The Q&A Archives: New plants--tibouchina and duranta

Question: I just purchased two interesting-looking plants from a local nursery. One is "tibouchina", the other is "duranta". The nursery noted that both are "new" introductions (for the nursery, that is), and it had very little information available on either. Do you have any information such as hardiness, size at maturity, growth habit, etc.? Thanks! (P.S.--I'm not even sure whether they are annuals or perennials.)

Answer: Tibouchina urvilleana is called the 'Princess Flower', and is native to Brazil. It will be an annual in your region. It's a fast grower, 5' to 18' feet in one season. The branch tips, buds, and new growth will be shaded with velvety orange and bronze-red hairs. Expect brilliant royal purple flowers in clusters at the ends of branches. Plant with the roots in shade and the tops in sun, and protect from strong winds. Duranta is an evergreen shrub with glossy green leaves arranged in pairs or whorls along the stem. The plant has clusters of blue flowers that are attractive to butterflies. Plant in full sun and provide constant moisture. The berries of Duranta are poisonous. There are several cultivars, all native to Brazil, the West Indies, and Mexico, so they may not be hardy in your area, but they grow quickly so should provide you with at least a summer's worth of beauty.

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