One day, an aunt told me about her ‘Japanese peony’ which was covered with flowers. “The lady says it’ll keep blooming all the time.”
“A peony?” This I had to see.
But it wasn’t one. At that time, I thought it was a Melastoma; albeit a prettier version. “But it’s like the roadside weed, right?” I asked. Imagine my reaction when I found that she had paid more than USD10 for it.
Two weeks later, I had to eat my own words. I paid the same amount for a small but lovely plant. What I was more concerned with was to get it to like the six-foot tall beauties I saw growing in the vicinity of the garden centre I bought it from.
I stopped to gaze at the gorgeous display. I couldn’t wait to get home with my latest acquisition.
I planted my plant out in full sun as soon as I reached home and paid the price for my hastiness. The blazing heat was too much for it and I had to prune most of the wilted buds. What a shame!
Lately the plant’s been showing a bit of what it’s capable of. There are always flowers on the bush – each with five pinkish purple petals. The pistils are gently curved and stamens, distinctly hooked.
But what I thought was a Melastoma turned out to be the Tibouchina I had always avoided. And it took a trip to a garden centre in Sydney for me to realize my mistake.
Melastoma, Tibouchina … whatever. I am a convert.
Care and propagation: dappled light to full sun; water moderately; not fussy about soil; propagate using seeds or cuttings