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Turquoise Puya

"Flaming Lips" Columnea sp.

This rare guy has no name, so i'm calling him the "Flaming Lips" Columnea!  This awesome new species was discovered fairly recently in a remote part of southern Ecuador.  Its fuzzy, purple blooms have an outrageous, gaping "mouth" with bright yellow "lips".  This is an excellent horticultural gem that deserves to become very popular!

"Flaming Lips" Columnea sp.

The plant makes attractive shoots about 2 feet long that are lined with thick, glossy leaves.  It looks great when grown in a hanging planter.  The flowers are 2 inches long and appear throughout the year.  Their purple color is pretty unusual color for Columneas, which are usually red, orange, or yellow.  The plant hasn't been given a species name yet.  It might be able to cross-breed with some other Columneas to create new hybrids.

It was found in mountain cloud forests at about 1200-1500 meter elevation, where the climate is mild all year.  It grows well for me indoors in the mid-70s (24C) during the day and mid-60s (18C) at night.  I have no experience with it outside that temperature range.  I do know it enjoys bright, filtered light.  It probably will need some protection from strong afternoon sun.  It likes a loose soil mix that's kept evenly moist.  A typical mix is 2 parts perlite to 1 part coir fiber or peat moss.  It also may be grown in an epiphytic mix.  Over about 50% humidity is best.  In the right conditions, it's an easy and very fun plant.

"Flaming Lips" Columnea sp.

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