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Turquoise Puya

Passiflora bogotensis

This is a rare look at the lovely Passiflora bogotensis.  This interesting vine flowers year-round, with attractive blooms that start out looking like mushrooms!  The bat-shaped foliage is really cool, with a soft, velvety texture that almost feels like a cat's ear!  The plant originates from the mountains near Bogotá in Colombia, where it was thought to be extinct, until it was rediscovered recently.  It is rare both in the wild and in cultivation.  Freshly-picked seeds are rarely seen for sale.

Passiflora bogotensis

Passiflora bogotensis is a vigorous vine that can grow over 20 feet long, although you may prune it to any size that is convenient.  Its bi-lobed leaves are 4 inches long and turn somewhat firm with age.  They have a downy-soft texture.  The flowers appear in large numbers throughout much of the year.  The 1.5 inch blooms start out as burgundy, mushroom-shaped buds.  They open to reveal crisp white petals and a chartreuse ring of filaments, with burgundy pollen tubes suspended above them.  The blooms self-pollinate easily, forming attractive, grape-sized fruits.  I'm uncertain whether the fruit is edible (some Passifloras are toxic).  This species can probably cross-breed with some other Passifloras in the subgenus Decaloba to create new hybrids.

Passiflora bogotensis

There isn't much information on its climate preferences, but some other Passifloras from the same range resent temperatures above about 85 degrees F (29 degrees C), especially if nights are warm.  Consider it experimental in hot conditions.  It might need some shading from strong afternoon sun.  You may grow it indoors along a trellis or wires.  Like most Passifloras, it prefers moist, well-draining soil, regular feeding, and some humidity.  I can only survive a light frost, so it's best to protect it from freezing temperatures.

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Germinating the seeds

 

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Turquoise Puya

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