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Turquoise Puya

 

Fuchsia tillettiana

Germinating the seeds

 

Plant your seeds when you receive them for the best germination

   Getting started -- Use small containers or cups that have drainage holes.  For soil, use a well draining mix.  I use a mix of 1 part coir fiber to 1 part perlite (use small- or medium-grade perlite, not large chunks).  An alternate mix is 2 parts quality potting soil to 1 part perlite.  Do not add lime to the mix, since the plant likes slightly-acid soil.

 Fill each container and water it.  Don't compress the soil.  Place a seed or 2 on top, and sprinkle a thin layer of soil on top - just enough to barely cover the seeds, because light helps the seeds germinate. Sprinkle some water on the top soil layer to settle in the seeds.

 

Until the seeds sprout, ensure that the soil surface always stays moist.  An easy way maintain moisture is to enclose the pots in a plastic dome or bag.  Leave it open a crack to allow some fresh air in.  You may need to drip a few drops of water on the seeds every day keep them moist.

 Keep the pots at about 65-77 degrees F (18-25C).  A little cooler at night is ok, but avoid letting them get above 80F (27C).  I recommend placing a minimum/maximum thermometer near the pots.

 A fluorescent or LED bulb kept 4 inches (10 cm) away provides the right amount of light.  Protect from direct sun. 

 The seeds should begin sprouting in 4 to 6 weeks, but may take up to 8 weeks to start, especially at cooler temperatures. Give your seedlings bright light, but avoid direct sunlight while they are small.  I recommend growing them indoors for at least 3 months. 

Fertilizing -- The first 3 months, feed weekly with a small amount of dilute (1/8 strength) liquid fertilizer.  Hydroponic fertilizer is ideal for this, because it is easily absorbed and contains all essential nutrients.  After 3 months, you may switch to a granular fertilizer, feeding at half the dosage on the package.  Or continue feeding weekly with dilute liquid fertilizer.

Growing onward...

Watering - This Fuchsia likes evenly moist soil, but it shouldn't be perpetually soggy either.  Never let the pots dry out, but don't let them sit in a tray of water either. 

If your tap water is very high in minerals (or "hard") i recommend using bottled spring water or rain water.

Climate -- It thrives when temperatures are mild during the day and cool at night.  The plant might get stressed if temperatures regularly get above 85 F (29C), and nights are above 65 degrees F (18 C).  In warmer conditions, give the plants afternoon shade, and keep the pot shaded.  The first 2 years, i recommend keeping it above 40F (4C).  Mature plants can probably only survive a light frost (26F/-3C), but it's best to protect them from freezing temperatures.  Over about 40% humidity is best. 

Fertilizing -- For the first 6 weeks, it's best to use a liquid fertilizer using a very dilute dose (1/8 strength).  Hydroponic fertilizer works well for this, because it is easily absorbed and complete.  After 6 weeks, you may switch to a granular fertilizer if you prefer.  Choose one with micronutrients, and follow the dosage on the package.

Transplanting -- When your plants are 2-3 months old, you may gently transfer them to a larger pot.  Water the soil first, and avoid letting the soil ball break apart, which can damage the roots.  After transplanting, give no sun or liquid fertilizer the first week.

 Dormancy - The plant tends to drop most or all of its leaves in winter, if temperatures are cool.  Be careful not to overwater during this time.

Pests to watch for - Watch for any bugs that typically affect your other plants.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me. 

Have fun growing them!

- Jeff

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Turquoise Puya

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