Medinilla Magnifica, aka the Malaysian Orchid or the Pink Lantern
Medinilla magnifica has seen a huge surge in popularity since its introduction to the plant lover's market in America. It was voted the Favorite New Flowering Plant at the Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition in 2012. Its huge blossoms and vibrant pinkish colors will make your friends "pink" with envy.
It is commonly called the Malaysian orchid although it is not in the orchid family. Other names used by various nurseries and growers are the pink lantern and rose grape.
Medinilla Magnifica's Natural Habitat
This luscious beauty grows naturally in the humid mountains of the Philippines. It is an epiphyte, which is a plant that grows on trees or other plants. An epiphyte does no harm to the host plant, and instead relies on rain, air and accumulated rotting vegetation for survival. Medinilla magnifica is usually found growing upright in the forks of larger trees.
The medinilla is an evergreen shrub that grows up to eight feet tall in its native environment. The thick leathery 10 inch leaves are attractive by themselves, but once this plant blooms it is drop-dead gorgeous. The enormous deep-pink flowers droop off long stems which can grow up to a foot long.
Where in the USA Can Medinilla Be Grown Outdoors?
It grows well when planted outdoors in Hawaii and the warm, humid regions of the southernmost areas of the United States.
It can tolerate short-term temperature drops down to forty degrees, although some people have reported their plants have recovered nicely from occasional freezing temperatures.
It may be best to overwinter this tropical plant inside if you live outside hardiness zones 10 or 11 in the U.S.
Medinilla magnifica does well as an outdoor container plant, but take care to not keep the roots constantly wet as that invites root rot, which can be fatal to most plants.
It prefers early morning and late afternoon sun during the summer. The large, leathery leaves are susceptible to sunburn if exposed to the blistering summer sun.
It is a spring/summer bloomer when planted outdoors, although people have reported that in some areas it will bloom well into the fall. The blooms will attract bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects. Vigilant "dead-heading" of the old blossoms will encourage more new blooms.
To keep the plant compact, prune the medinilla only after blooming. But be careful with your pruning shears; a branch pruned too hard will die unless at least two leaves are left growing.
Fertilize monthly during growing season with a high-phosphorous fertilizer. It prefers a rich, well-drained, slightly acidic soil with a pH of 6.1 to 6.5.
Have you ever owned a medinilla magnifica?
Growing Medinilla Magnifica Indoors
- The potted magnifica plant needs to be placed in a bright room with plenty of direct sunlight.
- Keep the plant away from cool drafts from doors or windows. Drafts will increase water loss and may contribute to leaf drop or even death.
- Let the soil dry out well between watering to avoid root diseases. The plant should be watered less often in the winter when the plant's growth slows. Remember, this plant is an epiphyte and is not used to having constantly wet roots.
- The indoor medinilla loves and thrives in a humid environment. It will need to be misted frequently or grown in a room with plenty of humidity. A bathroom would be a perfect place for your tropical beauty if there is enough natural light. You can also set the pot and base on a tray of pebbles which are immersed in water which will slowly release moisture.
If your "pink lantern" plant isn't thriving, check these common symptoms and their possible causes:
- The plant may not be receiving enough light.
- The plant may be under watered
- The soil may be poor. Either re-pot or fertilize.
Petals Drop Prematurely?
- The soil may be too dry.
- The plant may not be getting enough light.
- Humidity is too low.
Leaves and stems are limp?
- If the stems are yellowing and soft to the touch, it needs to be watered more.
- The humidity may be too low.
The leaves or leaf tips are turning brown or black?
- The plant may have been over watered.
- If outdoors, the plant may have been nipped by frost.
- Check your humidity. Humidity levels in a home can drop down to below 15% in the winter. Mist the plant daily.
Where Can Medinilla Magnifica Be Found for Sale?
Local nurseries in southern stores may carry this tropical pink beauty, but if not you can order it online.
There are also many smaller online merchants who either raise the plant themselves, or who wholesale the seeds and/or plants.
If you are planning on growing the medinilla magnifica from seed, be aware it may be up to three years before the plant is mature enough to flower.
If you have a really good friend who is lucky enough to own a medinilla, ask her for a leaf cutting or root division so you can grow your own tropical plant with pretty pink petals.