Melastoma

Family: Melastomataceae

This genus of around 70 species of evergreen, tropical shrubs or small trees is from Southeast Asia, the Philippines, India and South America. They are grown for their lovely foliage, flowers and berries.

Species

Not all are available outside their countries of origin.

M. denticulatum, from Queensland and coastal northern New South Wales, is a soft, bushy shrub, with heavily veined, reddish green leaves and large, pink flowers.

M. malabathricum, Indian rhododendron, originates from India, Asia, New Guinea and Australia. Growing to around 2 m (6 ft) high, it has large, purple to soft pink flowers, handsome foliage and reddish fruits.

M. polyanthum, gooseberry laurel, grows to 3 m (10 ft), with soft, veined leaves and small, terminal clusters of pink, rose-lilac or reddish purple flowers and round fruits.

Cultivation

Outside the tropics, grow in a warm greenhouse or conservatory, in pots of soil-based potting compost. Provide good light but shade from direct strong sun. Keep the atmosphere moderately humid. After flowering, prune back lightly to restrict size. Propagate from seed in spring or from semi-ripe cuttings in summer, both with basal warmth.

Climate

Tropical only.

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Climate zone map
Melaleuca      Melia