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Turquoise Puya

Colombian Princess Flower 

This is a rare look at the beautiful Monochaetum magdalenense - the "Colombian Princess Flower".  This eye-catching bush flowers throughout much of the year, with large clusters of pretty, pink blossoms with contrasting yellow stamens.  The plant is found only in a small mountain range in Colombia, where it is threatened with extinction.  It comes from a mild climate and is untested in hot conditions.  It's extremely rare in cultivation.  I don't think it's available anywhere else online!

Monochaetum magdalenense - Colombian Princess Flower

It's an evergreen bush in the Melastome family, related to the more common purple Princess Flower (Tibouchina urvilleana).  I don't know how large it's capable of getting, but so far it's grown about 5 feet tall & wide here in San Francisco.  Its attractive leaves are 3-4 inches long and have distinctive, lengthwise veins.  The large flower clusters contain a few dozen inch-wide blooms, which open progressively over a long period.  The plant faces a significant threat of deforestation in Colombia.  Almost 90% of its habitat has been destroyed, so its future is uncertain.

Monochaetum magdalenense - Colombian Princess Flower

It's found in mountain forests at about 7500 foot elevation, where temperatures are mild all year and nights are cool.  I suspect it might not thrive if temperatures consistently get above the low 80s (28C) and nights are warm.  It might tolerate warmer conditions if nights are cool (below 65F / 18C).  It probably can survive a light frost, but i strongly recommend protecting it from freezing temperatures.  It enjoys filtered sunlight or morning sun.  Protect it from strong afternoon sun.  It grows well in a pot in well-draining soil that's kept evenly moist.  Over about 40% humidity is best.  In the right conditions, it is easy to grow.

 

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Turquoise Puya

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