With brightly colored tubular flowers that float in lush clusters over velvety green leaves, the tropical violet bush is visually stunning. On the summery balcony or in the light-flooded conservatory, no one can escape the imposing, up to 2 meter tall Iochroma. The exotic blossoms dance incessantly above the foliage throughout the summer, pausing only in winter. Magnificent varieties in intense colors make the hobby gardener spoiled for choice, who should not be deterred from cultivation by the extravagant habit. Caring for and overwintering are far less precarious than the appearance suggests.


  • Plant family of the nightshade family (Solanaceae).
  • Genus of violet bushes (Iochroma).
  • Native to the topical forests of South America.
  • Growth height 150 cm to 250 cm.
  • Slender tubular flowers 5 cm long.
  • Numerous inflorescences in the axils and at the tips of the shoots.
  • flowering time from July to October; longer in the conservatory.
  • Fleshy berries after flowering.
  • Flower colors from blue to red to white in many nuances.
  • Twigs and leaves are hairy when young.

Among the approx. 25 known species there are various spreading climbers, which are excellent for cultivating on a trellis. The vast majority, on the other hand, captivates with a luxuriantly branched and at the same time upright habit.


The lighting conditions at the chosen location largely determine the extent of the abundance of flowers. The more sunlight reaches the violet bush, the more tubular florets will develop. Ideally, higher-growing plants filter the light, as the ornamental shrub knows from its native tropical forests. Of course, meeting this requirement should prove to be a challenge for a hobby gardener, since an Iochroma comes along with an impressive growth height.

  • Sunny position to light penumbra.
  • Protected from the wind as the branches break easily.

The warmer the location, the more at home an Iochroma feels. While there are therefore no upper limits, the absolute minimum temperature is around 10° Celsius.


Only high-quality potting soil is suitable for the violet bush. This is additionally enriched with coarse-grained components such as expanded clay, chippings or lava granules. The substrate must be able to store the highest possible amounts of water and nutrients without losing the indispensable permeability.
In view of these requirements, keeping the exotic ornamental shrub in hydroponics is also an option. This form of modern cultivation is primarily recommended for working hobby gardeners, given the high water and nutrient requirements of an Iochroma.


The violet bush develops a considerable mass of leaves, while at the same time growing rapidly. Both attributes result in a respectable consumption of water, especially during the summer.

  • Keep the substrate constantly moist.
  • On warm days, water every morning after the thumb test.
  • Leave a supply of water in the coaster.
  • Limp drooping leaves signal an immediate need for water.

The sunnier the location, the more intensively the evaporation of moisture takes place. This fact implies that watering at midday is exceptionally allowed for a tropical plant. If symptoms of dehydration appear, they must be remedied immediately. Waiting until the evening hours in such a case could do irreparable damage. The irrigation water should be applied directly to the root ball and never over the flowers and leaves.


The need for nutrients is also at a high level for a violet bush. The use of liquid fertilizer for flowering plants is recommended because of the precise dosage.

  • Fertilize once or twice a week from May to August.
  • Fertilize every 7 to 10 days in April and September as pre- and post-run.
  • Alternatively, apply a long-term fertilizer at the beginning of April.

It is important to note that liquid fertilizer is never applied to dry substrate. If the thumb test shows that the surface has dried, pour it a little first. With regard to the dosage, the manufacturer’s instructions on the packaging should be observed exactly. No matter how high the nutrient requirement is, if there is an overdose, the health of the flowering shrub is extremely endangered.


The growth of the roots is just as rapid as the growth of the shoots. As a result, a larger bucket is usually required every spring after the winter break. Unlike the vast majority of potted plants, the hobby gardener can sometimes use larger planters for his violet bush. Those who shy away from repeated investment in expensive tubs can take advantage of the following alternative:

  • Unpot the bush and cut wedges out of the root ball with a sharp knife.
  • Put the plant back in the bucket and fill in the gaps with fresh substrate.
  • Press the soil down well and then water it generously.

Not repotting into a larger pot or using the root wedge method will sooner or later result in the violet bush literally suffocating. The roots squeeze each other, preventing water and nutrients from flowing and the plant dies.

To cut

Without the gardener’s regulating intervention through a targeted pruning, the rapidly growing violet bush would lose its distinctive silhouette within a short period of time. At the same time, there would be a great danger that it would be bald from below. In March, shortly before the new shoots, the flowering bush should therefore be brought into shape. Admittedly, the good care in the summer led to the Iochroma having assumed an imposing size to fit into the winter quarters, there is nothing to be said against pruning back in the autumn.

  • Cut off all dead wood close to the ground.
  • Remove bare or crossing shoots at the base.
  • Cut inward branches completely.
  • Shorten all other branches by half, maximum two thirds.

