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Turquoise Puya

Fuchsia splendens - "Chili Pepper Fuchsia"

These intriguing flowers belong to Fuchsia splendens from Central America and southern Mexico.  The blooms of this rare species are pinched in near the base, giving them sort of a chili pepper appearance, hence its nickname "Chili Pepper Fuchsia".  They don't taste like peppers, of course, but the fruits are edible, with a nice lemony-sweet flavor.  The plant blooms almost all year for me, and it's as easy to grow as other Fuchsias.  It is rare in cultivation, and freshly picked seeds are rarely seen for sale.

Fuchsia splendens - "Chili Pepper Fuchsia"

Fuchsia splendens is a woody bush that grows about 6 feet tall and wide here in San Francisco.  Its rounded leaves grow pretty large for Fuchsias, getting to about 6 inches long.  The 1 inch long flowers dangle all over the plant throughout the year.  The tube is a vivid salmon-pink color, with green petals & sepals.  The blooms are followed by very long, slender fruit that might be the longest of all Fuchsias!  They have a tart & sweet flavor, adding a nice lemony taste to fruit salads or smoothies.

Fuchsia splendens - "Chili Pepper Fuchsia"

Like most Fuchsias, it prefers mild daytime temperatures and cool nights.  It can tolerate warm days provided that nights are cool.  I don't know if it will thrive if temperatures regularly get above 85 degrees F (29 C), and nights are above 65 degrees F (18 C).  It probably can only survive a light frost, so it's best to protect it from freezing temperatures.  Since it comes from cloud forests, it prefers filtered sunlight, with protection from strong afternoon sun.  It grows well in a pot in a well-draining, fertile soil that is kept moist, similar to other Fuchsias.  Over about 40% humidity is recommended.   This species is resistant to Fuchsia mites.

Fuchsia splendens - "Chili Pepper Fuchsia"

 

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Germinating the seeds

 

 

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