Potted plants: Tibouchina, Tibouchina semidecandra or urvilleana

Potted plants: Tibouchina, Tibouchina semidecandra or urvilleana

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Classification, origin and description

Common name: Tibouchina.
Kind: Tibouchina.

Family: Melastomaceae.

Etymology: derives from the indigenous one used in Guyana.
provenance: tropical regions of South America.

Genre description: includes about 200 species of evergreen or semi-evergreen shrubs, which produce brightly colored flowers. They can be taken outdoors in summer and in pots reach a height of 1 m. about.

Tibouchina semidecandra or urvilleana flower (photo www.rz.uni-karlsruhe.de)

Species and varieties

Tibouchina semidecandra o T. urvilleana: native to Brazil, this shrub (the only species of this genus grown in the apartment) has woody and quadrangular stems that have oblong-ovate leaves, of a bronzed green color (which in autumn sometimes turns reddish), 15 cm long. , pubescent, with 3-5 very marked and pale green veins (of which the central one is straight, while the others form an ellipse joining the base to the apex). From July to November it produces flowers 8 cm wide, of a reddish-purple color, with a shaggy calyx and a corolla formed by a thin tube which opens into five large obovate petals, which bloom together in apical racemes. In pot it grows up to 1.2 m. in height.

Tibouchina semidecandra or urvilleana (photo Stan_Shebs)

Environmental requirements, substrate, fertilizations and special precautions

Temperature: the ideal minimum winter temperature should be around 12-15 ° C, but is also able to withstand sporadic frosts and can be grown outdoors in mild climate regions. At lower temperatures Tibouchina loses its leaves.
Light: very strong, sheltered from the sun's rays.
Watering and environmental humidity: water frequently in summer; reduce doses during the winter, taking care to keep the compost just moist. Raise atmospheric humidity by placing in pots on bowls containing wet pebbles.
Substrate: a soil-based mixture of leaves and peat, with the addition of sand.
Special fertilizations and tricks: they are repotted annually in February-March increasing the size of the container, up to a maximum of 25-30 cm. Once this measure is reached, it will be sufficient to replace the surface layer (2,5-5 cm.) Of substrate with new compost. Plants need support with bamboo canes to which they will be tied with plasticized wire. In spring-summer, give liquid fertilizer every 3-4 weeks.

Multiplication and pruning

Multiplication: new specimens can be obtained by placing, in a mixture of peat and sand, kept humid, in a shady position, under glass or plastic cover (which must be removed from time to time to avoid the creation of a suffocating environment) and at a temperature of 21-24 ° C., semi-mature wood cuttings 10-15 cm long, obtained by cutting the branches immediately under a node and eliminating the basal leaves. After rooting (at the start of growth, usually after 3-4 weeks), the coverage is completely and gradually eliminated and watering begins moderately. After another four weeks, the transplant will proceed in single 10 cm jars. in diameter and topping, necessary to stimulate branching.
Pruning: pruned in late spring or immediately after flowering to allow the plant to maintain a bushy and compact appearance.

Diseases, pests and adversities

- Red spider mite: mite that develops easily in hot and dry environments. It is manifested by the appearance of dark cobwebs on the underside of the leaves. It can be prevented from appearing by spraying the leaves and keeping the ambient humidity high (for example by placing the plant on a bowl filled with pebbles always kept wet, making sure that the water never reaches the bottom of the pot). It is fought with acaricidal products.

Video: Propagating a Tibouchina grandifolia Plant Glory Flower