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Turquoise Puya

Hechtia texensis

Hechtia texensis is a rare Bromeliad that screams for attention!  This spectacular Pineapple relative comes from the Chihuahuan Desert of northern Mexico and the southwestern tip of Texas.  Its glossy, scarlet & green leaves contrast boldly with its white thorns.  This plant really captures the energy of the desert!  It happens to be easy to grow, and is reported to have some cold hardiness.  The genuine species is rarely seen for sale.

Hechtia texensis

Photo courtesy of Stan Shebs 

Hechtia texensis is found in rocky soil, and grows to about 18 inches across.  As the plant nears maturity, it develops its vivid, red markings, particularly along the leaf margins.  The colors seem to get the most intense in climates that do not get extremely hot.  It's normal for the leaf tips to turn brown or grey, which you may trim away if you wish - or leave them on for a rustic look.  The plant flowers in Spring with a 2-foot stalk of modest, white flowers.  A plant is either male or female.  Over time, it makes a cluster of pups, which may be separated - carefully, since the leaves are spiny!

Hechtia scariosa

Hechtia scariosa

Hechtia texensis is easy to grow when treated like a cactus.  It handles a wide range of temperatures and humidity, and reportedly can handle down to 15-20 degrees F (-9 to -7C).  It grows well for me in a pot in a fast-draining, rocky soil mix.  While it thrives in dry, lean soil, i recommend giving it adequate water and fertilizer the first 2 or 3 years, so it grows quickly to full size.  It can handle frequent watering if it's grown in quick-draining soil.  Grow it in full sun or partial shade.  Overall, this is a very low-maintenance plant.

Hechtia texensis

 

Unfortunately, fake seeds of it have been offered, especially from China.  I guarantee that mine is the true species!

Check availability

 

Germination tips for this plant

 

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