Apartment plants



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Medinilla is an ornamental plant belonging to the melastomataceae family. It originates from the tropical regions of Asia, includes over fifty species that spontaneously develop. It has a shrub with a cork bark and can reach up to a meter and a half in height. It has opposite leaves, oblong and blooms in large cluster panicles with numerous fleshy flowers. This plant is successfully cultivated by the major floriculturists and has been called "the flower of love". It blooms profusely from April to June with pinkish, pendulous flowers with bracts and bunches of grapes. They are short-lived flowers but nevertheless succeed one another for about three months. The striking and very decorative leaves have five highly highlighted longitudinal ribs. The species has, as already said, numerous varieties and the most widespread are: the M. Giavanensis (native to the Java-Indonesia island), about one meter high, blooms in winter in a greenhouse and gives splendid fleshy flowers in various shades and shades of pink ; the M. Gratiosa which has white flowers slightly shaded in light pink; the M. Scortechinii which is the most striking of the species as it has characteristic panicles of bright red coral; and finally we find the M. Teysmanii, which blooms in early spring and develops pink flowers with a yellow center. Other particular species grow spontaneously in the islands of the Indonesian archipelago and are climbers, however the floriculturists who like to cultivate this plant in a greenhouse to favor the natural habitat (humid heat) cannot easily make this species prosper.

Medinilla cultivation

The Medinilla is therefore a plant that lends itself to being grown in greenhouses. For this operation it requires a soil that is predominantly substantial but light, rich in woodland and chestnut. Multiply by layering. This so called reproduction system allows the multiplication of a plant by separating the roots and making them become suspended in order to favor the natural grafting on other branches. This system is widespread in the processing and creation of bonsai. The Medinilla is a plant that requires abundant water to feed itself, especially in the maximum period of vegetation. The ideal environment must be very bright because it is very useful for the development of colors that will be more vivid. The flower growers reproduce the plant with the cuttings obtained from young suckers detached from the mother plant that are placed to root under the glass bells in a hot and humid greenhouse, at a constant brightness regulated with the traditional system of crepuscular lights widely used in botany and in the breeding of particular tropical fish. This trick consists in simulating the difference in brightness between day and evening without sudden detachment and therefore, irrelevant to the neurovegetative system of the root system of almost all plants that like humans, have their own particular system of reaction to adversity climatic.

Medinilla: maintenance

For the cultivation the soil must be kept at a certain temperature. Because it requires rather high temperatures and a humid atmosphere, it is not possible to grow it inside the apartments. In autumn the plant goes into hibernation and therefore it is necessary to thin out the waterings up to the minimum necessary because it does not risk drying out, at the same time reducing the environmental temperature to 17 degrees Celsius. Some species are still little known in Europe due to the difficulty of preparing a natural habitat despite the advanced technology that makes greenhouses the cornerstone of all terrestrial flora. Fertilization for this plant must be carried out with soluble liquid substances, but only and exclusively natural since it does not tolerate chemical agents. However, the fertilizer can be found in gardening centers specializing in the cultivation of greenhouses, and is organic in nature, most of which is derived from organic farming and therefore has a low chemical content. The preferred substances of this type of plant are: decomposed leaves, fresh manure and fertilizers obtained from green leaves left to macerate.

Medinilla: curiosity

The name of this plant (this is why it is written in capital letters) is nothing other than that of Josи Medinilla de Pineda, governor of the Marianne archipelago where this tropical shrub was discovered in the year 1820. It is said that miraculously despite the tortuous and exhausting journey by sea, the plant in very few specimens managed to reach Europe and if today it has become common use it is right to thank those who with sacrifices and devotion made it possible to transfer them. The shrub species, initially cultivated only as an exhibition or competition specimen, is currently very successful especially for its romantic exotic appearance. Finally, the coloring of the flowers produced by the plant deserves a mention. At the beginning we talked about fifty cataloged and known species; well it is also important to know that fifty or a little less are also the colors that distinguish each individual species. All or almost all the specimens have single-colored leaves (pink, white, orange) but the bunches are always opposed to the color of them with the particularity that in many cases they take rich shades of contrasting shades that, surely, are the main architects of the great success of this plant defined by the master flower growers "the queen of the tropics."