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Turquoise Puya

Tibouchina cardinalis - Pink Princess Flower 

This is a rare look at the spectacular Tibouchina cardinalis - the "Brazilian Princess Flower".  This showy bush is related to the more common purple Princess Flower (Tibouchina urvilleana), however it has striking, magenta blooms, and awesome, fuzzy leaves with a texture of velvet.  This is a first-rate collector's plant that might not be available anywhere else online.  Note that the plant comes from a mild climate and is untested in hot conditions.

Tibouchina cardinalis

This evergreen bush grows about 15 feet tall here in San Francisco, but you may prune it to any size.  Its oval leaves are 3-4 inches long and are edged with red, and the stems are red too, hence the species name "cardinalis".  Its thick leaves are covered with tiny, soft hairs, giving them a great "panda ear" texture!  It flowers almost all year, with big, 3-inch blossoms.  They have a lovely pinkish-purple color, and warmer temperatures seem to make it pinker.  Unfortunately the plant faces a significant threat in Brazil due to agriculture and mining.

Tibouchina cardinalis

It is found at about 1200-1400 meter elevation, where temperatures are mild all year and nights are cool.  It's possible that it won't thrive if temperatures consistently get above the low 80s (28C) and nights are warm.  It might tolerate warmer conditions if nights are cool (below 65F / 18C).  It can survive a light frost, but i strongly recommend protecting it from freezing temperatures.  It enjoys sun, but some afternoon shade might be needed in warmer conditions.  It grows well in a pot in well-draining soil that's kept evenly moist.  Over about 40% humidity is best.

Tibouchina cardinalis

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