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Turquoise Puya

Scadoxus cinnabarinus

This is a close look at the rare Scadoxus cinnabarinus.  This unusual member of the Amaryllis family is almost unknown in cultivation.  Its spectacular, fireworks-like flower cluster rises above attractive leaves that resemble a mini banana plant.  This showy species comes from warm forests in tropical Africa.  It is found in only a few plant collections, and is almost never seen for sale.

Scadoxus cinnabarinus

 Scadoxus cinnabarinus is closely related to Clivia, and has similar roots that are thick and orchid-like.  Its bulb-like rhizome sends up fleshy leaves about 12 inches tall.  Mature plants make offsets, which may be separated.  In summer, it sends up a flower stem 12 to 18 inches tall, topped with its ball-like inflorescence.  The flower color can vary from orange or peach to light scarlet.  After flowering, it makes attractive, orange berries if pollinated with another plant.  This species is slow-growing and requires a few years in the same pot in order to flower.  It may be cross-bred with other Scadoxus species to create new hybrids.

Scadoxus cinnabarinus

It needs warm conditions year-round, and should be kept above 60 degrees F (16°C).  It grows well in a small pot in a loose, chunky soil mix that drains quickly.  A typical mix is 1 part orchid bark (fine- or medium-grade), 1 part pumice or perlite, and 1 part potting soil or coir fiber.  Keep the roots evenly moist or the plant may go dormant.  This forest plant does best in shade or dappled sunlight.  Protect it from strong sun exposure.  Over about 50% humidity is best.  By the way, Scadoxus plants contain a toxin, so keep them away from small children and pets.

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Photos 1 & 3 courtesy of Martin Grantham, photo #2 courtesy of André Karwath

 

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