Puya dyckioides, the Pink Puya, is native to Bolivia and northwest Argentina, where it grows at high altitude in the Andes to elevations of 3000m. A large puya, it is also one of the more hardy species and can withstand temperatures down to at least -6 C and with extra shelter and further protection it will survive even lower temperatures. For a Puya, this is really about as good as it gets. In general, Puyas can not be considered fully hardy in every part of the UK - however, many locations are more favourable for their growth if extra care and thought is given to their cultivation and aspect. Coastal locations that benefit from frost-preventing air movements are ideal. Urban gardens that benefit from the warm city microclimate are perfect. A sheltered aspect against a south-facing brick or masonary wall will also be beneficial. Puyas enjoy high levels of sun and light so it is not generally possible to use plants to overhang them for extra protection but planted in the shelter of large yuccas, tall cordylines or large established high-canopied trees will greatly increase their ability to pull through the British winter. It should be grown in a terracotta container for at least the first two years, gradually increasing its toughness and exposing it more and more to colder harsher conditions.
Rarely seen - even in Botanic Gardens - Puya dyckioides is not often offered commercially but we have a limited number available now. It is relatively easy to grow, benefiting from good drainage and full sun and if care is taken when establishing it outdoors - after gradually increasing its hardiness - it will develop into a show-stopping feature.
It has elegant rosettes of long arching toothed leaves, shiny green when young but becoming more greyish-green as it matures and often tinting pinkish-red in the sun. In time it produces offsets and large clumps. Relatively fast growing - once planted out in a warm sheltered spot - Puya dyckioides will form a wide colony to about 5-6 feet in as many years. When it flowers for you, be prepared to be amazed. It forms a tall inflorescence to about 1.3m with panicles of pink fleshy buds that gradually open out to long flowers with pink and white layers of tepals and ending in an extended tubular blue flower with bright orange anthers. Absolutely stunning exotica !
|Geographical Origin||In the foothills of the Andes in Bolivia and northwestern Argentina to elevations of 3000m|
|Cultivation||Full sun. Good drainage. Sheltered warm aspect|
|Hardiness||One of the hardiest Puyas, it will withstand temperatures down to at least -6C and with clever planting - and horticultural fleece if necessary - should be hardy in a wide range of locations|
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