Strange Wonderful Things

 Rare and exotic plants

Turquoise Puya


Scadoxus cyrtanthiflorus

Scadoxus cyrtanthiflorus

Germinating the seeds


Your seeds should be planted immediately when received. 

The seeds may send out a root during shipping, so be gentle when unpacking them to avoid breaking the root.


 If you have germinated Clivia seeds before, you may use the same method that worked for you.  The method below works well for me.

 You may plant them all in a single, small container, since they will be removed after they sprout.  Use pots about 4 inches (10 cm) tall with drainage holes.  Fill with perlite.  Use small- or medium-size perlite, not large chunks.

 Rinse the seeds under water, and push them into the surface so the top of the seed is even with the surface and is partly exposed.  If you see a marking or line on the seed, place that sideways.  Space the seeds about 1 inch (3 cm) from each other.  Water the perlite thoroughly.  Make sure the top of the seed is visible (but not sticking out of the perlite).

 The optimal germination temperature is about 66-77 F (19-25C) during the day.  A little cooler at night is ok.  Avoid letting them get above 79 F (26C).  I recommend placing a minimum/maximum thermometer near the pots.

 Ensure that the perlite always stays moist.  If you enclose the pot in a plastic container or bag to maintain moisture, leave it open slightly for fresh air to enter. 

 Keep them in bright light out of direct sun.  A bright LED bulb placed 4 inches (10 cm) away provides the right amount of light (See: "Growing indoors with LED lights").

The seeds will first grow a root, followed by a leaf about a month later.  They tend to sprout at different times, with most of them sprouting between 2 and 3 months.  Occasionally they can take up to 6 months, so as long as the seeds are firm, don't give up on them!  After they sprout, continue giving bright light, with no direct sun the first 3 months.

 Try to avoid keeping the leaf wet.  Sometimes the seeds will lift themselves up when sprouting and the root will be exposed.  If this happens, reposition it so the root is buried.

 When the first leaf is 2 weeks old, gently dig up the seed and gently repot it into the soil mix described in the next paragraph.  Use a container at least 5 inches (13 cm) tall, with drainage holes.  You can either use 1 pot per seedling or use a communal pot with the seedlings 3 inches apart (7 cm).

Soil -- Use a loose, well-draining medium.  A typical mix is 2 parts potting soil to 3 parts perlite.  An alternate mix is 2 parts coco fiber to 3 parts perlite, with some granular fertilizer added.  Don't add lime to the mix.  After filling the pots, don't compress the soil.  Continue keeping them in moderate temperatures the first 6 months.

Watering - The plants like to have their roots kept moist, so aim to keep the soil evenly moistened, but not constantly saturated.  Don't let it dry out completely, and don't let the pots sit in a tray of water.

 If your tap water is very "hard" (high in minerals) you might need to use bottled water or rain water.

Fertilizing -- The first 3 months, i recommend feeding every 2 weeks with a small amount of dilute liquid fertilizer at 1/8th strength.  Hydroponic fertilizer is ideal for young seedlings, since it is easily absorbed and contains all essential nutrients.  After 3 months, you may switch to a granular fertilizer that contains micronutrients, following the dosage on the package.  

 Growing onward...

Re-potting --  You may repot to a bigger pot after they are 9 months old.  When you repot, use some small wood pieces in the mix, such as small-grade orchid bark.  A typical mix is 1 part potting soil, 1 part small-grade orchid bark, and 1 part perlite. 

 After 2 years, you may move it to a 1 gallon (4 liter) pot, and a year or two later, move it to a 2 gallon (8 liter) pot, where it can stay until it flowers.  For sooner flowering, leave it in a 1 gallon pot, but move it to a bigger pot within 2 years after flowering.  Tall pots are preferred over wider ones.  They flower best when rootbound.  Avoid disturbing the roots when it nears flowering size, since that can delay flowering.

Climate -- The plant comes from about 2600 to 3000 meter elevation, where temperatures are mild or cool all year.  I have no information on how it will do in warm conditions, but i suspect it might be unhappy if temperatures regularly get above the low 80s (28 degrees C), especially if nights are warm (above 65F / 18C).  The roots of mature plants probably can handle down to the mid-20s F (-4 degrees C) but it's best to protect it from freezing temperatures, especially younger plants.  Over about 40% humidity is best.  Indoors, the plant may stay evergreen unless exposed to very cool temperatures, which may cause dormancy. 

Lighting -- This forest plant prefers filtered sunlight or weak sun. Protect it from strong sun exposure.

Watering -- The roots like to be kept moist (but not drenched).  So aim to keep the soil evenly moistened.  When the plant is dormant, reduce watering, but don't let the soil dry out.

 Feed about every 4 months during periods of active growth using a general-purpose fertilizer that contains micronutrients, following the dosage on the package.

Dormancy -- The plant may shed some or all of its leaves briefly each year, especially if nights are cool.  When this happens, reduce watering, but don't let the roots get completely dry.

Flowering -- I believe this species needs cool nights in winter to trigger flower, so once the plants are 4 years old, try to expose them to temperatures between 40 and 60 F (4-15C) for at least 8 hours a day for 4 to 8 weeks in autumn or winter.  Reduce watering in cooler temperatures, but don't let the soil dry out. 

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

- Jeff

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Strange Wonderful Things

Rare and exotic plants

Turquoise Puya

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