When I first saw these, I fell in love with them.

Large, strikingly striped leaves, with dark red new growth:

Medenilla leaves bunches of pale pink flowers:

Medinilla flowerswhich turn into pink berries:

Medinillawhich darken to mauve:

Medinillas berriesI had to have them.

I planted them in pots in the mulberry bed, but they got badly sun and wind-damaged.

So I swapped them with the palms in the side bed, where it’s more protected.

They hated it there and all their leaves fell off.

I moved them to the lime tree bed.

They didn’t like it there either, and they both died.

We’d bought them at a plant exhibition, with sellers from all over the island.

In hindsight, I should have have asked for advice on their requirements and care. I did check on the internet, but as with a lot of gardening advice, the information isn’t specifically targeted to the tropics – it’s best to ask the local growers.

But more importantly, before buying them, I should have checked whether they had been grown in a greenhouse, or at least where on the island they had been grown.

Even though Mauritius is tiny, the temperature, humidity, and rainfall vary greatly.

The growing conditions and soil in our garden obviously weren’t what they were used to.

It’s such a shame, because they were stunning. Not to mention, expensive.

Grand Baie Nursery has one as a specimen plant (ie it’s not for sale – just for show). It’s in a pot in full sun.

If, in future, another plant dies and I have a space that I need to fill, I’ll ask them to propagate a plant for me – as we’re both in The North, it should be more suited to the conditions in our garden.

Just something to keep in mind when buying plants here.