Tibouchina – Tibouchina urvilleana

The Glory of the Princess Flower

The Glory of the Princess Flower

I have had Tibouchinas around for years. Until we moved to Florida they had to stay in pots or be prayed over to live through the winter. I found out the hard way they really don’t live through the winter on the north side of Atlanta. Supposedly 37 degrees Farenheit are their limit. But my mother could keep them twenty miles further south; I would be hard pressed to say hers flourished, but we did admire the flowers once in a while.

One of the first things I bought after my driveway was complete was the Tibouchina. Another good import from South America, to the best of my knowledge, Brazil, the common name for this plant is the Glory Bush. Other sources call it the Princess Flower. I think that there are several varieties of these available the size range varies from 3 feet tall up to a small tree. This one supposes to be 6-8′ height and spread.  I will wait and see. Some of the plants we used as annuals further north had fuzzy leaves and grape like flower heads (panicles) but were still Tibouchinas.  If you believe what you read they bloom once a year. Mine must be really happy or something.. This one bloomed off and on since I planted it – probably 9 months ago. I will confess to watering it by hand, it is in a Rain Garden with a strong Eastern exposure. The leaves seem to turn red as they are regenerating which actually adds to the ornamental value of this plant.

Tibouchinas are another tropical import being investigated for medicinal use. The plant may possess antibacterial properties. I hope so, until they figure that part out the rest of us can enjoy the flowers.

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