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Turquoise Puya

 

Pitcairnia ringens

Pitcairnia ringens

Germinating the seeds

 

Getting started -  These seeds are fairly small, so work in a well-lit area.

 Start them in small pots or cups about 2-3 inches tall (5-8 cm) that have drainage holes.  Fill each container with a well-draining mix, such as 2 parts potting soil to 1 part perlite (use small- or medium-size perlite, not large chunks).  Place a few seeds in each pot, and cover with a thin layer of long-fibered sphagnum moss (not ground peat moss.  This helps retain moisture around the seeds while allowing light to reach them, which aids germination.  This photo shows how much moss to use.  If you don't have sphagnum moss, just sprinkle some of your soil mix on the surface.  Then add water until everything is evenly moist (but not soggy). 

 Until the seedlings sprout, ensure that the surface always stays moist (but not soggy).  An easy way to maintain moisture is to enclose the pots in a plastic dome or bag - just leave it open a crack to allow some fresh air in.  You may need to drip a few drops of water on them each day.

 Keep the pots between about 66-77 degrees F (19-25C).  Avoid letting them get above 80 degrees F (27C).  I recommend placing a minimum/maximum thermometer near the pots.  Light helps the seeds germinate, so keep the pots in a bright spot, but not in direct sun.  A fluorescent or LED bulb kept 4 inches (10 cm) away provides the right amount of light.

 The seeds should begin sprouting in 3-4 weeks, although allow up to 8 weeks for any slow ones to sprout.  If you kept the pot enclosed in plastic, open it a little more to let more air in, but continue keeping the soil surface moist until they are 4 weeks old.

 Give the pots bright light but not direct sun just yet.  A fluorescent bulb kept 4 inches (10 cm) away provides the right amount of light.  The seedlings have small root systems when young, so water whenever the soil surface looks dry.  Avoid keeping the soil soggy though.  Once the plants are a few weeks old, you may let the surface soil dry out a bit, and you can also begin giving them some direct sun (shade from strong afternoon sun).

Fertilizing -- The first 2 months, feed weekly with a small amount of dilute (1/8 strength) liquid fertilizer.  Hydroponic fertilizer is ideal for seedlings, because it is easily absorbed and contains all essential nutrients.  After 2 months, you may switch to a granular fertilizer, feeding at half the dosage on the package.  Or continue feeding weekly with dilute liquid fertilizer.

 Once the plants are a few months old, you may transplant them (gently) to larger pots.  For the first week after repotting, shade them from sun, and give no fertilizer.

More information on this plant

 

Good luck with them!

- Jeff

Strange Wonderful Things

 

 
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Turquoise Puya

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