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Turquoise Puya

 

 "Magic Dogwood"

Cornus florida subsp. urbiniana

 

Germinating the seeds

 

 The seeds sprout best if placed in the refrigerator for 8 weeks after being kept at room temperature for 6 weeks. The tips below explain the process.

 First, disinfect the seeds by soaking for 10 minutes in a mix of 1 part household bleach to 10 parts water; rinse well after.  Next fill a small plastic sandwich container with pre-moistened long-fiber sphagnum moss, which is sold at most garden shop, Home Depot, Ebay, etc.  Don't oversaturate the moss.  Place the seeds inside and cover them with more moss.

 Place the container at room temperature (60-75F / 15-24C), with the lid slightly open for ventilation.  A dim location is best, to minimize the formation of algae.  Keep the container there for 6 weeks, watering whenever necessary to keep the most moist (again, not soggy).

 After 6 weeks, close the container, label it, and put it in the refrigerator.  Ensure that the seeds do not freeze (inside the door is usually the warmest place). 

 After 8 weeks (mark your calendar), remove the seeds from the container and plant them 3/8 inch deep (1 cm) in individual pots (or cups with drainage holes) that are at least 3 inches tall (7 cm).  Use a well-draining soil mix.  A typical mix is 2 parts potting soil to 1 part perlite.  An alternate mix is 3 parts perlite to 2 parts coir fiber or peat moss, with some slow-release fertilizer mixed in. 

 Water the soil until evenly moist, and place in a bright spot that is about 65-74 degrees F (18-23C), with good air circulation.  A little cooler at night is ok.  Avoid letting them get warmer than 77 degrees F (25C) for prolonged periods.  I recommend placing a minimum/maximum thermometer near the pots. 

 The germination time can vary.  Some seeds may sprout immediately after removing them from the refrigerator, while some may take 2 or 3 months, and few might take longer.  Usually by 3 months, at least 75% will sprout.  If any don't sprout after 5 months, try putting them in the refrigerator again for 2 months, checking up on them every 2-3 weeks to see if any have sprouted.

 Once they sprout, give them bright, filtered light.  Shade them from strong sun.  Give them good air circulation to prevent rot.  When they are 1 week old, give a light dose (1/8th strength) of liquid fertilizer.  Hydroponic fertilizer is perfect for young seedlings, since it is easily absorbed and complete.  A month later, you may switch to a granular, general-purpose fertilizer, and repeat 3 months later.

 When your seedlings are as tall as their pot, replant them gently into larger pots.  Water the soil first, to keep the soil ball from breaking apart, which can damage the roots.  A tall pot is best to allow a deep root system.

 Protect the seedlings from freezing temperatures the first 2 years.

 Tips on growing older plants are here.

Happy growing!

- Jeff

Strange Wonderful Things

 

 

 
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Turquoise Puya

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