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Turquoise Puya

Begonia barkeri

I'm not 100% certain, but i believe this is Begonia barkeri.  Discovered in Mexico, it is an exceptionally handsome species with distinctive, red-veined leaves.  These large, leathery leaves grow 10 inches long or more, and have attractive reddish undersides.  Its white flowers are certainly pretty, but the real appeal of this plant is its first-rate foliage.

Begonia barkeri

The plant was discovered by Begonia collector Rekha Morris, who believes it is a form of Begonia barkeri.  It is a rhizomatous-type Begonia with upright growth and fuzzy leaf stems.  The leaf color can vary from olive green to forest green.  The plant has not flowered for me yet, but the blooms are reported to be white or pink.

Begonia barkeri

Little is known about its climate tolerances, so use caution when trying it outdoors.  I have only grown it indoors, where it has been very low-maintenance for me.  Use a soil high in organic matter and with a loose, "airy" structure".  A typical mix is 1 part potting soil to 1 part fine orchid bark.  Keep the soil evenly moist, but don't let it stay soggy all the time, so it doesn't rot.  If over-watering is inevitable, use more orchid bark in your mix.  It likes bright, filtered light.  I don't know how much sun it can take.  Feel free to experiment with rooted cuttings in different environments.

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Turquoise Puya

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