Rose Grape Medinella or Malaysian Orchid.
Coming into full flower in the summer / autumn is a handsome leafed, shrubby plant which belongs to the Melastomataceae or the Tibouchina family which give such a good show up here. Medinella myriantha is a small one metre + high plant that comes from the Philippines, Indonesia and Southeast Asia.
It is found quite often in its native countries growing as an epiphyte in trees where it gives bright splashes of colour. With its colourful pink clusters of flowers hanging down from amongst the glossy, veined leaves it certainly catches the eye. Flowering is generally over the warmer months but in warm climates they flower all the year round. When the clusters of fruit form they are pink but gradually ripen to a deep purple in colour and are quite shiny.
Medinella myriantha will grow in light shade to full sun and will stand quite cold conditions but they don’t like frost. I find that they are drought tolerant but appreciate a good soaking now and again. Soil should be free draining and it is a good idea to have plenty of organic mulch around them.
Because they naturally grow as an epiphyte these plants make good hanging basket subjects. Don’t use too small a basket as the plant will grow over a metre wide in the long term.
Many people confuse this plant with Medinella magnifica, a very spectacular species also from the Philippines. This one has large, pink bracts above the flower clusters and is much more tropical. I haven’t seen one growing outside in New Zealand.
Medinellas are usually propagated by cuttings although I have had one seedling come up in the garden.