Puya report!

For all five of you that might have paid attention to my posts on the genus Puya (which does in fact rhyme with booyah…thank you my west-coastie friends):

Here’s the update that you’ve been waiting for!

Puya is a horrifically spiny, painful, and hateful genus in the Bromeliad family. Native to the Andes, the fish-hook-like spines snare passing mammals; the rotting flesh provides nutrients to the exceptionally lean soil of the arid steppes on which it sort of grows/becomes grumpier.

Puya flowers once an eon, in a spectacular [but ill-earned] display that turned me to mush, based on a photo in an Annie’s Annuals catalog (see my “eternal gardening optimist” post). Autumn of 2012, I ordered and received one healthy Puya berteroniana in a 4” pot. Heckling commenced.  Overwinters in a 40 F greenhouse, where it was watered once or twice. Summers have been spent on our deck. Osmocote has hopefully provided required nutrients. Expected to kill her within months, as it is SO VERY not native to the verdant and humid Blue Ridge mountains of Southwest Virginia.

Happy and amazed to say Pootie [what was I going to name her? Bert??] is in her 3rd year – continuing to grow, and, AND, captured her very first mammal!


Okay… so it’s a fluffy stuffed possum, and the dogs dropped it from the deck above. But snagged! You know Pootie got a thrill…

5 thoughts on “Puya report!”

  1. We saw these blooming last May at the Ruth Bancroft Gardens in Walnut Grove, California. The flowers are unbelievable. They are not just turquoise, they are METALLIC turquoise! They looked surreal. No mammals caught in the spines but I did notice, far back in the clump, an old shoe that would have fit a small child.

    1. Joy! The flowers do sound spectacular – have never seen them in person, of course – just photos. Maybe the shoe did it? Or…O_o

  2. Ha! The plants we think will never survive…… Pootie might outlive you! Happy to note that dangerous stuffed possum has been stopped in its tracks, whew.

    1. So true – that’s what makes gardening an adventure! Possum now back in the toy basket. Squeaker intact. I do fear for the other 42 squirrels, chipmunks, and tennis balls.

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