In addition, the cut-compatible Iochroma easily accepts one or the other corrective measure in between. Regular pinching, for example, promotes branching. Incidentally, noticeably dead shoots do not have to stay on the plant until next year, but can be removed at any time.

Tip: Regularly cleaning out wilted tubular flowers promotes a magnificent bloom.


The range of violet bushes on the market is very limited. Therefore, the self-propagation makes sense, because their requirements do not pose insurmountable hurdles for a hobby gardener.


During the summer, the gardener cuts shoot tips 10 cm to 15 cm long and removes the flower bases. Only the upper pair remains of the leaves. Two-thirds of the cuttings are planted in seed pots filled with a low-nutrient mixture of peat and sand. After the substrate has been moistened, a plastic bag pulled over it ensures a beneficial moist and warm micro-climate. Placed in a partially shaded window seat or in a sheltered place on the balcony, rooting takes place quickly. If a new shoot appears while roots are growing out of the opening in the ground, the gardener repots the young plants into a bucket that is now filled with potting soil.

Rooting occurs just as quickly when the cuttings are placed in a glass of water. At the same time, this has the advantage that the development of the root system can be better monitored.

In a seed tray, the seeds are distributed on suitable seed soil and sieved over with substrate. The gardener gives them a little water from the spray bottle from time to time until they germinate. The ideal temperature is around 20° Celsius and should be maintained even after germination. From a size of approx. 10 cm, it is finally time to transplant the violet bushes into individual pots.


As the garden year draws to a close, the violet bush moves to its winter quarters. At temperatures between 10° and 12° Celsius, the ornamental tree should be moved to a protected environment at the latest, otherwise all leaves will be shed. A short-term temperature minimum of 0° Celsius does not cause permanent damage, but should be avoided if possible. Depending on the choice of winter quarters, the optimal light and temperature conditions there are closely intertwined:

  • The brighter the room, the warmer it should be there.
  • In the dark quarters, the temperatures can be between 5° and 12° Celsius.
  • Only water when the root ball dries.
  • Stop fertilizing after October.

The complete shedding of the leaves can be desirable in the dark winter quarters. If the violet bush is not used for decoration during the cold season, the regeneration has a much stronger effect the less plant material there is to take care of. The leaves will sprout again next spring as temperatures and brightness rise.

On the other hand, hibernation takes place in a heated conservatory. The violet bush moves into an extended living space in which conditions prevail that people find pleasant. The evergreen leaves continue to thrive, with a bit of luck the berries will also grow. The care is adapted to this:

  • The temperatures do not rise above 28° Celsius.
  • The humidity is more than 50%.
  • Pour according to the thumb test, without water level in the saucer.
  • Apply a diluted dose of fertilizer every 14 days.

Regular checking for pests, such as the dreaded spider mite , is essential. In addition, the daily exchange of air plays a central role. The windows should be opened for a period of 5 to 10 minutes; no longer.

Note: From whatever winter quarters the violet bush moves outdoors in spring; acclimatization should take place beforehand to avoid temperature shock.

Popular Varieties

Red violet (Iochroma fuchsioides)

  • Red tubular flowers with a bell-like calyx.
  • Growth height 150 cm to 250 cm.
  • Impresses with a fuchsia-like habit.

Large-flowered violet bush (Iochroma grandiflora)

  • Develops 8 cm long flowers of deep purple.
  • Leaves enchant with violet shimmer.
  • Shoots and foliage are covered with white fluff.

Scarlet violet (Iochroma coccineum)

  • Clusters of scarlet red flowers.
  • Velvety green, elongated oval leaves.
  • Showy, white styles.

Veilchenstrauch ‚Royal Purple‘ (Iochroma cyanea)

  • Lavender slender trumpet flowers.
  • Large, oval leaves with smooth edges.
  • Slightly toxic in all parts.

Violet bush ‘White Angel’ (Iochroma australis)

  • Delicate white flowers in dense clusters.
  • Growth height up to 3 meters and higher.
  • Also available as a short cultivar.

The violet bush is still an insider tip among hobby gardeners who like to cultivate rare tropical flowering plants. So far, only a handful of species and even fewer varieties are on the market.

The exotic violet bush is truly a sight that every hobby gardener likes to display on his balcony throughout the summer. The slender, colorful tubular flowers not only appear sporadically on the shoots, but also occupy the bush all over in thick clusters. The need for water and nutrients is correspondingly high; which of course does not complicate the cultivation. In terms of overwintering, the Iochroma in no way exceeds the generally accepted level for non-hardy plants. On the contrary, the flowering shrub is so flexible that a light overwintering is just as successful as a dark one, provided the parameters are adjusted accordingly. Unfortunately, the diversity of species and varieties has so far remained within a fairly manageable framework. You can be curious

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