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Turquoise Puya

Christia vespertilionis - Red Butterfly Wing

Christia vespertilionis - the Red Butterfly Wing - is a terrific, rare tropical from southeast Asia with leaves resembling butterflies in flight!  This unusual species has variegated, bat-shaped foliage in eye-catching shades of purplish-red.  Despite its exotic appearance, it's one of the easiest plants i grow!  Freshly-picked seeds are rarely seen for sale.

Christia vespertilionis - Red Butterfly Wing

The Red Butterfly Wing grows about 2 feet tall, with slender, arching stems from which the unusual leaves are suspended.  These striped "wings" are 2 to 4 inches wide.  They tend to fold downward at night, and open up during the day!  When the plant is mature, it starts making small, whitish blooms along the tops of the shoots.  The plant is reportedly used as a medicinal herb, but i grow it strictly for its cool-looking foliage!

Christia vespertilionis - Red Butterfly Wing

The Red Butterfly Wing is a tropical species that tolerates warm conditions well.  I've only grown it indoors, but it believe it may decline in temperatures below 50 degrees F (10C).  Fortunately it grows great indoors, and doesn't need a large pot.  It likes bright shade or filtered sunlight.  It may need protection from strong sun exposure.  Grow in a well-draining soil mix that is kept evenly moist (but not soggy).  Over about 40% humidity is recommended.  In the right conditions, it is an easy, low-maintenance plant.

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Germination tips for this plant

 

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Turquoise Puya

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