Princess Flower, Glory Bush
Plant type: Broadleaf evergreen shrub or small tree
Hardiness: USDA Zones 9 to 11, herbaceous perennial to Zone 8
Also known as glory bush, this regal beauty bears pinkish red buds that open into three- to four-inch-wide, saucer-shaped, royal purple flowers accented with long, curved stamens. The individual flowers don't last long, but new blooms open over an amazingly long period: practically year-round in frost-free areas, and from early summer to frost elsewhere. The medium- to deep-green, deeply veined leaves are covered with short, silky, silvery hairs and may be rimmed with red. As an annual, princess flower can reach two to three feet tall in a pot and three to six feet tall in a garden bed by the end of the season. An evergreen shrub or tree in very mild climates, it may lose its top growth but resprout from the roots in slightly cooler areas.
How to use it: Where it's winter-hardy, enjoy princess flower as a specimen plant, in masses or as a screen or hedge. In cooler areas, use it as a long-blooming feature in flower beds and mixed borders. Use in containers.
Culture: Full sun to light shade with average to rich, evenly moist but well-drained soil is ideal. Fertilize regularly during the growing season for best bloom. In frost-prone areas, give potted princess flowers a bright, cool spot indoors for the winter. Prune plants in late winter to control their size, shape them and promote bushy, free-flowering new growth. No serious problems with pests or diseases.
Special notes: May attract bees and butterflies. The velvety leaves tend to discourage deer from nibbling on princess flower.