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Turquoise Puya

Clivia caulescens

The beautiful Clivia caulescens is a lesser-known cousin to the famous Clivia miniata.  This striking member of the Amaryllis family puts on a gorgeous show of flowers each summer, and occasionally other times of the year too.  The blooms are similar to the common salmon-orange Clivia, except they hang downward gracefully, and have contrasting green tips.  This species is unusual in that forms a very tall "trunk" that can sprout offshoots.  The plant is uncommon in cultivation, and fresh seeds are rarely seen for sale.

Clivia caulescens

Clivia caulescens is a long-lived species from subtropical South Africa.  It grows as an epiphyte on trees in the wild, as well as growing in soil, or on humus-covered rocks.  The species name "caulescens" refers to the tall stem from which the leaves emerge.  This unusual stalk can grow 2 or 3 feet tall, with new plantlets emerging along the length of it, which is quite strange for Clivia species.  Its leaves are more robust than the common Clivia and are held more upright, giving the plant somewhat of an appearance of a Bromeliad.

Clivia caulescens

The flowers before opening

Flowers tend to appear in the spring or summer, but they can appear again other times of the year, which is fairly unusual for Clivias.  The 1 foot tall flower stalk typically has 15 to 20 blooms, but there may occasionally be as many as 50!  It's also possible for a single plant to have a multiple flower stalks.  The flower color is a vivid red-salmon with green edges.  This species can flower as early as 4 years old.  You may be able to cross-breed it with other Clivia species, to create new and unique hybrids!

Clivia caulescens

Clivia caulescens has similar requirements to the common Clivia, and is equally easy to grow.  Ideal temperatures are below 85 degrees F (29C), with nights that are cool.  It may not thrive in areas that are consistently hot with warm nights.  It can survive a few degrees of frost, but the leaves will be damaged, so it's best to protect it from all frost.  It grows well indoors in a pot.  It likes loose, well-draining soil that's kept moist.  A typical mix would be 1 part fine orchid bark, 1 part compost, and 1 part coarse sand or perlite.  Or you may use equal parts of potting soil and perlite or orchid bark.  Bright shade or filtered sun is best.  Avoid strong sun exposure.  Over about 40% humidity is recommended.

Clivia caulescens

 

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Turquoise Puya

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