The Autumn Show is in full swing this week, and with the air temperature cooling and the sun setting around six it’s the perfect time of year for after-work walking. You’ll see Pears and Maples blushing blood red, Liquidambars ablaze in shades of crimson and gold. But as the deciduous shrubs and trees all do their bit, flushed from competing for your “oohs” and “aahs”, another contender steps up in a brilliant cloak of purple to steal the show- the Tibouchina.
Originating from South America and comprising of more than 350 different species, the genus Tibouchina (“ti-boo-chee-nah”) is famous for its flowers: rich and vibrant shades of purple and pink, with clusters of claw-like stamens jutting out from the centre. They open en masse from March through to May, creating a truly eye-catching display that dramatically complements a garden’s autumn foliage.
There is considerable variation in size between the most commonly available cultivars, allowing you to choose the perfect Tibouchina for your garden, in spite of any height or width restrictions. Tibouchina “Alstonville” will grow into a six metre high tree, as will the “Kathleen” variety, whose flowers are a delicate shade of pink. Tibouchina “Jules” is a small shrub, growing roughly one metre high and one metre wide, while the fairly new cultivar “Groovy Baby” is even smaller.
Tibouchinas thrive in a neutral to slightly acidic soil. They love the full sun, and will grow quickest when in an open, warm spot, with excellent drought-tolerance once established. They require very little maintenance and are highly resistant to pests and diseases, though frosts are to be avoided.
Four Seasons Nursery has a great range of the above-mentioned Tibouchinas in stock now, all covered in buds and looking for a new home. They, and we, hope to see you soon!