The Q&A Archives: princess flower

Question: Your answer was helpful however my princess flowers are 2 years old so I think they are established they are maybe 10- 12 feet high. The leaves a gone around the middle but growth on top seems fine. You suggest that all I need to do is prune it back to encourage new growth at the bottom, cut some of the stems down to ground level and reduce the lenght of some of the stems by one third. So are you saying that I should cut the branches that have no leaves back some to the trunk and l some reduce some by one third? what about the top? If I do this pruning in early March when can I expect new growth and leaves to appear? Is ground level the trunk of the plant. will new stems grow from the trunk? This sounds like my princess flower will not look right until next summer 2007.

Answer: Tibouchina requires some pruning to keep it from becoming weedy and top heavy. It flowers on new wood so pinching and pruning will encourage the growth of new flowering wood. The stems that have no leaves should be cut back; either to ground level or at least by a third. If you cut them back to their point of origin, the plant will develop healthy new stems; if you reduce their size by a third, the plant should develop new leaves at the base of the stem. The result really depends upon whether or not the stem is still alive. You can check for live tissue by scraping the bark on the stem; green tissue directly beneath the bark indicates live material. These stems can be reduced in length. Brown tissue beneath the bark indicates dead material and these stems can be cut off at their point of origin. Pruning now will encourage new growth; tip pinching throughout the summer months will result in a dense, compact growth habit. Hope this explains the pruning process!

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