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Turquoise Puya

Meriania nobilis

This is a rare look at Meriania nobilis - considered to be one of the most beautiful flowering trees in the world!  All year long this Colombian native is covered with big bouquets of luxurious blooms in various shades of purple and red.  Some terrific pictures of the plant are here.  The tree comes from the cool mountains of Colombia, and unfortunately it might not thrive in warm climates.  It is extremely rare in cultivation, even in botanical gardens.  I don't know anyone else in the U.S. offering it.

Meriania nobilis

Meriania nobilis is an evergreen tree in the Melastome family that typically grows 20 feet tall, although it may be pruned shorter and grown as a bush.  Even without flowers, it is a choice tree, with large, satiny leaves that have distinctive veins.  The blooms appear most months of the year.  The 3 inch blossoms are red when they first open, then progress through shades of purple and violet.  These vivid petals are accented by yellow anthers.

Meriania nobilis

The tree is found between 1900 and 2900 meter elevation in Colombia, where temperatures are cool to mild all year, and frost is almost non-existent.  Little is known about its climate tolerances, but i suspect it might decline if temperatures consistently rise above the low 80s (28 degrees C), especially if nights are warm.  Consider it experimental in warm climates.  It can probably handle a few degrees of frost, but it's wise to protect it from freezing temperatures.  It may be grown in a pot in well-draining soil that is slightly acid.  Aim to keep the soil evenly moist at all times.  The plant comes from cloud forests, so it appreciates a mix of sun and shade, with some protection from strong afternoon sun.  Over about 50% humidity is recommended.

Meriania nobilis

Meriania nobilis

Photos courtesy of Clive & Dave

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Germination tips for this plant

 

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