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Turquoise Puya

Dombeya macrantha 

This is a close look at the rare Dombeya macrantha from Madagascar.  This gorgeous bush is decorated with bell-shaped blossoms in glowing shades of orangish-pink.  Even without flowers, it is a fantastic plant, with large, woolly leaves that have the texture of felt.  A picture of the plant growing in the wild is here.  It is seldom seen in cultivation, even in botanical gardens.  I don't know anyone else currently offering it.

Dombeya macrantha

 Dombeya macrantha is an evergreen bush in the Mallow family (Malvaceae).  It grows fairly quickly to 5 or 6 feet tall and a bit wider.  Its olive-colored leaves are about 10 inches long and have copper colored veins.  Both sides of the leaves are densely covered with soft, fuzzy hairs, providing a nice tactile element to the garden.  The blooms dangle singly from long stems from spring through autumn, and occasionally at other times.  The 2 inch blossoms unfurl with 5 petals that have attractive veins.  The petal color can vary with the temperature but usually is a watermelon red or salmon, blending to white near the top.  The blooms are topped with unusual bracts that are intricately frilled.

Andringitra macrantha

The plant grows at about 1600 meter elevation in Madagascar, where temperatures are mild all year and nights are cool.  In cultivation it has handled 90 degrees F (32 degrees C) with cool nights (below 65 F / 19 C).  It's possible that it won't thrive with the combination of hot days and warm nights.  My guess is that it is cold hardy to about 28 degrees F (-2 C).  I recommend protecting it from frost.  It is easy to grow in a large pot in an ordinary, well-draining soil mix.  It enjoys mostly sunny conditions.  Some afternoon shade might be a good idea in warmer climates.  It has fairly high water requirements, and average fertilizer needs.  Over about 40% humidity is recommended.  It is rarely bothered by insect pests.

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Germination tips for this plant

 

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Turquoise Puya

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