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Turquoise Puya

Bartlettina sordida

The cloud forests of Mexico are home to many rare gems, like the spectacular Blue Mist Flower - Bartlettina sordida.  This unusual shrub makes massive clusters of fuzzy, bluish-lilac flowers - like big, puffy pom-poms!  The attractive leaves are equally large, growing as big as dinner plates!  The plant is very rare in cultivation, usually only seen in botanical gardens.  It does best in mild temperatures and might not thrive in hot climates.  If you can provide the right conditions, it is a striking collector's plant.  Seeds can be difficult to germinate, so i offer established plants.

Bartlettina sordida

Bartlettina sordida is a fast-growing perennial species in the Aster family with an upright habit and woody branches.  It grows to 15 feet tall here in San Francisco, although it may be pruned to any height that is convenient.  Its big, velvety leaves give the plant a great, tropical look.  In Spring, the flower stalks rise above foliage.  Each flower cluster can get up to a foot across!  The fuzzy look of the clusters is due to the thread-like stamens on each flower.  The blooms have a nice fragrance, smelling somewhat like lilacs.

Bartlettina sordida

The plant grows best between 40 and 85 degrees F (4-29C) with nights that are cool.  I don't think it will thrive in areas that regularly get warmer than that, particularly if nights that are warm.  It can probably handle a few degrees of frost, but i recommend protecting it from freezing temperatures.  It may be grown indoors in a large pot.  Since it comes from dense cloud forests, it prefers filtered sunlight or bright shade.  Protect it from strong afternoon sun.  It likes rich, well-draining soil that's kept evenly moist.  Over about 40% humidity is best.

Bartlettina sordida

Bartlettina sordida

 

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Turquoise Puya

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