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Turquoise Puya

Impatiens sakerana

Welcome to one of my favorite plants!  Impatiens sakerana is a fascinating, rare species that you probably haven't seen before.  Its bizarrely beautiful flowers are decorated in an assortment of tropical colors.  They dangle from woody stems that can reach 12 feet long!  This unique plant comes from mountain rainforests in Cameroon in west Africa, and the neighboring island of Bioko.  It faces a high risk of extinction there due to deforestation.  This is a cool climate species that is untested in hot climates.  It is very rare in cultivation, and practically never seen for sale.

Impatiens sakerana

Impatiens sakerana is a perennial species with unusual vegetative growth.  It makes long, rigid stems that are coated with fuzz, and turn woody with age.  The stems wander around, both along the ground and up into bushes.  They typically grow about 6 feet long here in San Francisco, and reportedly twice that in the wild.  The leaves are covered in soft hairs, and grow in a whorled arrangement around each node, which is pretty unusual for Impatiens.  The inch-long flowers appear practically all year long!  The upper "hood" is a vivid coral-orange, and the dangling lower petals are yellow with a dark red streak.  The flanks are a glossy lime-green, and blend into a bright red "tail".  These flamboyant blooms are pollinated by birds in the wild.

Impatiens sakeriana

Impatiens sakerana comes from cool cloudforests with temperatures in the 70s or slightly above (25-27C).  I have no information on whether it can take warmer temperatures, so consider it experimental in areas that regularly get above 85 degrees F (29C), particularly if nights are warm (above 65F / 18C).  It has handled winter lows in the mid-30s here (2C), although i don't think it can survive freezing temperatures.  It grows well indoors, and may be pruned to any size that is convenient.  Like most Impatiens, it prefers fertile, well-draining potting soil that's kept evenly moist.  It enjoys filtered sunlight, or morning sun + bright shade.  Protect it from strong afternoon sun.  Over about 40-50% humidity is recommended.

Impatiens sakeriana

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Germinating the seeds

 

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Turquoise Puya

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