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Turquoise Puya

Philesia magellanica

Philesia magellanica is a seldom-seen jewel from rain forests in southern Chile.  This beautiful shrub is closely related to the legendary Lapageria rosea, which has similar bell-shaped blossoms.  This plant requires cool, moist conditions to thrive, and also a lot of patience, since it is slow-growing.  If you can give it the right conditions, it is a prized collector's plant.  Freshly-picked seeds are almost never seen for sale.  This is the first time i have them available.

Philesia magellanica

 Philesia tends to form a compact shrub about 3 feet tall and wide, with small, evergreen leaves.  In the wild, it can flower at 4 years old, but in cultivation, it is more like 8 to 10 years.  Once mature, it will bloom almost all year long, making a terrific show plant.  The vivid, pink blossoms are 2 inches long and are pollinated by hummingbirds.  The plant may be hybridized with Lapageria, although only a small percentage of crossed flowers produce viable seeds.

Philesia magellanica

It prefers similar conditions as cool-temperature Orchids.  It's happiest below 75 degrees F (24C), with nights below 60F (16C).  There are scattered reports of it handling heat fine, but it might not thrive if temperatures consistently rise above the low 80s (28 degrees C), especially if nights are warm.  It can tolerate a few degrees of frost, but it's best to protect it from freezing temperatures, especially the first few years. 

This forest plant likes dappled sunlight or morning sun.  Protect it from strong afternoon sun.  It often grows as an epiphyte in the wild, so it appreciates an open, quick draining soil mix that's kept evenly moist.  A typical mix is equal parts of fine bark, peat moss, and coarse sand.  It likes acidic, so don't add lime to the mix.  Over 50% humidity is best, with good air flow.

Photos 1 & 3 used with permission of the S.F. State University greenhouse

 

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Germination tips for this plant

 

 

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Turquoise Puya

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