Home

Strange Wonderful Things

Rare and exotic plants & seeds

Turquoise Puya

Macleania coccoloboides

This is a close look at the beautiful Macleania coccoloboides.  This unusual member of the blueberry and Rhododendron family has highly decorative blooms with all the beauty of Christmas ornaments!  Even without its vivid blooms, it's an attractive plant, with glossy, Hoya-like leaves and a large, caudex-like base.  The plant comes from mountain cloud forests in Ecuador, where it is rare.  This is a choice collector's plant that is almost never seen for sale.

Macleania coccoloboides

The genus Macleania is rarely seen in cultivation.  In the wild, this species is found growing both in soil and as an epiphyte on trees.  The plant has long, woody stems that grow mostly sideways 6 to 12 feet in each direction.  The leaves are exceptionally attractive.  They are thick and leathery, and very large for the genus - about 4 to 5 inches long.  The plant flowers throughout much of the year, with tight clusters of inch-long blooms along the branches.  The bright red blooms are tipped with white, with the white portion tipped in red, creating a nice target for hummingbirds.  Like the leaves, the flowers are thick-textured and durable.  The plant makes a swollen, caudex-like root crown that may be grown partially exposed, if you are a fan of caudexes.

Macleania coccoloboides

Macleania comes from an area with mild temperatures all year.  I have no information about how much heat it can take, but i suspect it might not like temperatures above the mid-80s, especially if nights are warm.  Consider it experimental in areas like Florida.  The root crown probably can survive a few degrees of frost if planted deep, but i recommend protecting the plant from frost.  It grows great indoors at room temperature, where it can bloom almost any time of year.

For soil, give it a well-draining mix that is high in organic matter.  A typical mix is equal parts of potting soil and perlite or fine orchid bark.  Don't add lime to the mix, since this blueberry relative prefers slightly acid soil.  Aim to keep the soil evenly moist (but not soggy).  It likes bright light, with protection from strong afternoon sun.  Over about 40% humidity is recommended.

Check availability

 

Home

Strange Wonderful Things

Rare and exotic plants & seeds

Turquoise Puya

Entire site Copyright 2003-2017 by Strange Wonderful Things, except as noted