In the United States, tibouchina is not normally thought of as a houseplant. This is a shame, as the beautiful, quick-growing plant boasts striking purple flowers, silvery velvet leaves, and an open growth habit. Also known as glory bush or princess flower, tibouchina can be started and grown year-round for those flower fans who do not live in the proper climate to host the plant outdoors.
|Botanical Name||Tibouchina granulosa|
|Common Name||Tibouchina, purple glory tree, glory tree, princess flower|
|Plant Type||Evergreen shrub|
Can You Grow Tibouchina Inside?
Though not difficult to grow indoors, the plant is particular about a few of its conditions. If you can meet its requirements, you'll have a wonderful, novel houseplant that will stick around for a long while. It can become a sizable plant, adding up to 36 inches in a year, so keep that in mind when choosing a container and a suitable placement.
How to Grow Tibouchina Indoors
Tibouchina prefers bright, filtered sunlight. In general, direct summer sunlight is just a bit too strong, but it will not flower correctly without at least 6 to 8 hours of bright light a day. Choose a place in your home that receives consistent diffused light, or move the plant around your home periodically if necessary. If exposed to cold drafts or strong sunlight, expect the plant to start dropping leaves.
Temperature and Humidity
Tibouchina flowers in the late spring or mid-summer. They'll do well with little environmental fluctuation and should be kept in temperatures around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Tibouchina dislikes extreme hot or cold temperatures and should be kept away from any harsh drafts or breezes.
In addition, tibouchina loves a humid environment. Keep the plant in a naturally humid part of your home, like the kitchen or bathroom. If necessary, you can spritz the plant daily, or invest in a small space humidifier.
Keep your plant regularly moist during its growing season and throughout the summer—a deep weekly soaking should work fine. You can reduce your watering cadence in the winter months, but you should never let your plant dry out completely.
Feed your tibouchina plant during its growing season with liquid fertilizer or a controlled-release fertilizer, used according to label instructions.
Pruning and Maintenance
Tibouchinas naturally grow to small trees, with a loose, open growth habit ranging up to 20 feet. In the home, the first rule of thumb is to keep your tibouchina closely trimmed by pinching off new growth shoots and gently shaping the plant to contain its sprawling growth.
Container and Size
Choose a container that is only 2 or 3 inches larger in diameter than the root of the plant. As it grows, it will need regular repotting to continue to thrive. The material used for the container doesn't matter so much as the drainage; the plant cannot become waterlogged.
Potting Soil and Drainage
Plant your tibouchina in a loose, well-drained potting soil mixture. To keep your plant from becoming waterlogged, choose a pot that has ample drainage in its base.
Potting and Repotting Tibouchina
Proper pruning will likely slow down its growth and reduce the frequency of repotting. When you do repot the plant, go up one pot size and use fresh soil.
Moving Tibouchina Outdoors for the Summer
Tibouchina thrives in the heat and humidity, so it moves easily outdoors during the summer. There is no need to acclimate this plant to the move; it will immediately begin to enjoy the new habitat.
Though ticouchina thrives in high temperatures, anything that dips below 70 degrees Fahrenheit could stress the plant. It isn't a fan of direct sunlight, so keep it in a dappled area. Watch the forecast; if a deluge is coming, cover the plant's pot to prevent it from becoming waterlogged, or move it to an area where it won't receive direct rainfall. Moist soil is great, but fully saturated is not.
When to Bring Ticouchina Back Inside
When temperatures begin to dip below 70 degrees Fahrenheit, it's time to bring the plant indoors. Remember to keep it in a humid atmosphere to help it absorb the shock of the move back inside.
Is it easy to propagate tibouchina?
Tibouchina can be propagated from semi-woody cuttings, preferably with rooting hormone. Because the plant is tropical, cuttings are best held at warm temperatures (around 80 degrees Fahrenheit) and high humidity. They do best in a propagation house or covered terrarium-type setting. Even then, you may find that tibouchina cuttings can be difficult to root.
What plant pests are common to tibouchina?
Like many household plants, tibouchina plants can come down with issues ranging from scale and spider mites to aphids. While these pests are typically kept under control in nature thanks to natural predators, you will need to deal with them promptly indoors. Move your infected tibouchina plant away from the rest of your houseplants and treat it with a mild insecticide or horticultural oil like neem oil.