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Turquoise Puya

Lapageria

It's considered by many to be one of the most beautiful flowering vines in the world!  The Chilean Bellflower - Lapageria rosea - was rightfully chosen as the national flower of Chile.  The sumptuous flowers of this cool-climate vine are treasured by gardeners for their beauty.  The lovely white cultivar shown here is very rare.  Freshly picked seeds are almost never seen for sale.

Lapageria rosea alba

The 3 inch long blooms of the Chilean Bellflower appear in large numbers throughout much of the year.  The flowers may look delicate, but they're surprisingly thick and durable, and often last for weeks on the vine.  The glossy, heart-shaped leaves are also thick and sturdy.  This vigorous vine gracefully climbs its way up a trellis or fence, and looks absolutely stunning over an arbor!

Lapageria photo

Most of the seedlings of this white cultivar will vary from creamy white to snow white.  Some of them may have a light pink flush on the shoulders, and this can vary depending on the time of year.  The photos here will give you an idea of what most of them should look like.  While the seedling color may be slightly unpredictable, there is no such thing as an ugly Lapageria!

Lapageria photo

Lapageria comes from the cool mountains of Chile, and grows best between 40 and 85 degrees F (5-29 C) with cool nights.  It may not thrive in areas that are consistently above 85 degrees (30C), particularly if nights are warm.  If you can grow Fuchsia or Clivia, you should be able to grow Lapageria.  Try to protect it from freezing temperatures, although it is said to tolerate down to the low 20s (-5C) if given overhead protection. 

It may be grown in a pot indoors, if the air isn't too dry (over 45-50% humidity is recommended).  Give the something to twine itself around, like a trellis or wires.  It prefers part-sun, with protection from hot afternoon sun.  It does best in well-draining soil that is kept evenly moist.  If you can provide the right conditions, it is an easy and long-lived vine.

Lapageria alba

Since it comes from the forests, it prefers tree-filtered sun. Shade it from prolonged direct sun, unless it's early morning sun.  It prefers moist, slightly acidic soil that's well-draining and low in lime.  If your tap water is very high in minerals, it's best to use rainwater or bottled water.  If you can provide the right conditions, it is an easy and long-lived vine.

Some photos used with permission of Bill Harberts

 

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