Tibouchina

Tibouchina

The only species  of Tibouchina I   commonly grown as a house plant is T. urvilleana (also called T. semide-tmira  popularly  known  as  glory-bush, princess-flower, or purple glory tree). This plant is a shrub that grows op to 4 feet tall indoors. Its four-angled stems and branches are soft, jeen, and covered with fine, reddish hairs when young. Later the stems turn woody and brown. The velvety, pointed-oval,     paired     leaves     are medium to deep green, with pro­minent, pale green, lengthwise veins and finely toothed edges. Each leaf is 2-4inches long and 1 ½  inches wide. The   striking    saucer-shaped,    five-petaled flowers are a rosy purple to violet color, with a cluster of protrud­ing purple stamens in the center. Each flower is about 3 inches across. They are produced in clusters at branch tips from midsummer to early winter.

PROPER CARE

Light Give tibouchinas bright filtered light from early spring to mid-fall. During the short-day months keep plants in a position where they get four hours a day of direct sunlight.

Temperature During the active growth period normal room tem­peratures are suitable. During the midwinter rest period temperatures of about 50°F are best. Stand actively growing tibouchinas on trays or saucers of damp pebbles.

Watering During the active growth period water plentifully as often as necessary to keep the potting mixture thoroughly moist, but never allow pots to stand in water. During the rest period give only enough to make the mixture barely moist throughout.

Feeding Apply standard liquid ferti­lizer every two weeks during the active growth period.

Potting and repotting Use a soil-based mixture. Move plants into larger pots every spring until maximum convenient size is reached. Thereafter, topdress annually with fresh mixture.

Propagation Take stem or tip cut­tings 3-4 inches long in spring. Trim each cutting to just below a pair of leaves, remove the bottom leaves, and dip the cut end of the cutting in hormone rooting powder. Plant the cutting in a 3-inch pot containing a moistened equal-parts mixture of peat moss and coarse sand or perlite. En­close the whole in a plastic bag or propagating case, and stand it in a warm room in bright filtered light. When new growth appears, uncover it and begin to water it moderately. After a further eight weeks, move the young plant into a 4-inch pot of standard mixture and treat it as a mature specimen.

Special points Shorten main shoots by half their length, and cut sideshoots back to two pairs of leaves each spring.

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