Chad Cox

Sun, 25 Dec 2016 15:52:42 PST
I didn't say that Puya were 'nice'; I got torn to shreds when I fell into a
big one. Another small species that blooms in a few years is P. mirabilis.

On Sun, Dec 25, 2016 at 12:54 PM, Jane McGary <>

> Nice to see PBS posts arriving again; the list host cut me off for a
> couple of weeks.
> I've grown a couple of Puya species (and flowered one of them, as I recall
> in about 8 years) and have admired a number of others in South America. I
> don't grow them any more because (1) they are not hardy outdoors here in
> Portland, Oregon; (2) if grown in a container, it would eventually have to
> be far larger than I could move (in particular, P. raimondii gets
> gigantic); and (3) they have vicious hooked barbs on the leaf margins and
> you don't want to get too close to them. When I moved my potted ones
> outdoors for the summer, I had to wrap a tarp around the plant to avoid the
> fishhooks.
> The UC Berkeley Botanical Garden suffers frost rarely, and then it usually
> isn't severe (barring what happened in 1990/1991, when plants all over the
> Pacific Coast froze to death).  More important, you can't translate
> elevations in the Andes directly to North American USDA "hardiness zones."
> At more temperate latitudes, the plants are likely to spend their winters
> snug under the snow, and as you get nearer the Equator, temperatures even
> at what seems (especially to a resident of the Atlantic coast) as very high
> elevation are relatively moderate, perhaps freezing at night and thawing in
> the daytime.
> So my opinion is, don't try them outdoors in Boston! And if you want one
> in your greenhouse, look for a smaller species, such as P. venusta (which
> has beautiful glaucous foliage and purple flowers). In my experience the
> seeds germinate readily.
> Jane McGary
> Portland, Oregon, USA
> On 12/25/2016 8:19 AM, Paul LICHT wrote:
>> Chad
>> The UC Botancal Garden in Berkeley has a large collection of Puya species,
>> alll growing outside for several decades. They bloom regularly. The most
>> unusual and largest is Puya raimondii from Peru/Bolivia. Said to bloom
>> only
>> after 75-100 yrs in nature, several years ago, we had a bloom in a 26 yr
>> old (planted as seed in the Garden). Many Puya come from mountainous
>> areas.
>> The P. raimondii typically occurs from 10-14,000 ft in the Andes and might
>> well live n Mass.
>> Paul
>> On Sun, Dec 25, 2016 at 4:49 AM, Jane Sargent <> wrote:
>> You grow puya! I saw some in Venezuela once. Rumor has it that they have a
>>> tendency to autocombust, and that some kinds take 150 years to flower.
>>> Some
>>> have turquoise flowers. Does anybody know what zones they will live in?
>>> I´d
>>> love to grow them in Massachusetts for the next 150 years or so.
>>> Jane Sargent
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