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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Rose grape, Medinilla magnifica, Melastomataceae

Rose grape Medinilla magnifica is high on my lamentable list of 'plants that I wish I'd taken better care of'. I bought one in the spring, it flowered well through the summer, struggled through a winter in my cool  conservatory, had a final flourish of flowering in the following spring then keeled over and died. But while it lasted it lived up to its specific name and was truely magnificent. It's an excellent plant for growing in a pot on a high shelf, so that you can look up and appreciate its spectacular dangling inflorescences.

Medinilla magnifica is native to the island of Luzon in the Philippines, where it often grows as a large epiphytic shrub on trees. I visited Luzon a couple of times about 25 years ago, without being lucky enough to see it flowering in its native habitat - but if I could afford a fully heated conservatory with supplementary lighting in winter, it would be first on my list of plants to acquire again.
The Melastomataceae is a tropical family - you can find more on another member of the family that's much easier to cultivate as a house plant here.