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Products > Tibouchina heteromalla
Tibouchina heteromalla - Silver leafed Princess Flower
Image of Tibouchina heteromalla
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Melastomataceae (Melastomes)
Origin: Brazil (South America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Violet
Bloomtime: Summer/Fall
Synonyms: [Pleroma heteromallum, T. grandifolia, Hort.]
Height: 8-10 feet
Width: 4-6 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 30-32° F
Tibouchina heteromalla (Silver leafed Princess Flower) - This evergreen shrub has an upright growth habit to 8-10 feet tall with velvety silver-green 4-6 inch long leaves that have prominent veins and old leaves will often turn a beautiful orange color just prior to dropping off. The 1 1/2 inch wide violet flowers on long spikes bloom mid-summer and last until fall. Loves cool coastal full sun and moist soil during the growing season but tolerates regular to only occasional irrigation in our coastal gardens. Looks more lush in full morning sun with some afternoon shade and in inland locations this is the best location for it. It has proven hardy in our nursery garden to 30 F with only slight young growth tips being damaged. In our January 2007 cold snap with temperatures to 25° F several nights this plant was frozen back but rebounded by the following year. Cutting back plants occasionally helps maintain good form as it does get a little top heavy and spent flower stems are best removed in the fall, lest they detract from the beautiful foliage in winter and early spring and tip pruning for shape should be done in winter to early spring to not interfere with later summer flowering. Tibouchina heteromalla is endemic to Brazil, where it occurs in rocky areas in small scattered populations in the southern area in the state of Minas Gerais. The name Tibouchina is an adaptation of a Guianan indigenous name that the French botanist Jean Baptiste Christophore Fusée Aublet used to describe a related plant in 1775 in his Flora of French Guiana and the specific epithet is a combination of the Greek words 'heteros' meaning "other party" or "another" indicating dissimilarity and 'mallos' which means "wool" in reference to the different types of hairs on the leaves of this species. This plant is sometimes sold as Tibouchina grandifolia. Another common name for this plant is glory bush. In the most recent databases the correct name is now listed as Pleroma heteromallum based on the 2019 article in Taxon by Paulo José Fernandes Guimarăes, Fabián A. Michelangeli, Karla Sosa, and Jesús Ricardo de Santiago Gómez titled "Systematics of Tibouchina and allies (Melastomataceae: Melastomateae): A new taxonomic classification" whose phylogenetic analyses resulted in a narrowly circumscribed Tibouchina and the re-establishment of the genus Pleroma. The name Pleroma was one coined by the Scottish botanist David Don in 1823 and was derived the name from Ancient Greek 'pleroma' meaning "fullness" in reference to the manner in which the seeds filled the fruit capsule. Most references and nurseries, including us, still refer to this plant as Tibouchina heteromalla and we will continue to do so until such time as others become accustomed to Pleroma urvilleanum, or it gets changed back! We also grow the more common and equally stunning Tibouchina urvilleana, which likewise has been reclassified as a species of Pleroma. 

This information about Tibouchina heteromalla displayed on this web page is based on research we have conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations we have made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens visited, as well how our crops have performed in containers in the nursery field. Where appropriate, we will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share cultural information that would aid others in growing this plant.