Puya mirabilis is a terrestrial bromeliad native to Argentina and Bolivia. In nature these plant will reach around 6 feet tall, but in containers their size is reduced to about 2 feet tall (60 cm). The grass-like foliage grows from basal rosettes and has many spines along the margins. The spines are not sharp or stiff as in some bromeliads. They will form large clumps if planted in the landscape. They produce offsets freely and clumps can reach up to 8-10 feet (2.4-3 m) wide. Plants are interesting in that they don't resemble most bromeliads. They are easy to culture and are hardy in USDA zones 9-11.
Blooming: Flowers are produced on 2 foot (60 cm) tall stalks. The chartreuse flowers will reach 4 inches (10 cm) long. Plants produce seed freely and there are always plenty to share.
Culture: Puya mirabilis does best in full sun to light shade with a well drained soil mix. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix consisting of equal parts of loam and sand. During the growing season, they have average water needs and we fertilize them once during this period with a balanced fertilizer. They are moderate growers and should be re-potted every other year for good growth. During the winter months in the greenhouse, we restrict watering to every other week. When new growth starts in the spring, we divide and repot these plants.
Propagation: Puya mirabilis is propagated by division of offsets and from seed. Fresh seed germinates in as little as 14 days from sowing.
Puya mirabilisa was featured as Plant of the Week October 17-23, 2008.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.