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Turquoise Puya

 

Moussonia papillosa

Germinating the seeds

 

 Germination is similar to Begonias (not tropical terrarium Begonias), so if you have germinated them before, you may use the same technique. 

Getting started - The seeds are very small, so work in a well-lit area.

Getting started -- Plant your seeds when you receive them for best results.  Use small pots or cups that are 2-4 inches (5-10 cm) tall.  The pots should have drainage holes.

 For soil, use a well draining mix.  Personally 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.

 The seeds are tiny, so work in a well-lit area.  Fill the pots with soil and sprinkle several seeds evenly across the surface of each pot.  An easy way to pick up the seeds is by breathing on your finger tip to lightly moisten it, then dabbing the seeds with it. 

 If you have long-fibered sphagnum moss, sprinkle a small amount over the surface.  This helps retain moisture around the seeds while allowing light to reach them, which aids germination.  The amount of moss to use is shown in this photo.  If you don't have the moss, sprinkle a small amount of your soil mix around the seeds.  Then add water until everything is evenly moist (but not soggy).

 For the next few weeks, ensure that the soil surface never dries out.  You can maintain high humidity by enclosing the pots in a plastic container or bag - just leave it open a crack to let in fresh air.  Once or twice a day, drip a few drops of water on the surface to keep it moist.

 Keep the pots at about 65-77 degrees (18-25C).  Avoid letting them get above 80F (27C) for prolonged periods.  I recommend placing a minimum/maximum thermometer near the pots. 

  Light helps the seeds germinate, so keep them 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 weeks, and can continue for another month.  Once they sprout, increase the amount of fresh air by opening the bag or container a little more.  Continue keeping the soil surface moist for the first 3-4 weeks, because since the seedlings have a small root system.  Avoid dripping water directly on the if possible. 

 After 3-4 weeks, you do not need to keep the surface moist, but do keep the rest of the soil moist (but not soggy).  Continue giving bright light, but not direct sun.

 When the plants are a month old, you may thin them down to one per pot.  Or you may transplant them all to bigger pots when they are 2-3 months old.  Transplant carefully to avoid disturbing the roots. 

 Over about 40-50% humidity is recommended.  After 3 months, you may give them some morning sun.  Always shade the plants from strong sun. 

Fertilizing -- Feed weekly with a very dilute (1/8 strength) liquid fertilizer.  Hydroponic fertilizer is ideal for seedlings, because it is easily absorbed and contains all essential nutrients.  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.

For general information on this plant, see here.

Have fun growing them!

- Jeff

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Turquoise Puya

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