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Medinilla crassata - Chandelier Plant

The exotic "Chandelier Plant" - Medinilla crassata - is a terrific discovery from the jungles of the Philippines.  My camera has a hard time capturing its luminous colors, but the lavender-blue bracts and translucent petals have all the elegance of a crystal chandelier!  For most of the year, the plant is covered with these stunning dangling clusters, which are followed by attractive berries.  This is a choice houseplant that happens to be easy to grow!  It is pretty rare, and fresh seeds are rarely seen for sale.

Medinilla crassata - Chandelier Plant

Medinilla crassata is a compact, evergreen bush in the Melastome family.  It typically grows 2 to 3 feet tall and wide, although it can potentially get 6 feet tall or more.  Its glossy leaves and woody stems make this an attractive plant even without blooms.  The pendulous, 5 inch-long flower panicles can cover the plant most months of the year.  Their colorful bracts go through several shades ranging from bluish-gray to lavender, with an ethereal glow that is truly beautiful.  After flowering, bright red berries appear, which ripen to deep purple.  Sometimes this plant is incorrectly called "Medinilla alata", but the real Medinilla alata is very different according to botanical descriptions.

Medinilla crassata - Chandelier Plant

I have only grown it indoors at room temperature, so i don't know the minimum and maximum temperature that it can take.  It should handle heat well, but it's possible that it may not like cool conditions, so use caution in temperatures below about 50 degrees F (10 degrees C).  It grows well in filtered sunlight, or morning sun + bright afternoon shade.  I haven't grown it in strong afternoon sun, but i suspect it might burn from it.  It does well in a pot in a loose, well-draining medium.  A typical mix is 1 part potting soil, 1 part perlite, and 1 part fine-grade bark.  Keep the soil evenly moist (but not soggy) and feed it like a typical houseplant.  Over about 50% humidity is recommended.

Medinilla crassata - Chandelier Plant

Photos used with permission of SFSU Greenhouse

 

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Turquoise Puya

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