Tibouchina urvilleana

Tibouchina urvilleana

Tibouchina urvilleana or Glory Flower is a small tropical tree with splendid, large purple flowers.

It can be grown as a pot plant or in the garden. Pruning allows to control the size.

It can be kept outdoors in the summer but must overwinter frost free in a cool room.

The plant is invasive in tropical regions.

Description:

Tibouchina urvilleana is a small evergreen, spreading tree or shrub that grows up to 3-6 m high in the garden but only about 50 cm high when grown in a container.

The leaves are green, parallel veined, lanceolate to oval, velvety, 10-20 cm long and 5-10 cm wide. They often have a red margin.

The flowers are purple with black stamens, they measure up to 10-12 cm in diameter. They appear in terminal panicles above the foliage. The abundant bloom can last through the year but occurs particularly from May to January.

The fruit is brown and 1 cm in diameter.

Use:

The plant is used as an ornamental shrub because of its abundant and long lasting purple bloom.

Nomenclature:

Common names:

Glory bush, glory flower, lasiandra, pleroma, princess flower, purple glory tree

Synonyms:

Lasiandra urvilleana, Tibouchina semidecandra

Etymology:

Tibouchina: from the Guyanese name tibouch (French)
Urvilleana: in honor of Jules Dumont d’Urville, a 19th century French explorer and botanist

Origin:

Brazil

Habitat:

Tropical rain forests of South Brazil



Hardiness:

USDA zone 9-11, 3 °C, doing particularly well in cool Mediterranean climate

Care:

Soil:

Nutritious, moist but well drained acidic soil

Exposure:

Sun but tolerates partial shade

Temperature:

The plant may spend the summer outdoors but must be overwinter frost free, preferably at 5-10 °C

Water:

Give plenty of water in the summer but keep just moist in the winter.

Fertilizer:

Organic fertilizer after flowering or liquid fertilizer every two weeks during the growing period.

Pruning:

Prune in spring and summer to maintain shape and control size. Pinching new growth promotes branching. It can also be pruned to train it to a tree with trunk.

Propagation:

By seed, cuttings or layering : in nature drooping branches that touch the ground spontaneously root.

Sowing instructions:

  • sowing in spring in moist soil
  • do not cover the seeds
  • 20-25 °C
  • germination time : 3-6 weeks

Cutting instructions:

  • take herbaceous cuttings of 10 cm long in spring or summer
  • plant them in light and moist soil (eventually mixed with sand)
  • 20-25 °C
  • keep out of direct sunlight

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