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Turquoise Puya

Clinanthus variegatus (Stenomesson variegatum)

You aren't likely to find this gem in your local nurseries.  Clinanthus incarnatus is a stunning rare bulb from Peru related to Hippeastrum and Crinum.  Each summer it puts out big, bold blooms that are almost 4 inches long.  The trumpet-shaped blossoms are a vibrant shade of pinkish-red, and have a curious gray stripe at the tip of each petal.  This is a cool-climate species that is untested in warm climates.  If you can provide the right conditions for it, it's an easy and very exciting bulb to grow.

Clinanthus variegatus (Stenomesson variegatum)

Clinanthus (formerly Stenomesson) is a summer-growing bulb that usually goes dormant in winter.  It has long, strap-like leaves that grow to 2 feet long.  At some point between late spring and early autumn, the plant sends up a large, 2-foot flower spike, and 4 to 8 blooms spill out one at a time.  The flower color can appear more like salmon or coral, depending on the temperature and lighting.  This is a robust species with a very good presence in the garden.  Over time, the bulb makes numerous offsets, which you may separate.

Clinanthus variegatus / Stenomesson variegatum

Clinanthus comes from high elevations in the Andes, where the climate is mild all year and nights are cool.  I suspect it may not perform well if summer temperatures regularly get above 85F (29C), and nights are above 65F (18C).  It grows well indoors in a 1 gallon (4 liter) pot.  During the summer growing season, give it full sun in cooler conditions, while some afternoon shade might be needed in warmer climates.  Fast-draining soil is best, such as equal parts of potting soil and perlite or coarse sand.  Keep it evenly moist (but not constantly saturated).  It will flower better after a dormant period, so encourage dormancy by allowing the soil to dry out in winter and moving the pot to a cool area (40-60F / 4-16C).

Clinanthus variegatus / Stenomesson variegatum

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Turquoise Puya

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