spikes resembling clusters of small grapes set against attractive dark green foliage. Some Medinillas have showy bracts at the base of their flower clusters that resemble flower petals.

Medinillas are evergreen shrubs in their natural habitat, which includes Java, the Malay Peninsula, the Philippines and Sumatra. Adding to the tropical appearance of this plant, the leaves grow up to 14 inches in length. The leaves are ribbed and moderately juicy. The average height of a Medinilla shrub is 3 to 4 feet, but you can keep the plant at a reasonable indoor height by prune after flowering.

landscape used
You can grow Medinilla plants as houseplants, but many find that their moisture requirements make them better specimens for patios or greenhouses. Last but not least, giving your Medinilla a summer vacation outdoors in a partially sunny spot will boost their vitality. An added bonus to growing Medinillas outdoors is their attraction to birds, bees, and butterflies.

How to grow Medinilla
Medinilla plants can be epiphytic in the rainforest, meaning they grow on trees or shrubs rather than in the ground. In this environment, the Medinilla uses its host for support but is not parasitic – it does not deprive or harm its host plant of nutrients.

If you are growing as a pot specimen, you can use commercial orchid growing medium that resembles something like coarse bark. This allows air to circulate around the roots, which helps prevent root diseases. An orchid pot that contains additional ventilation holes is also well suited for a Medinilla specimen. In suitable climates, Medinilla plants can also grow outdoors in well-drained soil.

All Medinillas grow best in dappled shade; direct sun will scorch the leaves or cause leaf fall. Consider the Medinilla’s habitat: as it grows in the lower branches of tall trees in the jungle, it receives dappled sunlight; You should try to provide similar terms.

Medinillas do well in an orchid pot mix with some peat moss; They appreciate the slightly acidic soil conditions caused by peat moss. Or you can use a diluted acidifying fertilizer to adjust the pH of the soil.

Medinilla plants need above average moisture and don’t like drying winds. The soil should be kept constantly moist, but not waterlogged. Reduce watering slightly in winter.