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Turquoise Puya

Princess Flower 

Overlooking the Caribbean Sea, the coastal mountains of Venezuela are home to many beautiful orchids, palms, bromeliads, and this rare gem, the Pink Princess Flower - Monochaetum humboldtianum.  You might be familiar with its cousin, the purple Princess Flower (Tibouchina urvilleana).  The Pink Princess Flower lights up with glowing pink and magenta blooms that almost look like dancing butterflies!  Unfortunately this species is dwindling in numbers in Venezuela due to human development.  It is extremely rare in cultivation and almost never seen for sale.

Monochaetum humboldtianum

The Pink Princess Flower is an evergreen bush that grows about 8 to 10 feet tall if left unpruned.  Even without blooms, it's a gorgeous plant, with luxurious, satiny leaves on red-tinged stems.  Like most plants in the Melastome family, the leaves have distinctive, lengthwise veins, which i find very attractive.  Monochaetum blooms in the winter months, with occasional blooms at other times.  It gives a great splash of winter color, when most other plants aren't blooming.  The flowers are a big 2 inches across - which might be the largest in the genus.  Its petals deepen in color toward the edges, and have a very faint purple overtone reminiscent of Tibouchina.  The anthers are a gorgeous bright yellow and pink, adding to the butterfly effect.

Monochaetum humboldtianum

The plant grows in mountain cloud forests, where temperatures are mild all year and nights are cool.  I have no information on how much heat the plant can take.  I suspect that it might not thrive if temperatures consistently get above 85 degrees F (29 C), especially if nights are warm.  It might be able to handle a light frost, but i recommend protecting it from freezing temperatures.  It likes partly sunny conditions.  Protect it from hot afternoon sun.  It grows well in a pot in well-draining soil that's kept evenly moist.  Over about 40% humidity is best.  In the right conditions, it is easy to grow.

Monochaetum humboldtianum

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Turquoise Puya

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