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Turquoise Puya

Deppea grandiflora

This is a rare look at the lovely Deppea grandiflora.  Related to the legendary Deppea splendens, it looks quite different from it.  This 4 to 8 foot tall shrub has masses of golden-yellow blooms suspended above attractive, glossy foliage.  The sprightly flowers are lightly fragrant, smelling somewhat like baby powder.  The species comes from cool, mountain forests of southern Mexico and Central America.  It is new to horticulture, and extremely hard to find.

Deppea grandiflora

Deppea grandiflora is an upright shrub in the Coffee family that stays evergreen.  The 3 to 5 inch leaves are heavily ribbed like Deppea splendens, but they also have a nice, glossy texture which the other species lacks.  The flowers mostly appear in the spring here in San Francisco.  If grown indoors, it might bloom any time of year.  The upward-facing flowers occasionally have 3 or 5 petals, but 4 is the most common number.  These half-inch blooms appear by the hundreds, creating a spectacular show!

It seems to have similar requirements to Deppea splendens, which prefers mild temperatures below 80-85 degrees F, and nights that are cool.  It might not thrive if it consistently gets above 85 degrees F (29C), particularly if nights are warm.  I think it can only handle a light, brief frost.  I recommend protecting it from freezing.  It grows well indoors in a pot, and may be pruned to any size that's convenient.  This forest species is happiest with dappled sunlight or morning sun.  Protect it from strong afternoon sun.  It likes rich, well-draining soil that's kept evenly moist.  Over about 40% humidity is best.  Overall, this species is easier to grow than D. splendens.

Deppea grandiflora

 

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