I. Need. To. Keep. This... Thing. Alive. Period.
June 24, 2010 2:09 AM   Subscribe

I am the temporary care-keeper of a Medinilla Magnifica (here's a decent description). And it's trying to die on me - even though it has bright (but not direct sunlight), enought watering (but not to moist) and a quite humid placement. Please assist me to resuscitate it again.

I've followed the care-and-feeding-instructions to the point as far as I know. The plant has been nice for about two months: Dazzling flowers, dark green happy leaves. Until recently.

Description of declining health: Drooping flowers and the leaves are curling. Some are dropping of. It is placed in a southern window (with blinds), about 20 degrees celcius, and 40-50% humidity (yes, yes, I spray it several times a day with soft rain-water).

I've had the plant for about a month and it's been fine all the time. I have to keep it alive until september.

If you have ever had this imposing plant: How did you keep it alive? I need specific information about:

a) light - how many hours a day?
b) humidity - I average 40-50% humidity. do it need more? How much more? 70%? 80%? Do I have to buy a humifier? Is there anything else I can do?
c) feeding - what do you use? What dosage? How often (or rare)?

And I got a thousand more questions: Can I cut of the drooping flowers? Do I have to repot it? In what kind of growing-medium? Should I just scrap it and buy a new one in the autumn (it's not really an alternative)?

Please help me retain sanity and not piss of my dear, dear relative.
posted by Rabarberofficer to Home & Garden (2 answers total)
This is a very difficult houseplant to grow because of the need for high humidity and high temperatures-- up to 30 C. It also needs strong, indirect sunlight. In addition to watering every day, spraying several times a day is good as is wiping off the leaves, just make sure it is not sitting in standing water. Placing the pot on a tray of wet gravel is another way to increase humidity. It comes from tropical bogs in the Philippines and likes soil consisting of bark, peat moss and humus. It should be repotted every year. During the spring and summer, fertilize every week with a very weak fertilizer.

You can cut the drooping flowers off or you can leave them off and they may form berries.

During the fall and winter cut back on the fertilizer once a month and decrease temperatures to 18 C.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:59 AM on June 24, 2010

Look closely under the leaves for any pests, especially red spider mites. Mites are an indicator of humidity being too low. If the air is dry in your house, spraying several times a day won't really keep the humidity up as much as the plant likes. The tray of water and pebbles SLG mentioned is good.

Be sure to spray the undersides of the leaves. It needs to stay moist, but it can't be waterlogged. Make sure it does not sit in standing water. Also 20 C = too cold, definitely. It should only be fertilized during the growing season- never fertilize stressed plants unless you see an actual sign of deficiency. It should have bright shade/ bright indirect sun all day.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:24 AM on June 24, 2010

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