Singapore Holly – Malpighia coccigera
This is a great plant to kick off the new year. Singapore Holly is an easy keeper, produces a cloud of lovely pink flowers, and the red berry-looking fruit is not only edible but high in Vitamin C. You can let it grow to it's natural shrub height or use it as a bonsai subject.
Indoors, the Singapore Holly needs a bright location which will provide at least 5 hours of natural light during the winter. In the spring, you may place it outside in full sun when warm enough, however; it should be moved into semi-shade when summer arrives. Too much sun (and wind) will turn the leaves yellow.
The temperature should be kept between 64 and 75 F in the winter and can go somewhat higher in the summer. It should not be exposed to temperatures below 57 F. Flowering can occur anytime night temperatures are above 60 F.
The Singapore Holly has a two week growth cycle. It should be fertilized weekly during growth and monthly during the winter dormancy period with a high nitrogen organic fertilizer. It can be subject to chlorosis and may need additional iron organic supplements. The soil preference is slightly acidic (pH 5.5 to 6.0) and rich but well-draining.
These plants like it moist and will lose leaves if the root ball is allowed to dry out. On the other hand, overwatering can also cause the leaves to yellow. Singapore Holly aren't salt tolerant so it's a good idea to use rainwater or even distilled water. If that's not possible, try a second watering a half hour after the initial one to flush out excess salts. High humidity is also beneficial so try misting twice daily.
Not only is the Singapore Holly an attractive, compact plant but it produces edible fruit which birds and veggie-loving reptiles find hard to resist.