Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Puya coerulea, my favorite plant in the garden; this week…

Last weekend Andrew helped me perform a bit of a container shuffle. Plants in the shade pavilion greenhouse, which are only hardy to the mid 20’s, went into the basement - just in case. They would’ve probably been fine, as long as the heater could keep up, but since there were others that really needed to come in (those that are zone 8 hardy in the ground, but not necessarily in a container) I figured it was a good trade off. After we finished we took a little tour around the garden and paid our respects (said our goodbyes?) to plants I fear may not make it through the week. Of course I will try to protect them, but experience says, depending on just how cold we get, there are going to be a few losses. One of the plants I was sure to be grateful for was this Puya coerulea

He’s already been a survivor, outlasting his siblings who died their first winter in the ground, 2010. Coincidentally that’s the year being referenced as the last time we saw temperatures comparable to what’s ahead, unless they go and get really ugly and bring up 2009. Photo taken shortly after planting in 2010…

I bought the triplets at Dancing Oaks Nursery; they were trying to get rid of them and had marked the plants down to just $3.50 each! How could I not grab all three?

Here are the triplets later that summer…

And the surviving plant in April of 2011…

September 2011, having come a long way since early spring!

February 2012…

And now things are starting to look a little more familiar, the poor guy isn’t so lonely out there anymore. Photo taken May of 2012…

Here are the stats on Puya coerulea:
  • in the Bromeliad family, from Chile
  • likes full sun and well drained soil
  • hardy to 20-25F
  • width eventually to 3ft (I read it does tend to spread and form multi-headed plants in nature)
  • height with bloom up to 6ft

It’s been wonderful having you around Mr. Puya, I hope you are able to stay awhile longer. I really like having you here...

What plant has caught your eye this week? If you blog about it please leave a link in the comments so we can all read about it!

All material © 2009-2013 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

26 comments:

  1. Fingers crossed and sending warming thoughts to your root zone Mr. Puya!

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    1. Maybe that grevillea all around will help protect him?

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  2. Interestingly, I noticed right off that the tag was from Dancing Oaks. Funny how we remember things.

    Are you going to put a bucket over Mr. Puya? I think he deserves it. But then, so do all his neighbors. Maybe if things stay dry they'll be okay. I imagine the cold is worse on them when they're wet. Fingers crossed.

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    1. Grace I have to admit right now Mr Puya is toughing it out. There are too many plants to protect (and who's fault is that, right?).

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  3. Beautiful!!!! I love the name puya too!! Yours is inspirational. No puyas in my garden - yet. This was the first year planting a dyckia and I'm hoping the weather is kinder than the forecasts are saying. It's still the decade of summer! I'm holding to it and wishing you some clouds to settle over Portland overnight to raise the nighttime temperatures a little bit. Either that or some sort of crazy space heater blasting heat over Cascadia.

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    1. I'll take that crazy space heater blasting heat over Cascadia! I realize now I've actually got 3 other Puyas in the ground too...augh!

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  4. I hope Mr. Puya makes it through your plummeting temperatures! I think you'll approve my contribution this week: http://krispgarden.blogspot.com/2013/12/my-favorite-plant-this-week-grevillea.html

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    1. Me spies a grevillea in that link....

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  5. fifi lafontaineDecember 04, 2013

    Oh man, what a sad farewell! I will cross my fingers that a bubble of warmer air created by a favorable micro climate settles over your yard.

    My favorite this week is boring because it's my agave, jr, the descendant of the grand Sacramento Street King agave. I should drive by that big one and see if they've pitched a giant protective tent over him...

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    1. That is so NOT boring Fifi! You've got a bit of Portland agave magic right there. Please do let me know what you see if you drive by.

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  6. What's the ground-cover-ish plant between all the lovely cacti and agaves? It looks like asparagus fern, but I wouldn't think that'd be one of your picks.

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    1. Grevillea juniperina 'Molonglo'...LOVE that plant. Hope it makes it too...

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  7. I brought my Puya in - I was too afraid to plant it outside.

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  8. Survival of the fittest, it has proven itself already as the toughest of the lot. Cross fingers it will sail through winter fine again. Btw, I do like the little irony of the sign saying 'hardy bromeliad' and then 'provide winter protection' :)

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    1. Seriously right!? I noticed that too.

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  9. What, you don't dig up plants and move them into a more protected area for the winter? I never thought I would, but I did that this year. I have a few things sitting in the garage, potted up.

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    1. Funny you should ask. On Tuesday afternoon whilst covering and protecting things the shovel did come out, but only once. it was a particularly lovely Acacia cultiformis (knife edge acacia) which I knew would pop right out and into a container and be super easy to save.

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  10. I hope we don't have to say RIP to your puya, he's done so well lasting this long, and is very handsome. And how crazy has that grevillea gone?! Must be especially happy where it is.

    Here is my (I fear a bit underwhelming) favourite this week: http://crmbsgrdn.blogspot.com.au/2013/12/my-favourite-plant-in-garden-this-week_5.html

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    1. I realized yesterday I'd be willing to say good bye to him if the grevillea all around him made it. We shall see...

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  11. I have one in a container, snug under frost cloth. Of course frost cloth only adds a few degrees of protection. Even in Davis we're expecting record-breaking lows this weekend. UGH.

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    1. So I guess you're telling me when I threaten to move to California (said many times this week) I need to be specific about where I'm going? Okay, Santa Barbara here I come.

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  12. I love your Puya. It looks very similar to another Chilean plant that I grow called Fascicularia bicolor. This plant is very suitable for your danger garden as it rips you to pieces with its vicious hooky things if you try to divide it. Good luck with overwintering your Puya.
    Chloris

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    1. Oh I love that one! (the Fascicularia bicolor) I have one growing in a container, the one I planted in the ground didn't make it.

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  13. Your plants look so cute, I hope they make it. I can't believe the temperatures here this week. I'm so looking forward to the Winter Solstice and the days getting longer. My Favorite Plant Pick of the Week is Epiphyllum anguliger, Ric Rac Orchid Cactus-

    http://weedingonthewildside.blogspot.com/2013/12/blue-macro-mandarin-orange-monday.html

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    1. Love your fav Hannah and I'm with you on both the temps and the longer days. Can we skip January this year and go right to February? Or March?

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