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Turquoise Puya

Medinilla sp. Madagascar 

The island of Madagascar has some of the world's most unusual living things, like this rare Medinilla.  This showy rainforest species has a wacky habit of flowering along the main stems, instead of from panicles on the branches, like most Medinillas.  The species name of this fascinating plant is unknown.  It is a choice collector's plant with attractive foliage and a striking floral show nearly all year.  It is very rare in cultivation, and almost never seen for sale.

Medinilla sp. Madagascar

 This is an evergreen species that tends to grow as an epiphyte on tree branches.  Its odd flowering habit might serve to entice the tree-dwelling lemurs of Madagascar's rainforests, to help disperse the seeds.  The plant grows to about 3 feet tall, with large, thick leaves that have red veins underneath.  The lower branches are almost always covered in blooms.  The flowers curiously stay closed for a very long time and open very briefly, so it always looks like the plant is about to explode into bloom at any time!  The flowers are bright pink & orange, and are followed by fruit that turns from red to almost black.  About 90% of Madagascar's forests are gone due to deforestation, so it's likely that this species is dwindling in numbers.

Medinilla sp. Madagascar

Photos used with permission of SFSU Greenhouse

The plant will probably need to be grown indoors, except in Zones 10 or above.  Ideal temperatures seem to be between 55 and 85 degrees F (13-29 degrees C).  I have no information how it will do outside that temperature range.  It is easy to grow in a pot in a loose medium.  A typical mix is 1 part potting soil, 1 part perlite, and 1 part fine-grade orchid bark.  Or use equal parts of coir fiber, perlite, and fine-grade bark.  Aim to keep the soil evenly moist (but not soggy).  Since it comes from forests, it enjoys filtered sunlight.  It might need some protection from strong afternoon sun.  Over 50% humidity is recommended.

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Germination tips for this plant

 

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Turquoise Puya

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