Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Chilean Puya
Puya chilensis

Family: Bromeliaceae (bro-mee-lee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Puya (POO-yuh) (Info)
Species: chilensis (chil-ee-EN-sis) (Info)

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

2 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

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4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:
Chartreuse (Yellow-Green)

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring


Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

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2 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive paani On Sep 7, 2009, paani from Saint Louis, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:

"...another titanic blossom is being born. No one outside my country will know it; it only grows on these Antarctic shores. it is called chahual (Puya chilensis). This ancestral plant was worshipped by the Araucanians. The ancient Arauco no longer exists. Blood, death, time, and later the epic songs of Alonso de Ercilla, closed the ancient history of a tribe made of clay, rudely awakened from a geological dream to defend its invaded country. When I see its flowers come up again, over centuries of obscure dead, over layers of bloodstained forgetfulness, I believe that the earth's past blooms in spite of what we are, in spite of what we have become. Only the earth goes on being, preserving its own nature.
"But I forgot to describe this flower.
"It's a Bromeliacea with sharp, saw-toothed leaves. It erupts by the roadsides like green fire, arraying its panoply of mysterious emerald swords. And suddenly one colossal flower, a cluster, is born at its waist, an immense green rose as tall as a man. This sole flower, made up of tinier flowers that assemble into a single green cathedral crowned with gold pollen, gleams in the light from the sea. It is the only green flower of its huge size I have ever seen, a solitary monument to the waves."
Pablo Neruda, Memoirs, p. 301.

Positive palmbob On Mar 31, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I never understood why someone might want to grow this vicious plant- huge rosettes of relatively uninteresting incredibly spiny suckering into an impenetable thicket... until I saw the flowers this March- incredible!! THe flower stalks are up to 8' tall, and have huge, complex chartreuse (and I mean shocking chartreuse!) flowers.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Carmichael, California
Sacramento, California
San Leandro, California
San Marino, California
Bayamon, Puerto Rico

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