Don’t you know? I only recently heard of puyas myself after receiving an email from Annie’s Annuals, an online plant vendor. Touted for their unearthly flowers in bizarre colors, I had to get some for myself. I ordered four different varieties and I couldn’t wait for them to arrive. When they did I unpacked them and was, well, underwhelmed a bit. They looked pretty unassuming, which I expected, but still. What you see above are the puyas in their new home as part of the Rancho’s pagan temple area (at least that’s what I’m calling it today). Let’s learn about puyas …
Puyas are originally from the Andes Mountain areas of South and southern Central America and they belong to the plant family called Bromeliaceae, which includes everything from air plants (tilandsias) to pineapples. The word puya derives from the Chilean Mapuche Indian word for ‘point’, probably because most varieties produce amazing flower stalks. And speaking of flowers, puyas produce blooms in hues I’ve only dreamed of: turquoise, black, lime green and blue. Puyas like dry, sunny weather and well-drained soil so I’m hoping they’ll do well here in Riverside. (I’m sort of hedging by planting my puyas in large pots and out of full-sun, in the hope they’ll not be shocked by their new location.)
My puyas are, from left to right: puya chilensis, venusta, berteroniana and laxa. Respectively, they should produce flower stalks with lime green, blue, turquoise and black blossoms, and from 3 to 10 feet tall (see above)! It may take a year or two for this to happen but I’m willing to wait. The payoff sounds too wild to miss. Check out Annie’s Annuals here — their prices are really great, they ship promptly and the plants arrive safely packed. And they still have puyas left, so you can take a walk on the wild side, too!