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Turquoise Puya

Telanthophora grandifolia

This is a rare look at an awesome lobed-leaf form of Telanthophora grandifolia.  The non-lobed form has been one of my more popular plants, with its gigantic leaves and palm tree-like shape.  The lobed version is very much the same except for its heavily lobed leaves that are super showy.  This unusual sunflower relative is a shrub or small tree from cloud forests in Nicaragua and neighboring southern Mexico.  I don't know anyone else offering it.

Telanthophora grandifolia

It's an evergreen species that grows at a moderate pace to 20+ feet tall, but it is easily kept 5 or 6 feet tall if you don't have space for a monster plant.  The leaves grow about 1 feet long, but potentially bigger on larger plants.  The stems of the new growth have cool "stubble", with big nubs that feel soft to the touch.  On the non-lobed form, the leaves are mostly clustered near the top of the shoots, while this form has more leaves down below.  It also has a longer blooming season, with flowers appearing in waves throughout the year here in San Francisco.  The big, golden-yellow flower clusters appear at the top of the shoots and are lightly fragrant.

Telanthophora grandifolia

Telanthophora grandifolia

It comes from forests on low volcanoes, where temperatures are mild all year.  I believe it can handle high heat, like in Florida, but i can't guarantee it.  I don't know if it has much frost tolerance.  My guess is it can survive down to the mid-20s (-3C), but it won't look pretty.  It's probably best to protect it from frost.  It enjoys filtered light or morning sun.  In hot conditions, it will likely want some afternoon shade to prevent wilting.  Give it well-draining soil, and keep it evenly moist.  Over about 40% humidity is best.  In the right conditions, it is easy to grow.

Telanthophora grandifolia

 

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