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Turquoise Puya

Geissorhiza radians

Eye candy!!  Geissorhiza radians, known as the "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 flowering-size bulbs are very hard to find.

Geissorhiza radians

The Wine Cup 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 growth 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 - the Wine Cup

Geissorhiza radians comes from a climate that has mild temperatures during the winter growing season.  From late autumn through mid-spring, it prefers temperatures between 45 and 75F  (7-23 C).  I don't know if it will thrive outside that temperature range, especially if nights are warm.  Protection from frost is essential.  During the summer dormant period, it should be kept relatively dry and cool.  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 in active growth.  Full sun is preferred, but some protection from strong afternoon sun may be needed in warmer areas.  In the right conditions, it's an easy and very enjoyable bulb.

Geissorhiza radians

Photos 1 & 4 by Andreas Fleischmann, photos 2 & 4 by Denis Barthel

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Turquoise Puya

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