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Turquoise Puya

Leandra subseriata

This one is rarely seen outside of a few botanical gardens.  Leandra subseriata is an attractive bush from the mountain cloud forests of Central and South America.  While its flowers are certainly pretty, i like it for its colorful berries and very handsome foliage.  The plant comes from a cool climate and is untested in hot conditions, since it is new to cultivation.  Freshly picked seeds might not be available elsewhere online.

Leandra subseriata

The bush can get quite large, growing 12 feet tall here in San Francisco, although it may be pruned to any size that is desired.  Like most members of the Melastome family, its leaves have distinctive, lengthwise veins.  These ribbed leaves grow 6 to 8 inches long and have somewhat of an oily sheen.  Blooms appear in waves during the year, mostly in spring and autumn.  The small white & yellow flowers grow along racemes, and are followed by red fruit that turns blue when ripe.  The small berries are edible and have a mild flavor.

Leandra subseriata

Although Leandra lives in the tropics, it grows in mountainous areas that are milder than the lowlands, with nights that are cool.  I don't know how much heat it can take, but some similar cloud forest plants prefer temperatures below 85 degrees F (29 C), with nights below 65 degrees F (18 C).  Consider it experimental in hot climates.  It probably can only survive a light frost, so it's best to protect it from freezing temperatures.  Like most cloud forest plants, it prefers part-sunlight, with some protection from strong afternoon sun.  It grows well in a pot, in a well-draining, fertile soil that is kept moist.  Over about 40% is recommended.  In the right conditions, it is an easy and vigorous bush.

Leandra subseriata

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Germinating the seeds

 

 

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Turquoise Puya

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