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Products > Puya laxa
Puya laxa - Hay Stack Puya
Image of Puya laxa
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Bromeliaceae (Bromeliads)
Origin: Argentina (South America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Dark Blue
Bloomtime: Spring
Height: 1-2 feet
Width: 1-2 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 15-20 F
Puya laxa (Hay Stack Puya) - A tough and attractive evergreen terrestrial bromeliad that forms 12 to 18 inch tall clumps that spread 3 to 4 feet or more bearing wispy stems that hold 1 foot wide open rosettes of twisting spiny margined leaves densely clothed in fine silver hairs and margined with tiny recurved teeth. The 3-foot-tall red stemmed inflorescence, holds loosely spaced thin tubular flowers that have a red-violet exterior and are dark blackish purple on the interior - flowers are unusual but not outstanding showy.

Plant in full sun to light shade in a well-drained soil. Extremely drought and frost tolerant - tolerated our Christmas 1990 frost at 18F without damage. The form we are growing came from a Santa Barbara succulent collector and is more robust with larger leaves than other Puya laxa generally seen in cultivation, including the one we previously grew (1991-1997). It makes a nice drought tolerant groundcover that is resistant to deer predation and attractive to hummingbirds. Though it looks soft to the touch, use caution and gloves as its looks are deceiving with irritating tiny sharp recurved spines that will grab unwary hands.

Though Warner Rauh in Bromelien the landmark 1970 treaty on Bromeliads listed this Lyman Smith described species as coming from Argentina, later writings about it note the plant Lyman described in 1958 actually came from near Pulquina in Santa Cruz, Bolivia (Phytologia 6, 1958). The name for the genus come from the Chilean name used for the species Puya chilensis and the specific epithet is from the Latin word 'laxus' meaning "loose", "slack" or "relaxed" in reference to the open rosettes of reflexed leaves. 

This information about Puya laxa displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.