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Turquoise Puya

Moussonia elegans

This is a rare look at the elegant Moussonia elegans!  This beautiful Gesneriad hails from the cool mountains of Mexico, where it forms a large, attractive bush about 5 feet tall and wide.  Its orangey-red blossoms are 1 inches long and usually appear in umbels of 4 all over the plant.  Even without blooms it is very attractive, with oversized, fuzzy leaves and reddish stems.  I have no information on whether it will thrive in warm conditions.  The plant is very rare in cultivation, and fresh seeds are rarely seen for sale.

Moussonia elegans

The leaves of this evergreen shrub have a nice, soft texture, like felt.  This is a vigorous species and has a long blooming season, with flowers appearing almost all year.  The flaring, tubular blooms are sort of a salmon-scarlet color, with yellow & red inside the throat.  They are suspended outward beyond the leaves by long, reddish stems.  The blooms are pollinated by hummingbirds and insects.

Moussonia elegans

It thrives here in San Francisco, where temperatures are usually below 80 degrees F, and nights are cool.  I suspect that it won't be happy in temperatures that are consistently above the low 80s (28 degrees C) with warm nights.  It has handled winter lows in the mid-30s (2 degrees C), but it might not survive frost, so i would bring it indoors when temperatures approach freezing.  It grows well in a pot in rich, well-draining soil that is kept evenly moist.  Since it comes from the forest understory, it prefers filtered sunlight or bright shade.  Protect it from strong afternoon sun.  Over about 40-50% humidity is recommended.  In the right conditions, it is an easy and very decorative plant.

Moussonia elegans

Moussonia elegans

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Germination tips for this plant

 

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Turquoise Puya

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