Watching flowers in their full-bloom is every Anthophile’s dream. Most species of flowers can bloom within days or months. However, there are rare species of garden flowers that can only bloom once every few years and some, even decades. Though most of these slow-growing flowers require a lot of patience, they are a sight to behold once they are in-bloom.
Here is a list of eleven such garden flowers that take quite a long time to bloom:
1. Madagascar Palm aka Pachypodium:
– The Madagascar Palm is not a palm tree but is actually a succulent. The reason this plant is called the Madagascar Palm is due to the leaves growing around its crown. Native to the Madagascar island, this is a slow growing plant that may take up to ten years to bloom. The thick stems of the plant store water to provide strength to the plant and it mostly grows in warm temperatures. The flowers on Pachypodium bloom after the plant reaches its maturity. They often need direct sunlight, however, they are quite low-maintenance. Belonging to the plant family of ‘Apocynaceae’, they conduct the process of photosynthesis through their stem. It is also popularly known as ‘Pachy’ and ‘Ghost-men plant’.
2. Giant Himalayan Lily aka Cardiocrinum Giganteum:
– When the Cardiocrinums seeds are planted, they may take up to seven years to fully bloom. These garden flowers are a part of the Liliaceae family. The Giant Himalayan Lily can grow as tall as eleven to fourteen feet in height. In order for the giant lily to grow well, they require adequate shade as well as enough sunlight. Additionally, the main plant usually dies after blooming, and they require much time and care to bloom well. Not too many gardeners are successful in growing this plant which is why it is important to plant the seeds in well-drained and fertile soil. Experts often recommended replanting the bulbs after the plant dies. Though they are slow to grow, they can make a great addition to anyone’s garden.
3. Talipot Palm aka Corypha Umbraculifera:
– Talipot Palm or the Tad-patri only flowers once, though it may live up to 80 years. This gigantic palm is Sri Lanka’s national tree and is also found commonly in the Western Ghats. Considered as one of the tallest palms, the talipot can grow up to twenty-five meters in height and require specific growing conditions. The Corypha Umbraculifera cannot be grown in all types of forests, and they also require protection from certain animals that could harm the plant’s growth. In the full bloom, this tree births golden flowers, which can diffuse a pungent smell. In ancient times, the leaves of this plant were used for the creation of leaf manuscripts. The sap collected from the plant is used to produce wine.
4. Melocanna Baccifera:
– This garden flower, that blooms once in every forty-fifty years, is often found in East Asia. Commonly known as ‘Berry Bamboo’ or ‘Muli Bamboo’, it bears the largest fruits within the bamboo family. However, the plant dies after blooming. It can grow up to ten to twenty meters in height. When the bamboo plant flowers, it attracts rodents, which can be troublesome for the locals residing near the plantation. However, the fruits of this plant are often consumed by the locals since they are known to have medicinal properties. In Bangladesh, natives use the bamboo to build houses, create utensils and even liquor. This plant is responsible for the occurrence of ‘bamboo death’. The bamboo death happens with flowers dying, succeeded by a rat plague, which can then cause a famine.
5. Agave Americana:
– Often referred to as the American Century Plant, this is another slow-flowering garden flower that belongs to the ‘Agavaceae’ family. This extraordinary agave does not grow well in cold temperatures though it can survive the heat and a little dry atmosphere. Found native in some parts of Mexico and Southern America, it requires approximately ten years to fully bloom. It can also be grown across the globe if the climatic conditions are met. However, its spiky hard stems have a tendency to other plantations that are grown nearby. In Mexico, people collect the sap from these garden flowers and ferment it to create a drink known as ‘pulque’.
