What’s the weirdest and most beautiful (bromeliad) of them all?
Certainly nature has created some very unusual plants and flowers. Perhaps my choice here is not the weirdest or the most beautiful of them all. But it might be a contender!
In the world of bromeliads it would be a hard contest to decide which flower is most breath-taking. Bromeliads grow in a rosette fashion can perch on tree limbs as epiphytes or show off on the ground as terrestrials. Many are tropical and a few will brave desert sun. This is a large genus that boasts the tasty pineapple as the only commercial member. There are many species that bloom with fantastically shaped bracts and flowers that look fashioned out of plastic in brilliant colors. Some have gaily colored or patterned leaves. Others can be covered with fine scales and look whitish or fuzzy. There are bromeliads that are only an inch big and a few that grow several feet in height. A lot of them will grow young plantlets (pups) out the side and create wide colonies.
The Puya is one drought-tolerant member of the bromeliad family that grows on the ground and puts up with hot sun and dry, hungry soil. One of the Puyas blooms with what could arguably be considered the weirdest and most beautiful flower of them. This is the Puya alpestris that is native to the high Andes mountains in Chile. It has a larger cousin that looks very similar, the Puya berteroniana or the Blue Puya.
Both these plants bloom with a spire of thick, wax-like blue or turquoise blooms with a metalic sheen. They are as bizarre as they are beautiful with a form, texture and coloring not often seen in the plant world.
These plants are available from some garden centers and on the Internet, but you’ll probably have to search a little for them. Give the Puya alpestris conditions like it’s mountainous home with full sun, lean and very well-drained soil and low water. This is one plant that is bound to be a conversation piece in the garden when in bloom.
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