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Tibouchina - Growing Guide
Commonly known as ‘Glory Bush’
It is only safe to grow Tibouchina urvilleana outside against the warmest wall you have available in the very mildest climates. It will need to be tied into wires or supports to get it up to the 8-10ft we have seen it achieving in Penzance.
This species is a spreading shrub with red hairy stems and ovate or elliptic very hairy leaves 2-3in in length. From July to October it will produce terminal panicles of satin textured, saucer shaped reddish purple flowers which look blue from a distance. They can be 2-3in across.
T. orangensis is a more open freestanding shrub which will grow to around 6ft eventually in the greenhouse or conservatory. The leaves are up to 6in in length and older leaves mature to a scarlet colour. The flowers are up to 4in across and produced singly over a long period from summer well into autumn when grown inside. The flowers are an even more stunning bluish-purple than T. urvilleana although there is not that much difference in reality.
Softwood cuttings are quick and easy to root if you can catch the young new growth in time. Bottom heat is needed in the mist bench.
Tibouchina do not mind a hard pruning in early spring if they get leggy or top heavy as they will. They readily respond by reshooting and start again. So the trick is to cut them back, pot them on and feed them generously each year.
White fly and mealy bug seem to go for the hairy leaves and stems so a hard pruning and the removal of all litter and dead leaves can bring what is often an autumn problem under control.
If one had to choose a superb plant which is easy to grow in a frost free environment indoors this would be in my top three.