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Turquoise Puya

Bomarea uncifolia (B. lobbiana)

This is a rare look at the beautiful Bomarea uncifolia.  Bomareas are vines related to Alstroemeria, the "Peruvian Lily" seen in flower arrangements.  This species is found in the Andes mountains in Ecuador, where it is endangered due to deforestation.  Throughout the year it puts out gorgeous clusters of pink blooms with green tips.  Another picture of the blooms is here.  The plant comes from a cool climate and might not thrive in hot conditions.  It is extremely rare - I don't know anyone else currently offering it.

The plant is a compact, tuberous vine, with slender shoots that grow about 3 to 4 feet tall.  The flower clusters appear at the end of the shoots and typically have 10 to 30 blooms.  The inch-long, tubular flowers are a vivid shade of pink and attract hummingbirds.  The plant is sometimes called Bomarea lobbiana, but the correct name is Bomarea uncifolia.  The spread of agriculture and mining has destroyed much of Ecuador's forests, forcing this Bomarea onto the endangered species list.

It's found between 2500 and 3500 meter elevation in southern Ecuador, where the climate is mild to cool all year, and nights are cool but frost-free.  I have no experience with it in warm conditions, but i suspect it might not thrive if temperatures regularly get above 85 degrees F (29 C) and nights are warm.  The foliage may be killed by frost, but the tubers should be hardy to 25 degrees F (-4 C).  You may grow it indoors in a 3 gallon (10 liter) container, with a trellis for the shoots to twine around.  I believe that flowering is induced by cool nights (below 64 degrees F / 17 C).  It likes part-sunlight, with some protection from strong afternoon sun.  It prefers rich, well-draining soil that is kept moist.  Over about 40% is recommended.  In the right conditions, it's a vigorous and easy vine..

 

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Turquoise Puya

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