A very fast growing, tender, evergreen (if protected) shrub originating from Brazil with almost square stems and soft, velvety, green to grey/ green leaves sometimes flushed with a pinky red tinge. Large deep purple blooms are produced en masse through much of the year if growing conditions are ideal and burst open from fuzzy red buds. It will need to be kept frost free and in bright light for the colder months to maintain the long flowering period. Pruning can be done any time that the plant is not in flower and if it gets too large can even be cut right back to the base.
Now we say this is tender and the stems and leaves certainly are but it is proving reliably root hardy in Southern England, coastal areas and inner city gardens. We have plants growing outside that have now recovered from three of our fantastic, dull, wet, cold winters in succession with no more than a layer of bark chippings to protect the rootstock from frosts. Re-growth usually starts about late May and they reach flowering height again by late July. Flowering continues until the first heavy frosts knock back the top growth. Leave the old dead stems in place for the winter cutting them down to a few inches above ground in the spring after all heavy frosts have passed.
Once in growth it is a very thirsty and hungry plant and should be kept constantly moist (but not wet) and fed fortnightly through the main growing season. From October through to April cease feeding and reduce watering keeping the compost just moist if growing under glass. It can become quite a large shrub reaching 6 meters in height with a spread of 4 to 5 meters but regular pruning will keep the plant much smaller and have even seen them trained into very attractive standards.
Plant in full sun in a moist but well drained soil (preferably on the slightly acidic side but will tolerate more alkaline soils) or part shade if growing in a glasshouse or conservatory during the summer months. Pretty much resistant to disease although pests such as aphids can sometimes be a problem under glass.
Sent as a young plant in a 9cm pot. May be sent cut back or dormant depending on the time of year.