This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V24", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
This fine growing Melastomaceous plant, being a native of the hottest part of the world, requires a very strong heat at all times and also liberal feeding. It can either be grown in a mixture of peat and loam, or a good turfy loam, with some well-decayed manure. The main fault is that it makes too large a plant for a reasonable sized house in a short time, as a plant from a cutting will be six feet or more through in one season. It requires abundance of water during the summer, both overhead and at the root, with plenty of pot-room in the growing season, and in the winter just water enough to prevent the foliage turning yellow. With plenty of heat and light it will show blooms at every joint. If sufficient room is available it may be cut in after flowering, the ball may be reduced, and it may be repotted in the same sized pot and treated as before, but every cutting will strike in a strong heat; in fact, every eye will strike, which is probably the best way to grow it in a limited space, it being one of the strongest and freest growing plants in existence where a strong heat can be maintained.
The first time I saw this plant in flower was at Craigo House, Forfarshire, Scotland, and I do not know if I ever came across a plant since which left such an impression from first sight as this one did. A fine, large, magnificent specimen, growing in an eighteen-inch pot, had hanging from the points of its shoots large racemes of pink flowers, - a gorgeous sight. The plant, when not in flower, is ornamental, the leaves being large, smooth and of a dark green color.
As this plant produces its flowers from the previous year's wood it is necessary to have it well ripened, as unless this is attended to but few flowers will be seen. I have seen specimens of this plant grown, year after year, without ever a single raceme of flowers being seen, the mistake being in not ripening the wood sufficiently the previous year. It requires a high temperature to grow in. For soil, a mixture of peat and loam with plenty of sand is most suitable, and upon no consideration over-pot.
It holds good with, almost all plants grown in greenhouses and hothouses, that those which produce their flowers on the previous year's wood should not have too much root room, while such as produce their flowers on the present year's growth will bear more liberal treatment in this respect. Unless with very succulent growing plants, very large shifts are not advisable with any kind.