Paramongaia is a genus in the Amaryllidaceae family with two species from the hot dry west facing mountains of Peru and Bolivia. Plants have long erect obtuse grey glaucous leaves and flowers are like giant daffodils, a deep buttery yellow, and are produced with the leaves fully developed. Plants appreciate hot, sunny conditions and very rocky/gritty soil. Bulbs need to be planted deeply.
Paramongaia superba Ravenna is native to Bolivia. It is a winter dormant plant. The taxonomic status of this species is still somewhat uncertain with some believing it is just a larger variant of the other species. It is however accepted by The Plant List.
Paramongaia weberbaueri Velarde is native to Peru in coastal vegetation and on steep rocky (granite) hillsides on the lower slopes of the Andes. Plants are deciduous without a pseudostem, unlike their closest relative Pamianthe. Bulbs are set deep in the ground. Seeds are flattened and not fleshy. There are two forms of this species. The summer growing form comes from the Andes ~10,000ft (~3000m). The growth cycle for this form starts in late winter/early spring when rain occurs and the dry dormancy period starts in the latter half of summer. The winter growing form comes from the coast with winter rainfall but is bone-dry during summer. The dry summer dormancy period lasts 8-12 weeks.
Cultivation of this species is not difficult but different forms will need different requirements. Plants need a well draining mix (suggested 2:1:2 of loam, peat/leaf mould, and gritty sand) and full sun. A deep pot is recommended. While in growth, feed the plants with a potash (Potassium) rich fertilizer. Plants are susceptible to mealy bugs and Narcissus bulb flies. Propagation of plants is through division of offsets and seeds (two different clones are needed for seed production). Plants grown from seeds usually take 4 years to mature. Seeds are reported to remain viable for several years in the fridge.
This is an amazing flower with a very pleasant scent. First flowering for me. These grow outside all winter for me in southern California. Photos were taken in January 2004 by Lee Poulsen. The first image is of the bud before it opened. The citrus in the second image is to get a sense of the size of the flower (it's a mandarin orange my neighbor just picked off his tree).
Lee's pictures are very good, but I could not resist adding just one more. As above, the flowers are very large and the fragrance is like an "Easter Lily." January seems to be the month for them to bloom here in southern California. Photos by Doug Westfall.