Standing tenaciously at the entrance to Gravetye Manor is our pair of tibouchina urvilleana, the Princess Flower. They show off silky violet-purple flowers that are perched on velvety silver-green foliage, luring you into the many charms of the Manor.
When the nights are drawing in and a sense of Autumn fills the air, these Brazilian delights begin to come alive. The flowering is initiated by the increase in the length of the night, a phenomenon known as photoperiodism. These ‘short-day plants’ are happiest in a sheltered environment, so we take them inside at the start of November, though they have been known to carry on flowering past January.
At this time of year, we are taking soft wood cuttings. It isn’t the easiest to propagate but that makes it all the more special when one begins to root. They can be pruned into a shrub by removing leggy growth, or for a more tree-like appearance, you can cut the bottom branches off. This will also show off its attractive cinnamon bark. Although it is tender, it is worth adding to your collection as it would produce a stunning display in your conservatory during late Autumn months.