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Turquoise Puya

Paramongaia weberbaueri

Paramongaia weberbaueri - the "Giant Peruvian Daffodil" - is a beautiful and rarely-seen bulb in the Amaryllis family.  Its giant 6-7 inch Daffodil-like blooms are highly fragrant, with a scent as strong as Lilies!  This Peruvian native is rare in the wild, and equally rare in cultivation.  It is rarely seen for sale.

Paramongaia weberbaueri

Paramongaia grows throughout winter and spring, and the bulb goes dormant during summer, although a winter-dormant form also exists, which grows throughout summer.  The plant has upright, strap-like leaves about 20 to 30 inches long.  While the leaves are emerging, it sends up a 1 to 2 foot tall scape topped with a single hand-sized flower.  The entire bloom is lemon-yellow, except for vivid green stamen filaments and orange anthers.  The scent is very pleasant.

Paramongaia weberbaueri

Paramongaia comes from Paramonga in Peru, where the climate is mild all year.  During the winter and spring growing period, it prefers temperatures between 50 and 75 degrees F (10-24C).  It's possible that it won't thrive if temperatures are regularly above that, especially if nights are warm.  Fortunately it goes dormant during the summer.  It may be induced into dormancy for up to 6 months if necessary simply by withholding water.

It prefers mostly sunny conditions during winter & spring.  Give it a fast-draining soil mix, such as 1 part pumice rock, 2 parts coarse sand, and 1 part potting soil.  Grow it in a tall pot, since the bulb tends to dig itself deep to stay cool.  It wants regular water and feeding during the growing season.  While dormant, keep the soil completely dry.  Protection from frost is essential.

Photos used with permission of Michael Loh

 

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