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Turquoise Puya

Xeronema moorei

This is a rare look at Xeronema moorei, a terrific species from remote mountains in New Caledonia.  This unusual plant has bottlebrush flower clusters that grow sideways, resembling a giant red toothbrush!  It is similar to my popular Xeronema callistemon, except it is more compact and it can flower sooner.  It is almost never seen in cultivation or for sale.

Xeronema moorei

The plant grows about 12-15 inches tall & wide, and eventually makes a colony of offsets, which you may separate.  It has attractive, rubbery leaves that are glossy, looking somewhat like an Iris plant.  The base of the leaves often have curious yellow coloration that resembles a nutrient deficiency, although it doesn't seem to affect the plant's growth.  Unlike its cousin, Xeronema callistemon, it doesn't wait until it's root-bound to flower, so it tends to bloom sooner, at about 5-6 years old.  It flowers mostly in the spring, with an upright stem from 1 to 2 feet tall.  The flowering portion is about 4-5 inches long and is bright red and tipped with orange pollen to attract pollinators.

Xeronema moorei

Like its cousin, it comes from a cooler climate.  It is untested in hot conditions, but i suspect it won't thrive if temperatures are consistently above the low 80s (28C) with nights above 65F (18C).  It might be able to tolerate warmer days if nights are cool.  It can probably survive a light, brief frost, but i recommend keeping it from freezing.  It enjoys mostly-sunny conditions.  It might need some protection from strong afternoon sun in warmer climates.  It grows well in a 1 gallon pot in a fast-draining, coarse mix.  A typical mix is 1 part potting soil to 1 part pumice or perlite.  Keep the soil evenly moist, and fertilize moderately.  In the right conditions, it is easy to grow.

Xeronema moorei

Some photos used with permission of Martin Grantham

 

Seeds are difficult to germinate, so i offer established plants.

 

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Turquoise Puya

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