The princess flower, also known as the glory bush or Tibouchina urvilleana, is a vine-like evergreen. As one of seven species in the genus Tibouchina Aubl., the princess flower is native to Brazil. It has a brightly colored purple flower and mid-sized green leaves.
In many areas, the princess flower is found along property borders or growing inside of homes. Gardeners love its brightly colored flowers and its ability to climb and expand in size. In the United States, it is thought to be a weed by many botanists. In fact, it is listed as a noxious weed for the state of Hawaii.
The purple flowers of this vine-like plant are typically 3 inches (about 7.6 cm) wide. In addition, the leaves are thick and are usually lighter on their undersides. Some leaves even seem to have reddish-colored stems and veins. The leaves are typically about 4 inches (10.2 cm) long and 2 inches (about 5.1 cm) wide at full size.
The vine of the princess flower, if left to its own devices, can grow to 15 feet (about 4.6 m) tall. It can also grow into clumps that are 12 feet (about 3.7 m) in diameter. Many avid gardeners prefer to prune the princess flower, controlling the height and width the plant reaches.
This brightly flowered evergreen grows easily in many tropical areas, especially areas that are free from winter frosts. It prefers to have soil that is high in nutrients. In areas where the soil is poor, simply adding compost and fertilizer may give the plant the nutrients that it needs to grow well. In addition, the princess flower prefers to be in areas of partial sun, and it particularly needs shade during the heat of a tropical day.
Pests may plague the princess flower. Specifically, budworm, scale, and nematodes may try to invade these plants. Although the plants require moderate watering, overwatering should be avoided. If the plants are overwatered, root rot is possible. If the root rot is severe, it could result in the death of the plant.
In areas where princess flowers are not considered to be weeds, they are often planted for aesthetic reasons. The flowers attract butterflies and bumblebees, making it a beautiful addition to many gardens. In addition, deer seem to avoid the plants. As a result, gardeners in areas that have many deer often plant the princess flower around garden borders, in the hopes of keeping the deer at bay.