Princess Flower

Princess flowers (also known as Tibouchina) are very attractive perennial shrubs. They produce beautiful purple flowers from late summer into autumn, and they have attractive fuzzy green leaves.  Princess flowers are an attractive front yard plant, because their flowers are so eye-catching.  

Unfortunately, princess flowers are also frost sensitive. I planted a few princess flowers a couple of years ago.  During a severe freeze 18 months ago when the temperature here fell into the mid-20s (F), they all died to the ground.  The plant in this picture is the only one I didn’t pull up after that.  It’s growing back now and blooming for the first time since the freeze.

I have noticed that a lot of people in the Bay Area have planted princess flowers next to their houses.  The ones planted next to buildings seem to have fared the freezing weather better.  Perhaps, warmth from a nearby building helped to keep the plants from freezing.

Princess flower seems relatively easy to grow otherwise.  It prefers regular watering, but it seems to be somewhat drought tolerant when established.  

I have read that princess flowers prefer full sun.  Although, I have seen them flourish in partly shady locations in other peoples’ yards.

Princess flower shrubs usually grow very quickly.  As they grow, their branches grow long, lose their leaves, and don’t produce any more flowers.  Over time princess flower shrubs can develop too many leafless and flowerless branches, making them look spindly and unattractive.  

They really need to be pruned often to keep them looking good. After pruning, the shrub develops new growth quickly at the cuts and starts to fill out again with green leaves and eventually flowers.

September 16 2008 09:04 pm | Princess Flower