Tibouchina spp. Dwarf Tibouchina1

Edward F. Gilman 2

Introduction

Dwarf tibouchina grows to about 2 inches tall and very tight to the ground (Fig. 1). It makes a nice ground cover for a small area or can be placed in a hanging basket and allowed to droop over the side.

Figure 1. Dwarf tibouchina
Figure 1.  Dwarf tibouchina

General Information

Scientific name: Tibouchina spp.
Pronunciation: tib-boo-KYE-nuh species
Common name(s): dwarf tibouchina
Family: Melastomataceae
Plant type: ground cover
USDA hardiness zones: 10 through 11 (Fig. 2)
Planting month for zone 10 and 11: year round
Origin: not native to North America
Uses: ground cover; cascading down a wall; container or above-ground planter; border
Availability: somewhat available, may have to go out of the region to find the plant

Figure 2. Shaded area represents potential planting range.
Figure 2.  Shaded area represents potential planting range.

Description

Height: 0 to .5 feet
Spread: depends upon supporting structure
Plant habit: prostrate (flat)
Plant density: dense
Growth rate: moderate
Texture: fine

Foliage

Leaf arrangement: opposite/subopposite
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: entire
Leaf shape: ovate
Leaf venation: pinnate
Leaf type and persistence: evergreen
Leaf blade length: less than 2 inches
Leaf color: green
Fall color: no fall color change
Fall characteristic: not showy

Flower

Flower color: purple
Flower characteristic: summer flowering; fall flowering

Figure 3. Flower of dwarf tibouchina
Figure 3.  Flower of dwarf tibouchina

Fruit

Fruit shape: unknown
Fruit length: unknown
Fruit cover: unknown
Fruit color: unknown
Fruit characteristic: inconspicuous and not showy

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: not applicable
Current year stem/twig color: green
Current year stem/twig thickness: thin

Culture

Light requirement: plant grows in part shade/part sun
Soil tolerances: acidic; slightly alkaline; sand; loam; clay
Soil salt tolerances: poor
Plant spacing: 18 to 24 inches

Other

Roots: not applicable
Winter interest: no special winter interest
Outstanding plant: not particularly outstanding
Invasive potential: not known to be invasive
Pest resistance: long-term health usually not affected by pests

Use and Management

Full sun provides for the best flower display, although flowers are not nearly as showy as those on the shrubby species of tibouchina. The plant will be grown mainly for the unusually small foliage and compact growth habit.

Footnotes

1. This document is FPS -582, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 1999. Reviewed February 2014. Visit the EDIS website at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.
2. Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

Publication #FPS -582

Date: 2015-10-25
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Contacts

  • Gail Hansen de Chapman