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Turquoise Puya

Impatiens tuberosa

The island of Madagascar is home to many unusual, caudex-forming succulents, including the rare Impatiens tuberosa.  This beautiful species is quite different from the common bedding Impatiens.  It makes an attractive, woody caudex, which enables the plant to survive the dry season.  Its orchid-shaped blossoms are a vivid shade of magenta, and have yellow & red markings inside the white throat.  This is a choice collector's plant that makes a great show plant.  It is rare both in the wild and in cultivation.  I don't know anyone else offering seeds.

Impatiens tuberosa

Impatiens tuberosa forms multiple branches from the caudex, and can grow to 24 inches tall, but usually shorter.  The shape of the caudex is variable, with each plant taking on a different shape.  The caudex gradually increases in size each year, eventually growing up to 12 inches wide.  The attractive foliage is olive green with reddish undersides when grown in bright light.  In the wild, the plant normally drops its succulent branches during the dry winters, and emerges from dormancy in spring.  In cultivation, the plant often stays evergreen if watered regularly and kept warm.  The blooms are about an inch long and appear at the tops of the branches pretty much non-stop throughout the year.  This species may be cross-bred with certain other Impatiens species to create great new hybrids, like this one.

Impatiens tuberosa

Impatiens tuberosa grows in tropical lowland forests, where temperatures get in the upper 80s (31C).  It can often tolerate warmer conditions than that if nights are cool (below 65F / 18C).  It's possible that consistently hot days with warm nights might stress it.  The tuber can probably survive a light frost, but i recommend keeping the plant above 50 degrees F (10C).

It grows well indoors in a small pot, and can even be grown as a bonsai plant!  It prefers a well-draining soil mix, such as equal parts of potting soil and perlite or coarse sand.  It looks best when given regular water and fertilizer, just like other Impatiens.  It can take more sun than typical Impatiens, but give it some protection from strong afternoon sun.  Bright shade works well too.  Over about 40% humidity is best.  In the right conditions, it is an easy, long-lived plant.

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Turquoise Puya

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