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Turquoise Puya

Magic Flower

My camera has a hard time capturing the incredible colors of the Cantua 'Hot Pants' - also called "Magic Flower".  Its intense blooms look like a cross between a Fuchsia and a Brugmansia, but the plant isn't related to either of them.  The 4 inch long trumpet flowers unfurl gracefully, with their exquisite color combination of sunset orange and hot pink.  When lit from behind by the sun, they glow magically...   

Cantua 'Hot Pants' is an evergreen bush that grows 10 to 12 feet tall here in San Francisco.  It has slender, arching branches that look best if pruned each year.  It blooms the heaviest in Spring, with occasional blooms appearing in summer and autumn.  The plant comes from the Andes mountains, where temperatures are mild all year and nights are cool.  I don't know how it will fare in warm climates, but i suspect it might not thrive if temperatures regularly get above 85 F (28C) and nights are warm (above 65 F / 18C).  I don't think it can survive more than a light frost, so i recommend keeping it from freezing.  It prefers mostly sunny conditions.  Some afternoon shade might be needed in warmer climates.  Grow it in well-draining soil mix that's kept evenly moist (but not soggy).  Over about 40-45% humidity is best.

My understanding is that 'Hot Pants' is a special hybrid between Cantua buxifolia (shown below) and Cantua cuzcoensis.  'Hot Pants' is exceptionally beautiful, with much larger flowers than Cantua buxifolia, which lacks the orange color.  Cantua buxifolia is occasionally sold as 'Hot Pants'.  I guarantee that the plants i offer look like the ones shown above!

The original species above (Cantua buxifolia)

  

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Detailed growing tips about this plant

 

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Turquoise Puya

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