The Medinillas are a tropical genus of around 150 species from Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific islands. The species Medinilla magnifica from the Philippines has large, dark green, oval leaves up to a foot long. It is grown for its hanging, pink flowers up to 20 inches long. M. magnifica is grown as a houseplant, but it can reach 6 feet high. It is known as the medinilla, love plant, rose grape or Malaysian orchid. The similar species M. myriantha is known as the Malaysian orchid, or Malaysian grapes.
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Place your medinilla plant in a bright location, such as a south- or west-facing windowsill, that receives indirect sunlight. Place the pot on a dish or damp pebbles, and rotate every week to maintain even growth.
Mist your medinilla regularly with rainwater or bottled water containing few minerals. Water as soon as its compost starts to dry out, and allow all excess water to drain away. Aim to moisten the compost evenly, rather than soaking it thoroughly.
Fertilise every two weeks during the warmer months of the year with a liquid houseplant fertiliser diluted by 50 per cent.
Re-pot your medinilla in a free-draining potting compost formulated for African violets or orchids. Make your own by combining one part humus or leaf mould, with one part peat and one part coarse sand or perlite.
Propagate your medinilla by taking 5-inch cuttings in the late spring. Plant in moist, standard potting compost and seal inside a clear plastic bag until they are rooted. Medinilla plants can also be propagated from seed.
Prune your medinilla plants at the end of the summer. Cut all branches back by 50 per cent.
Tips and warnings
- Regular misting helps to prevent spider mite infestations on medinilla plants. Help medinilla cuttings to root quickly by dipping them in rooting powder and providing bottom heat.
- Medinilla plants will not tolerate frost or low temperatures and should be kept at a minimum of 15.6 degrees Celsius.
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