Great information Geoff! Am a bromeliad fan, but haven't had the pleasure of meeting a Puya yet! Am loving the turquoise flowers! Apparently they take some time to bloom?
Thanks for the informative and pictorial article.
Thanks, Bob for writing about one of my obsessions. There is an incredible hillside of Puya Alpestris at the San Francisco Botanical Garden,
which is what got me totally hung up on those turquoise flowers. I'm growing Puya Bertoniana in Nevada City where it is very happy and bloomed this summer. Annie's Annuals in Richmond, CA. has Alpestris and Venusta available by mail.
I have a blue puya, which flowered two years ago, after a seven year wait. It was the most spectacular flower 6-7ft high, and made all those years weeding around it worthwhile (very dangerous!). Every summer now I wait in vain for it to flower again, and I would be interested to know if there is a pattern, as I watched a National Geo programme where they said they only flower in the Andes once every 30 years!!!!
They flower yearly at the Huntington... but I think each rosette is monocarpic (one flowering attempt and that's it)... one reason why they have many square yards of plants, so at least a few will flower each year.