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Turquoise Puya

Werauhia insignis / Tillandsia insignis

Werauhia insignis - formerly known as Tillandsia insignis - is a beautiful Bromeliad from remote mountain rain forests in Costa Rica and Panama.  It is unusual for its long, branching habit, with each branch producing attractive, red flowers tipped with dark blue or purple.  More pictures of the blooms are here.  The plant is almost never seen for sale, and might not be available elsewhere online.

It is found growing as an epiphyte on trees, and also in the ground.  Its shoots grow about 1 to 2 feet long, each with slender, grass-like leaves about 3 to 6 inches long.  The bluish petals peek out from bright red bracts throughout the year.  They are pollinated by hummingbirds in the wild.

 It comes from varying elevations, so it should be able to handle both heat and cool temperatures.  It probably needs protection from frost.  It grows well in a fast-draining mix that's kept evenly moist.  A typical mix is equal parts of fine-grade bark, perlite or pumice, and potting soil or coir fiber.  Or you may use half sphagnum moss and half pumice.  Since it comes from cloud forests, it appreciates protection from strong afternoon sun.  Over about 40-50% humidity is best.

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Photo courtesy of Cody Hinchliff

 

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Turquoise Puya

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