In the Garden > Flowering Plants & Shrubs
Tibouchinas, also known by their old name lasiandras, are native to south-east Brazil, where people use the massed purple blooms to decorate churches at Easter time. Here in Australia tibouchinas also make quite a statement in autumn, with their riot of purple flowers. If you think such a strong colour would be over the top in your garden, you may prefer to plant 'Totally Moonstruck', a new variety of tibouchina with white flowers. It was originally discovered in New Zealand as a chance sport, and then went through three years of development which spanned over five generations. Each time the strongest forms were selected for propagation, and the number of throw backs (flowers reverting back to purple) was reduced. Our stock in Australia is 7th and 8th generation, and so far no throw backs have been found.
Common name: Tibouchina 'Totally Moonstruck'
Botanic name: Tibouchina 'Totally Moonstruck'
Description: An evergreen shrub, 1.5 metres (5') tall, with a compact growth habit and dark green velvety foliage. The white flowers (sometimes flushed lavender/pink) appear in autumn, then intermittently throughout the year.
Best climate: Grows well in most parts of Australia, but not for cold, frosty areas.
autumn/winter flower display good medium sized plant for shrub border white or pastel garden colour schemes may look good planted with purple tibouchinas
compact growth habit flowers from a very early age white to lavender/pink satiny flowers
Tibouchinas like a sunny spot and a light friable soil with plenty of moisture during the growing season. Prune after flowering to promote dense, bushy growth. Their stems are brittle, so they need protection from strong winds, especially when young. Like most tibouchinas, 'Totally Moonstruck' should also be protected from frosts.
Don also looked at Tibouchina granulosa 'Kathleen', which grows to around 7m (20') tall. It has very attractive pink flowers, and does well in warm climates, or warm sites on the lower mountains, but it normally takes a few years to become established.
'Totally Moonstruck' to be released by Faceys Nursery, will be available after May in northern Australia, and mid spring in southern Australia. Plants will cost from $10-$12 for 150mm (6") sized pots, and $15-$18 for 200mm (8") sized pots. For stockists contact Faceys Nursery Pty. Ltd, Cnr Rawlings Road and South Gippsland Highway, Cranbourne, VIC, 3977. Phone: (03) 5996 1466, Fax: (03) 5996 7077.
Tibouchina granulosa 'Kathleen' costs about $13.95 for a 200mm (8") pot and is readily available Australia wide.
Copyright CTC Productions 1999