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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 and reduces the chance of rot.

 You may plant them all in a single container if you wish.  Use a pot about 4 inches (10 cm) tall, and wide enough so each seed is at least 1.5 inches (4 cm) apart.  Fill the pot to within an inch (2.5 cm) of the top with a well-draining mix, such as 2 parts potting soil to 1 part perlite (use small- or medium-size perlite, not big chunks).

 Then fill the remaining inch (2.5 cm) of the pot with small perlite (particle size around 2-5 mm / ⅛-inch).  You can screen the perlite to remove any large pieces.  If you only have larger perlite available, you may either crush it and then screen out any dust, or mix it with vermiculite, equal parts of each.

 Rinse the seeds under water, and push them into the surface, flatter side down, until 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 1.5 inches (4 cm) from each other.  Add water until the mix is evenly moist.  Make sure the tip 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, especially if using a heating mat.

 Ensure that the top layer of perlite (or perlite/vermiculite) always stays moist.  To maintain moisture, you may enclose the pot in a plastic container that's slightly open to allow fresh air to enter.  You may need to drip water on the top layer periodically.

 Keep them in bright light out of direct sun.  A bright LED bulb placed 3-4 inches (8-10 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 6 months unless it's weak.

 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.

Fertilizing -- The first 6 months, i recommend feeding once a month 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.  Give the first feeding when the first leaf is a week old. 

 When they are about 9-12 months old, you may dig them up and repot.  Use a container at least 5 inches (13 cm) tall.  You can either use 1 pot per seedling or use a communal pot with the seedlings 3-4 inches apart (8-10 cm).

Soil -- Use a loose, well-draining medium.  For plants under 1.5 years old, you may use 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. 

 For older plants, use a chunkier mix, similar to growing CliviaA typical mix is 1 part potting soil, 1 part orchid bark (small grade), and 1 part pumice or perlite.

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.

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 weaker sun. Protect it from strong sun exposure.

 Growing onward..

 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, since the rhizome tends to grown downward.  They flower best when rootbound.  Avoid disturbing the roots when it nears flowering size, since that can delay flowering.

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.

Fertilizing -- The plants grow relatively slowly and don't need much fertilizer.  Feed about every 4 months during periods of active growth using a general-purpose fertilizer that contains micronutrients, following the dosage on the package.

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 per 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 questions, feel free to contact me.

- Jeff

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