Gable loves to surround herself with plants year round, and as a former landscaper, she has treated many ornamental plant diseases.
Medinilla magnifica has seen a huge surge in popularity since its introduction to the plant lover's market in America. It was voted "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'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 U.S. 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 the 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.
Growing Medinilla Indoors
- The potted Medinilla 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:
Leaves Are Yellow
- The plant may not be receiving enough light.
- The plant may be underwatered
- The soil may be poor. Either re-pot or fertilize.
Petals Are Dropping 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.
Leaves or Leaf Tips Are Brown or Black
- The plant may have been overwatered.
- 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 I Buy a Medinilla?
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.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
Question: My Medinilla plant has developed white spots in the leaves from one day to another. Did it get a fungus? What can I do?
Answer: Some tiny white spots which look like grains are actually growth sugars and indicate a healthy plant.
If the spots are spreading over the surface of the leaves, I would suspect a fungus such as powdery mildew, and use a fungicide as a repellent. White spots could be caused by insects or a chemical coming into contact with the leaves as well.
Question: I have had a Medinilla for three years now, and it's not flowering. What fertilizer should I get?
Answer: Any orchid or houseplant fertilizer will work with the Medinilla.
Keep in mind that if conditions such as humidity, temperature or light are not just right, the plant won't flower.
If you have a bathroom with bright, indirect light, try moving the plant there. The humidity that comes with bathing or showering may be just what it is lacking.
Question: How long does the Medinilla magnifica flower survive after blooming?
Answer: Some blossoms last for months.
Question: My plant has new leaves, but no flowers. What temperature is best to overwinter in New England?
Answer: New leaves are a good sign of a healthy plant. You haven't stated how long you have had the plant, but Medinilla need plenty of sunlight to flower. With shorter daylight hours in the north, consider adding an artificial source of light.
The Medinilla is a tropical plant, so it loves warmth. Keep it in a heated room away from cold drafts, and it should be fine.
© 2013 Gable Rhoads
Maggie on June 29, 2020:
I just brown stem now, the flower was amazing then the flower and leaves fell off around November / December and nothing has grown since, what should I do?
Ronni on June 10, 2020:
I have a very very large plant in Hawaii rain forest it rains every day and the 10 ft plant is under trees. I don't do anything for it and it grows beautifully
Marilyn rizzo on April 23, 2019:
I have four medinilla plants but they have not bloom since I bought them several years ago. They were blaming when I bought them but I keep them on the porch outside so they may not get enough Sun.
Sean d on April 08, 2019:
I have a medinlla for two years .It flower each year . One off the leaves on bottom off the plant has turned red. And another one is started to turn to.
Does any one know what is causing this.
dalia on June 29, 2018:
i received seed Medinila Magnefice.How can germination this seed.
I need instruction for that
Thank you for your help
Shameem on January 18, 2018:
Hi.... I have my medinilla for 2 yrs n never give folwers plz help.
dead Mednilla on September 22, 2017:
My indoor Mednilla did well for two seasons. It has dropped all its leaves, although they are fleshy. Can I plant these leaves with the base in the soil? or place the entire leaf under the soil? in the pot and hope that they grow?
Maria on May 22, 2017:
I have this plant medinilla magnifica it has not flower for me. Although lots of new leaves has grown in, kind of curly. I water from the bottom for 30 min. Now see new growth like brown, I hope that it's not drying out.
Sylvia 12 on June 23, 2016:
I own a Medinilla Magnifica and it has given me two sets of beautiful flowers.After flowering I did not cut it back, but kept watering it once a week by immersing it in water for 10 minutes, and continually spraying it. One leaf dropped off leaving five leaves, but over a month ago two new leaves started growing from the earth which have now grown quite big. o My worry is do I trim the old leaves off or wait for them to drop off by themselves, I dont want to restrict the growth of the new leaves. Also where do I trim them so I do not damage plant. Please help with your advice
Gable Rhoads (author) from North Dakota on April 05, 2014:
It is a beautiful flowering plant. It isn't commonly found in local nurseries.
precy anza from USA on April 04, 2014:
I don't think I've seen this plant before. But glad I stumbled into your hub and learned about it. Love the color, beautiful! :)