Medinilla Pinatubo: Tropical plant’s leaves have been scorched by the early spring sun

Martyn Davey, Head of Horticulture and Design, Easton College
Monday, May 14, 2012
5:10 PM

Question: I have a problem with my plant, which has been wintering in my conservatory but all the leaves have gone like the one enclosed. I spray it, I feed it – but I had no flowers last year. The plant is Medinilla Pinatubo. The flowers are so magnificent it would be a shame to let it die. (Mrs S Woolsey, Caister)

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Medinilla magnifica – common name Rose Grape – is an unusual house plant that originates from the Philippines. This is a tropical plant with long pink hanging flower sprays with canopies of large leaves. They should not be exposed to bright sunlight and some shading is advisable. The brown mark on the leaf you sent in is characteristic of scorch from water on the leaves left in bright sunlight. I hear you cry ‘what sun?’, but this would have been damage in those hot days in March.

Water well enough to thoroughly moisten compost during the growing season, allowing the top of the compost to dry 2cm down before repeating. During winter, water sparingly. Resume watering moderately in early-mid spring when flower stalks become visible.

Medinilla, being tropical, needs to be grown at a temperature of between 18-25C throughout the year, lowering the temperature slightly, but not below 15C, during November to January, or if in flower then after flowering has finished. Apply a standard liquid fertiliser every two weeks once flower buds begin to open. Otherwise feeding is not required.