The Tibouchina belongs to the Melastomataceae family. This exotic patio plant originates from Brazil (South America). The Dutch name for this Brazilian beauty means ‘Spider Flower’. The Tibouchina produces beautiful, deep blue (almost purple) flowers measuring approximately 8 cm with crooked stamens. There are 5 long and 5 short purple stamens. Rose-red, fuzzy buds appear before the flower. However, it is not just its flowers that make the Tibouchina a striking and beautiful plant. Besides its flowers, the plant also has decorative velvety (almost downy) leaves. The leaves and the more or less square stems are slightly hairy. Those hairs are used to control the plant’s transpiration rate in the jungle.
Where to put the plant on your patio or balcony
The Tibouchina needs plenty of light in order to thrive. The ideal position for this plant is in a sunny spot on your patio or balcony where it will be sheltered from the wind. Stop the leaves from burning by keeping the plant out of the hot midday sun. Note: If the Tibouchina is placed in a draughty spot, its buds may drop off. That will happen in hot summers in particular.
Caring for your Tibouchina
Water your Tibouchina regularly (almost every day during the summer). Don’t let the potting soil dry out! You can also water the plant itself. Remove the faded flowers to prolong the flowering period. You should also give your plant extra food on a regular basis during the flowering period (once every 14 days is sufficient).
Only prune your Tibouchina if you think that it has grown too big or if it has lost its original shape. You can help a Tibouchina tree to retain its shape by pruning the longest branches.