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Turquoise Puya

Medinilla balls-headleyi

It's only fitting that an unusual plant should have an unusual name.  Medinilla balls-headleyi is a cool, botanical novelty with showy pink berries that turn lavender when ripe!  The fruits have an odd habit of appearing directly on the stems, instead of from long panicles like most Medinillas.  The plant comes from tropical rainforests in Queensland, Australia, where it is rare.  It is a very decorative species that is rarely seen for sale!

Medinilla balls-headleyi

 It's a vigorous plant that usually has a scrambling habit, with long, woody shoots that weave up into trees.  The shoots typically grow from 4 to 15 feet long, although they may be pruned to any size you wish.  Even without fruit it's an attractive plant, with smooth, leathery leaves that are reddish on the new growth.  Pinkish flowers appear throughout the year and are followed by plump berries that are edible, but more watery than sweet.  It tends to have fruit on it most months of the year.

Medinilla balls-headleyi

It comes from a tropical climate, with conditions similar to Miami.  It grows best in temperatures above 55 degrees F (13 C).  I don't think it can survive frost.  It is easy to grow in a pot or hanging planter in a loose soil mix.  A typical mix is 1 part potting soil, 1 part perlite, and 1 part fine-grade orchid bark.  Keep the soil evenly moist (but not constantly soggy).  It enjoys filtered sunlight, and might need some protection from strong afternoon sun.  Over about 50% humidity is ideal.

Medinilla balls-headleyi

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Germinating the seeds

 

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