Overview of the Princess Flower
A native of Brazil, the princess flower (Tibouchina urvilleana) is a glorious addition to tropical and sub-tropical gardens. Its large purple flowers and soft hairy leaves add interest and a burst of color to any landscape. It can also be used as an indoor container plant in cooler regions if full light and warmth are provided. Though it is usually a shrub here in the United States, it sometimes becomes large enough to form a small ornamental tree.
This shrub is a recipient of the Award of Garden Merit given out by the Royal Horticultural Society.
- Latin Name: The botanical name used for this species is Tibouchina urvilleana. Sometimes it is listed as Tibouchina semidecandra. It is included in the Melastomataceae family.
- Common Names: You may see this named as the princess flower, glory bush, pleroma, purple glory bush or lasiandra. Princess flower may also be used for other species in the genus.
- Preferred USDA Hardiness Zones: Zones 9-11 are best for this shrub. It can be grown in Zone 8, but winter frost will cause it to die back until warmer temperatures return.
- Size & Shape of Princess Flower: The princess Flower is 10-20' tall at its mature size and can be pruned to be more compact. It is round or vase-shaped.
- Exposure: Plant in full sun, though it can tolerate some afternoon shade, especially in the hottest zones.
The leaves are 2-6” in length and 1-1.5” wide, covered in soft hair and often tipped with red around the edges.
The flowers are 3-5” wide and a deep, vibrant purple. Princess flower can produce blooms year-round, especially if it is deadheaded to encourage the formation of more flower buds.
The fruit is a small brown capsule that is under .5" long
Use the princess flower as a specimen plant or for borders and foundations.
The large vibrant purple flowers and soft hairy leaves work well in sensory gardens.
If you live in a cooler USDA zone, you could plant the princess flower in a container to be brought in each winter. You can also have it be a houseplant with enough warmth and light.
Propagate using softwood cuttings.
Protect against frost and strong winds.
Prune to maintain a rounded shape. Pinch new growth to encourage branch formation. Prune lightly after blooming.
This shrub can be trained to form a standard if you prefer it to have a tree shape.
Pests & Diseases
Occasionally scale, nematodes, and geranium budworm may attack. Mushroom root-rot can occur if over-watered.