Strange Wonderful Things

 Rare and exotic plants

Turquoise Puya


Siphonochilus aethiopicus

Siphonochilus aethiopicus - African Ginger

African Ginger


Planting your rhizome


 When to plant -- Plant it as soon as you receive it. 

Getting started -- Use a pot at least 5 inches wide and tall (13 cm), with drainage holes.

 Use a well-draining soil.  A typical mix is 2 parts potting soil to 1 part perlite or coarse horticultural sand.  An alternate mix is 3 parts perlite to 2 parts coco fiber, with some granular fertilizer mixed in.

 Before you plant it, smell it!  It has a wonderful scent of violets.

 Bury it so the top is about 1/2 to 1 inch (2 cm) deep.  Add just enough water so the soil is slightly moist, and keep it this moist until it sprouts.  Don't fully saturate the soil, but also don't let it dry out completely.

 Until it sprouts, i recommend keeping it between about 65 and 85 degrees F (18-29C) during the day (slightly cooler at night is ok).

 The rhizome may take anywhere from 1 to 4 months to sprout, depending on when it went dormant.  Once it sprouts, increase the watering, and give it bright light, but shade it from strong afternoon sun. 

 Growing onward --

 It prefers warm temperatures, with days above 70 degrees F (21 degrees C) and nights above 60 F (16 C).  It comes from woodlands, so it likes filtered sun or morning sun.  It might need some protection from strong afternoon sun.  Over about 40% humidity is best.  If it seems to suffer in low humidity indoors, consider using an ultrasonic humidifier, sold at home improvement stores and some thrift shops.

  It uses a lot of water while growing.  Keep the soil evenly moist (but not constantly soggy). 

 It likes good fertilizing the first 2-3 months of growth.  Feed when it sprouts and again 2 months later, using an all-purpose fertilizer that contains micronutrients.

Dormancy -- The bulb goes dormant for around 4 months, so when the leaves die back, reduce the watering and keep it slightly moist until it sprouts.

Pests to watch for -- Mealybugs might attack the bulbs indoors.  Look for cottony growth where the leaves emerge from the ground.  To control mealybugs, try using an insecticidal soap soil drench.  Watch for other pests that may affect your plants.

General tips about this plant

Have fun growing it!

- Jeff

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Strange Wonderful Things

Rare and exotic plants

Turquoise Puya

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