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Bomarea distichifolia / distichiphylla

There are a lot of terrific, rare species out there that never find their way into cultivation, and Bomarea distichifolia is one of them.  This South American beauty is closely related to Alstroemeria, the "Peruvian Lily" seen in flower arrangements.  Growing to about 2 feet tall, it has attractive shoots resembling bamboo leaves which are topped with clusters of small, bell-shaped blossoms.  After flowering, it makes striking orange fruit that look like little pumpkins!  The plant comes from a mild climate and is untested in hot conditions.  Freshly picked seeds are rarely seen for sale.

Bomarea distichifolia / distichiphylla

Bomarea distichifolia / distichiphylla

Bomarea distichifolia is a tuberous perennial that goes dormant in winter, unless grown indoors.  Unlike most Bomarea species, which are tall, rampant vines, this one is short and non-vining, so it is much more manageable to grow indoors.  It spreads via underground rhizomes, eventually filling a pot with its attractive foliage.  The flowers appear in waves throughout spring and summer.  Each umbel has 5 to 10 blooms that are about a half inch long.  These outward-facing blooms are generally bright orange or reddish-orange, and have purple or blue pollen.  The plant can flower almost all year if grown indoors, but it won't form fruit indoors unless you manually pollinate the blooms.

Bomarea distichifolia / distichiphylla

It comes from mountain cloud forests of Ecuador, where temperatures are mild all year, and nights are cool.  I have no information on how it will fare in hot conditions, but i suspect it might not thrive if temperatures regularly get above 85 F (29C) and nights are warm (above 68F / 20C).  It reportedly can survive several degrees of frost, but i suggest protecting it from hard frosts.  It grows well in bright shade or filtered sun.  Give it some protection from strong afternoon sun.  It likes fertile, well-draining soil that's kept evenly moist most of the time.  Over about 40% humidity is recommended.  In the right conditions, it is an easy plant.

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Germinating the seeds

 

 

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Turquoise Puya

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