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Turquoise Puya

 

Canarina canariensis

Dermatobotrys saundersii

Germinating the seeds

 

Plant your seeds when you receive them for the best germination

 

Getting started -- You may plant each seed in individual, small containers, such as seedling starter trays.  Or you plant them all in a single, larger container, but it may be difficult to separate the roots later.  Either way, use containers with drainage holes

 For soil, use a well draining mix.  I use a mix of 1 part coir fiber to 1 part perlite (use fine- or medium-grade perlite, not coarse-grade).  An alternate mix is 2 parts quality potting soil to 1 part perlite.

 Fill the pots with the soil mix, and add water until uniformly moist, but not soggy.  Place a seeds on top of each pot, and cover with a very thin layer of soil - just enough to barely cover them.  If you place multiple seeds in each pot, plant them 3 inches (8 cm) apart.

 Until the seeds sprout, ensure that the surface soil always stays moist  An easy way to do this is usually to enclose the pots in a plastic dome or bag.  Leave it open slight to allow some fresh air in.  You may need to drip a few drops of water on the surface each day.

 The ideal temperature for germination is between about 64 and 77 degrees F (18-25C).  Avoid letting the seeds get above 80 F (27C).  I recommend placing a minimum/maximum thermometer near the pots.

 Keep the pots in a bright spot out of direct sunlight.  A fluorescent or LED bulb kept 4 inches (10 cm) away provides the right amount of light.

 They should start germinating in 4 or 5 weeks, but allow up to 8 weeks for any slow ones to sprout.  Cooler temperatures may slow germination.

Lighting -- Once the seeds sprout, increase air circulation slightly, and give bright shade, or filtered sunlight.  Avoid prolonged, direct sunlight until the plants are 2-3 months old.

Watering -- Continue keeping the soil surface moist the first 3 weeks. After that, aim to keep the soil evenly moist most of the time.  Don't let it dry out completely, but don't keep it perpetually soggy either.  You may use a moisture meter probe to monitor the moisture levels down in the root zone.

Climate -- The plant comes from a cool climate and is happiest between 45 and 75F (7-24C) during the growing season of October through March (in the Southern hemisphere, April to September).  The plant needs protection from all frost, since freezing temperatures may kill the foliage.  Indoors, over about 40% humidity is best.  If your plants seem to suffer from low humidity, consider using an ultrasonic room humidifier.

Fertilizing -- The first 6-8 weeks, feed every 7 days with a very dilute (1/8 strength) liquid fertilizer.  Hydroponic fertilizer is ideal for this, because it is easily absorbed and contains all essential nutrients.  I use General Hydroponics Flora fertilizer, using 1 teaspoon/gallon (5 mL per 4 liters).  After 6-8 weeks, you may switch to a granular fertilizer that contains micronutrients, following the dosage on the package.  Or continue feeding weekly with liquid fertilizer at 1/8 strength.

 It's normal for older leaves to occasionally turn yellow and drop, but if it seems excessive, the soil may be too dry down in the root zone.   If you're sure the roots have been moist, the plant may need more fertilizer, particularly nitrogen.  Keep in mind the plant normally drops its leaves each winter when exposed to cool temperatures.

Transplanting -- When your plants are over 8 months old, you may gently transfer them to a larger pot.  Avoid damaging the roots when you repot.

Pests to watch for -- aphids, scale (dark disks on the stems), mealy bugs, spider mites.

Have fun growing them!

- Jeff

Strange Wonderful Things

 

 

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