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Turquoise Puya

  

This is a close look at the rare Worsleya procera - the fabled "Blue Amaryllis".  Rarely seen for sale, this incredible Amaryllis relative is endangered in its homeland of Brazil, where it grows hanging from remote cliffs near waterfalls.  This is a challenging plant to grow, but if you can provide the right conditions, it is a treasure.

 Worsleya procera (also called Hippeastrum procerum or Worsleya rayneri) is an evergreen, bulbous plant that grows 2 to 3 feet tall, but occasionally to 5 feet.  It has unusual, arching leaves that resemble a rooster's tail.  Worsleya flowers in the summer, and its stalks can have 8 or more blooms, each about 6 inches wide.  The flowers are a breathtaking lilac-blue fading to white in the center.

 

Worsleya comes from a part of Brazil with moderate temperatures and cooler nights, similar to San Diego's climate.  There are reports that it is difficult to grow in temperatures above 90 degrees F (32C), especially if nights are warm.  It can tolerate a light frost, but i recommend keeping it above 35 degrees F (2C).  It may be grown indoors in a sunny spot.

Worsleya - Blue Hippeastrum

The key to growing Worsleya successfully is to provide the right growing medium.  It needs very fast drainage, to simulate the rocky slopes of it's habitat.  It should not be grown in soil.  Good mediums are lava rock, pumice, or other porous rock, about 7-10 mm in size.  For moisture retention, a small amount of coconut husks, peat, or fine orchid bark may be added.  Worsleya needs frequent watering - about once per day.  It likes mostly-sunny conditions.  Some afternoon shade might be needed in warmer areas.

Worsleya - Blue Amaryllis

 

Photos by Dale Guthrie, Tony Palmer and Glen Callcott

 

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Turquoise Puya

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