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Turquoise Puya

Fuchsia crassistipula

This a close look at the rare Fuchsia crassistipula from the cool slopes of the Andes mountains in Colombia.  Not only does the plant have gorgeous blooms, but its purple leaves are among the most beautiful of all Fuchsia species!  This is a choice collector's plant that happens to be easy to grow.  It is very rare in cultivation, even among botanical gardens.  It might not be available elsewhere online.

Fuchsia crassistipula

Fuchsia crassistipula is an evergreen species with an upright growth habit, growing 4 or 5 feet tall here in San Francisco.  It reportedly grows to 9 feet tall in the wild.  The leaves are a velvety, deep-green flushed with purple.  The purple coloration is especially prominent on the newer growth, and also in bright light.  The blooms are intensely-colored, and look great against the darker leaves.  The 2 inch flowers appear during summer and autumn in large clusters from the ends of the branches.  They have a bright pink tube with lavender overtones, and flaring scarlet petals.  After flowering, it makes purple fruits that are edible.  They have a lightly-sweet flavor, making them a nice treat while wandering through the garden!  You might be able to cross this plant with some related Fuchsia species to create new hybrids.

Fuchsia crassistipula

It comes from mountain cloud forests in Colombia, and 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).  I don't think it can survive temperatures below freezing.  It enjoys filtered sunlight, and should be given protection from strong afternoon sun.  It grows well in a pot in a well-draining soil that is kept moist, similar to other Fuchsias.  Over about 40-50% humidity is recommended.  This species is resistant to Fuchsia mites.

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Germination tips for this plant

 

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Turquoise Puya

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