Photo by D. Hinkley taken at UC Berkeley Botanic Gdn, CA
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Item #: 9122
Zones: 7b to 9b
Height: 18" tall
Puya chilensis, which hails from the dry deserts of Chile at elevations up to 3,000', is one of the few species of spiny bromeliads to survive long term (since 2005) in our garden. The 3' wide spiny rosettes...and I really mean spiny, may take up to two decades to flower, but like all good things it's worth the wait. The 6' tall flower spikes resemble otherworldly, oversized, lime green medieval mace clubs. In areas where it is happy, Puya chilensis will slowly form a large colony; but here, where we burn back the foliage below 10 degrees F, it will probably never get that large. A south or west sloped exposure where it gets sun during the day and stays dry in the winter, is the key to success. Don't plant outdoors after August from Zone 8 north.