I mostly grow bananas and aroids, but am thinking of branching out to grow puya. I'm fascinated by the versions which produce metallic blue like flowers. Has anyone here managed grow them?
Yes. Puya berteroniana and venusta. But they haven't flowered yet--they are only seedlings and take many years to spike. They are fairly low maintanence and cold tolerant.
I am growing puya alpestris, berteroniana and a unknown hybrid which started growing at a friend's house - could be anything, but is a puya and is not quite the same as alpestris or berteroniana.
How many years before they reach flowering size?
How hardy are they?
If grown from seed, mine were reluctant to put down roots for ages. They grew healthy leaves, but floated round the pot whenever watered. Eventually they put down roots and anchored themselves. Has anyone else noticed this?
I know a good friend in Chile, Juan, he had posted wonderful photos
of blooming P. berteroniana in its habitat at a succulent forum,
that you should take a look.
Here is a link that might be useful: Puya berteroniana
Wow! and I love some of the other plants there too!
I obtained some seeds for Puya Alpestris and Puya Berteroniana and well ... got a few to sprout, but they died.
A couple things you should learn from my experience ... 1) Puya seeds are very small and if you decide to germ them, start indoors using a flat thin medium, even consider using paper towels. Let the roots get started and then transplant them into something soft and more nutrient packed. 2) Be careful watering. Seeds are so small that a rain drop can wash them away, even the sprouts are incredibly tiny and not well rooted at first. 3) Keep them out of very hot temperatures - another reason to germ them indoors at first.
I bought a few Puya Alpestris plants in 1/2 Gallon containers. They are doing well in direct sun, planted in a sandy soil medium raised above ground level to keep the soil well drained. I don't expect them to flower any time soon as Puya need time to mature, but you may find that you can cut that time down by using hormone stimulants.