Princess Flower Planting and Care
The princess flower (Tibouchina urvilleana, or Tibouchina semidecandra) is a broadleaf evergreen shrub or small tree native to Brazil and South America. Also known as glory bush, it is prized for its large purple flowers, and leaves which are soft and hairy, adding a touch of color to gardens and landscaping. It is primarily a warm climate plant, requiring full morning sun for the best color and flowering.
TIP: Our expert gardening advisor, Susan Patterson adds, "The USDA plant hardiness zone recommends the princess flower for zone 9 to 12. However, in zone 8 this plant acts as a herbaceous perennial and will die back in the winter and return in the spring. It can even be planted as an annual or placed in a container and taken indoors for the winter. When planted as an evergreen shrub, the Princess Flower will reach heights of 10 to 12 feet and be 6 to 10 feet wide."
Plant princess flowers in well-drained soil where they will receive morning sun and some afternoon shade, especially in warmer areas. Allow plenty of room for the plant to reach its mature size when planted in zones 9 to 12.
This beautiful plant does best with regular water in loamy soils and some extra water in sandy soils. Provide a general and balanced fertilizer once per month during the growing season.
TIP: Susan suggests, "Place a 2-inch layer of mulch around the plant to help retain moisture."
Since the flowers bloom quite readily, the plant can be pruned by cutting or pinching below the younger taller leaves and soon the lower buds will flower. Keeping the plant pruned allows the flowering to become more even and the lower buds on the branches to become flowers.
TIP: Susan says, "Constant deadheading will prolong bloom. Use only clean and sharp garden tools to prune."
The princess flower can be propagated through cuttings, best done in the spring and early summer when the branches are young. Depending on the climate, the cuttings can be planted in the garden as is; in ideal climates, cuttings that fall to the ground can start growing roots on their own. In cooler climates, cuttings can be planted in moist soil and raised until the first leaves appear.
Spider mites may invade the plant. A soft insecticide can reduce the number of mites along with directed water to wash them off. Diseased leaves should be removed along with dying plants.