6. Kurinji Plant:
– The shrub, commonly known as ‘Neelakurinji’, bears some of the most exquisite purple-blue flowers. These garden flowers usually bloom every ten to twelve years and are found in the Shola region of Southern India. A fascinating tidbit is that scientists and researchers have kept a close eye on this plant’s blooming period. However, they are yet to identify why it only blooms in specific intervals. The Neelakurinji flowers cannot be found in any other place in the world except the Nilgiri Hills or the Blue Mountains. During the months of September-October, people from across the world travel to the Nilgiri Hills hoping to catch these flowers in bloom. Natives also collect ‘Neelakurinji honey’ in the blooming season to sell later.
7. Sheep-eating Plant:
– Scientifically known as ‘Puya Chilensis Molina’, this garden flower belongs to the ‘Bromeliaceae’ plant family. This wonderful perennial usually takes at least twenty years to flower. The yellow-green flowers bear spikes and are gigantic though they only remain in bloom for about a week. It is also not easy to grow these plants. The name ‘sheep-eating’ is a result of the prickly flowers that ended up hurting the sheep and other animals near its plantations. There are also rumors about the plants using the rotten animal corpses as their nutrients. Though found mostly in South America, Puya Chilensis was recently found in a flowerbed in the United Kingdom.
8. Andean Queen aka Queen of Andes:
– These garden flowers can grow up to thirty feet tall and can take up to eighty to a hundred years to be in full bloom. After the bloom, the plant drops its seeds (approximately six million seeds per plant) and then dies. Only found in high altitudes of Bolivia and Peru, this eccentric plant is currently considered endangered due to the relatively small number of plants found in existence. It is said that the poor soil in the Andean land, along with the cattle grazing, have factored to the plant’s endangerment. Interestingly, the Puya Raimondii (the plant’s scientific name) usually grows in extreme conditions where most plants are not able to survive.
9. Night-blooming Cereus:
– The Night-blooming Cereus is a cactus that also goes by the name of ‘Selenicereus Grandiflorus’ and ‘Ceroid cacti’. Out of all the other garden flowers mentioned in this list, this plant has a relatively faster blooming period of four to five years. However, it is not easy to catch the plant in bloom since it flowers in the night and dies as the dawn approaches. This is the reason it is also considered as the ‘Queen or Princess of the Night’. Often found in certain desert areas of Arizona, Texas and Mexico, it grows best in the dry soil. Unlike the other plants, this cactus creates a divine fragrance and is also quite tolerant of the heat. It grows into a tall plant of ten feet and is moth-pollinated. It is also capable of producing a few sweet edible red fruits.
10. Narrow-leafed Campion aka Silene Stenophylla:
– The ‘Silene Stenophylla’, part of the ‘Carpetweed’ plant species, made it to the list because of one specific event. Though it normally blooms every summer, few of these plants took about thirty-two thousand years to bloom. A group of scientists in Russia found the plant seeds and fruits buried in northeastern Siberia. After a few lab experiments, they were able to bring some plants back to life. They discovered that the seeds were stuck without bloom since the Ice Age. Belonging to the ‘Caryophyllaceae’ family, this flower is found in the Arctic Tundra and the Northern Japan mountains. It has white, lilac or light pink petals when in bloom.
11. Corpse flowers aka Amorphophallus Titanum:
– The Amorphophallus titanum is Earth’s rarest and largest flower structure. It derives its name from the rotten or corpse-like smell it releases when it blooms. One of the slowest growing plants, it may take seven years to a decade to bloom completely. The smell it releases often attracts certain flies, beetles and other insects that help in its pollination. These garden flowers only bloom for a period of forty-eight hours and are able to produce heat, which aids in confusing said insects. The flower dies as soon as the pollination and blooming process have completed. The Corpse plant can grow up to fifteen feet tall. Initially discovered by Odoardo Beccari, Amorphophallus titanum grows only in tropical Asia. However, the flower species can be at the risk of extinction due to deforestation in the rainforest of Sumatra. Experiencing these plants in bloom may be a rarity, which could be the reason they tend to attract a lot of interest from tourists and scientists alike. Additionally, a lot of these plants are currently endangered due to several natural and man-made reasons. In conclusion, these flowers do remind us of the fact that good things in life take time!