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Turquoise Puya

Clinanthus incarnatus (Stenomesson variegatum)

You probably won't find this gem in your local nurseries.  Clinanthus incarnatus is a stunning rare bulb from Peru related to Hippeastrum and Crinum.  Each summer it puts out big, bold blooms that are almost 4 inches long.  The trumpet-shaped blossoms are a vibrant shade of pinkish-red, and have a curious dark stripe at the tip of each petal.  This is a cool-climate species that might not flower in warm climates.  If you can provide the right conditions for it, it's an easy and very exciting bulb to grow.

Clinanthus incarnatus (Stenomesson variegatum)

Clinanthus (formerly Stenomesson) is a summer-growing bulb that usually goes dormant in winter.  It has long, strap-like leaves that grow to 2 feet long.  At some point between late spring and early autumn, the plant sends up a large, 2-foot flower spike, and 6 to 12 blooms spill out one at a time.  The flower color can appear more like salmon or coral, depending on the temperature and lighting.  This is a robust species with a very good presence in the garden.  Over time, the bulb makes numerous offsets, which you may separate.

Clinanthus variegatus / Stenomesson variegatum

It comes from high elevations in the Andes, where the climate is mild all year and nights are cool. It grows fine in warmer conditions though.  It grows well indoors in a 1 gallon (4 liter) pot.  During the summer growing season, give it mostly-sunny conditions.  Some afternoon shade might be needed in warmer climates.  Fast-draining soil is best, such as equal parts of potting soil and perlite or coarse sand.  Keep it evenly moist (but not constantly saturated).  When the plant nears flowering size, flowering can be encouraged by exposing it to temperatures below 55F (12C), but above freezing.

Clinanthus incarnatus / Stenomesson variegatum

 

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