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Genus that includes numerous evergreen shrubs originating in Africa and South America. The plants of Tibucina have a slightly climbing or hanging habit and develop up to about one meter in height. The stems are green, semi-woody, arched; the leaves are large, oval, rough, dark green, crossed by deep veins, leathery. Throughout the summer, the tibucina produces showy inflorescences consisting of clusters of spectacular deep purple flowers. The species most commonly cultivated as a houseplant is T. semidecandra, Tibouchina urvilleana, the variety that has the greatest cultivation, of Brazilian origin, is also cultivated as a garden plant in regions with mild winters.
These plants love very bright positions, but far from the direct rays of the sun, which could damage the leaves and flowers; in the hottest months of the year it is advisable to shade it. These plants love the heat, so they can spend the warm months outside, in the garden or on a terrace, but they should immediately be collected at home in winter, as they fear temperatures below 10-12 ° C. At home, they should be placed in a very bright place, away from direct sunlight and drafts.
During the vegetative period, from March to October, regularly water the tibucina plants, also every day, avoiding letting the soil dry; in the cold months water the Tibouchina urvilleana occasionally, at least once a week, keeping the soil always slightly damp, but not soaked with water. It is also advisable to use vaporisations on the leaves to allow the plant to maintain the correct degree of humidity.
During flowering, provide fertilizer for flowering plants every 10-15 days dissolved in the water used for watering.
The tiboucine prefers loose, sandy, very well drained, basically acid soils; use a good balanced soil mixed with peat and a small part of lapillus or pumice to increase drainage.
The Tibouchina urvilleana plant has growth and development dependent on the size of the pot; in fact, the larger it is, the faster the plant will grow.
It is advisable to repot the plant every year at the beginning of spring, gradually using larger pots up to 30 cm in diameter.
The multiplication of Tibouchina urvilleana plants occurs by cuttings, and is practiced in spring, by rooting the new shoots in a mixture of peat and sand in equal parts and in a place with mild temperatures, around 21-24 ° C; once rooted the cuttings should be repotted in single containers and treated as adult plants.
Tibucina - Tibouchina urvilleana: Pests and diseases
Wrong cultivation techniques can favor the onset of root rot; sometimes the new shoots are attacked by the aphids that ruin them completely. Red spider mites can be a problem for plants of this genus and, in order to combat them effectively, it is good to increase the environmental humidity and intensify the vaporization of water on the leaves, given that the water is an element not liked by spiders . If the problem is extensive it is good to intervene with specific insecticide products.