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Turquoise Puya

Phaedranassa affin. dubia

This Phaedranassa species is one of the most beautiful bulbs in my collection.  I originally got it as "Phaedranassa dubia", however it might be another species.  This striking Amaryllis relative has the unusual ability to flower multiple times per year.  Its vivid pink & green blossoms are quite different from typical bulbs.  I find it easy to grow when its basic needs are met.  Phaedranassa plants are rare in cultivation, and this one is hard to find.

Phaedranassa affin. dubia

Phaedranassa is a confusing genus, and and the species can be difficult to tell apart.  According to bulb expert Alan Meerow, Phaedranassa dubia has pink stamens, however my plant has white ones, which would make it Phaedranassa tunguraguae, an endangered Ecuadorian species.  In any case, the plant makes a baseball-sized bulb, and usually 2  glossy, thick leaves, each about 15 inches long.  The flower stalk rises high above the foliage and contains about 6 to 9 blooms.  The ribbed petals are deep pink with silvery-green ends, and are capped with a green ovary.  It's a bit different from my other species, Phaedranassa carmioli.

You can induce the plant to flower by withholding water for 2 months, which creates a mini-dormancy and usually makes it flower the following month.  You can therefore get 2 or possibly 3 flower shows per year!  Over time, the bulb makes numerous offsets, which you may separate.

Phaedranassa affin. dubia - "Queen Amaryllis"

Phaedranassa plants come from areas with mild temperatures and cool nights.  They have handled temperatures in the mid- to upper-80s (30C), but it's possible they will decline in hotter conditions, especially if nights are warm (above 65F / 18C).  In hot-summer areas, it may be wise to induce dormancy during the summer by letting the soil dry out and storing it in a cool spot until Autumn.  The plant tends to grow throughout winter and should be protected from frost during this time.

It likes a few hours of sun, although some afternoon shade is a good idea in warmer climates.  Mature plants grow well in a 2 gallon pot (8 liters) in well-draining soil.  A typical soil mix is equal parts of potting soil and perlite or coarse horticultural sand.  During periods of active growth, keep the soil evenly moist (but not constantly saturated).  Over about 40% humidity is best.

 

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