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Turquoise Puya

Geissorhiza radians

Eye candy!!  Geissorhiza radians, known as "Wine Cup", is a delightful rare gem from South Africa.  What the inch-wide flowers lack in size, they make up for in their dazzling color pattern of indigo-blue and ruby red, separated with a white line.  These unusual blooms seem designed as a target to help pollinators aim straight toward the center!   This Iris relative is uncommon in cultivation, and fresh seeds are rarely seen for sale.

Geissorhiza radians

The bulb is related to Freesias and Ixia.  It grows during the winter months and goes dormant for the summer.  It is a small plant with grasslike leaves that get about 6 inches tall.  In late winter or early spring, the vivid blooms burst forth, several to a stem.  They look great when grown close together in large numbers - but even a single plant is an eye-opener!

Geissorhiza radians

It comes from a climate that has mild temperatures during the winter growing season.  From late autumn through mid-spring, it prefers temperatures between 40 and 80F  (4-27 C).  I don't know if it will thrive outside that temperature range, especially if nights are warm (above 65F / 18C).  Protection from frost is essential.  During the summer dormant period, it should be moved to a cool, dry spot.  The bulbs grow well in a small container in sandy soil (2 parts coarse sand to 1 part potting soil).  Keep the soil moist (but not soggy) while the plants are actively growing.  Full sun is preferred throughout winter, but in warmer climates, it might be good to give it some protection from strong afternoon sun.  In the right conditions, it's an easy and very enjoyable bulb.

Geissorhiza radians - the Wine Cup

Photos 1-3 courtesy of Wilferd Duckitt, photo 4 by Andreas Fleischmann

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Germinating the seeds

 

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Turquoise Puya

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