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Turquoise Puya

 

Impatiens nyungwensis

Germinating the seeds

 

When to plant -- Plant your seeds when you receive them for best germination

Getting started -- The seeds are small, so work in a well-lit area.  You may plant each seed in individual, small containers, such as seedling starter trays.  Or you plant them all in a single, larger container.  Either way, use containers with drainage holes.

 For soil, use a well draining mix.  A typical mix is 2 parts quality potting soil to 1 part perlite (use small- or medium-grade perlite, not large chunks).

 Fill the pots, without packing down the soil, and place a seed or 2 on top.  Tap the pot lightly to settle the seeds in the cracks of the soil.  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).

 Until the seeds sprout, ensure that the surface soil always stays moist.  A plastic dome may be used to maintain moisture, but leave it open slightly to allow some fresh air in.  You may need to drip a few drops of water over the seeds each day or two to keep the seeds moist.

 They sprout well between 66 and 76 degrees F (19-24C), and a little cooler at night.  I have no experience germinating them outside that temperature range.  I recommend placing a minimum/maximum thermometer near the pots.

 Place the containers in a bright spot out of direct sun.  A bright LED lamp kept 4 inches (10 cm) away provides the right amount of light (See: "Growing indoors with LED lights").

 They should begin sprouting in about 3 to 6 weeks, but might take longer.  Continue keeping the soil surface moist for 3 weeks after they sprout, and then remove any plastic container over them.

Fertilizing -- Once they are 2 weeks old, feed every 2 weeks with a small amount of dilute (1/8 strength) liquid fertilizer.  Hydroponic fertilizer is ideal for young seedlings, because it is easily absorbed and contains all essential nutrients.  After 2 months, you may switch to a granular fertilizer that contains micronutrients, following the dosage on the package.

Lighting -- It grows well in bright shade, dappled sunlight, or morning sun.  Protect it from strong sun exposure.

Watering -- Try to keep the soil moist, but not soggy, most of the time.  Avoid letting it dry out completely.  If you're unsure if the soil down in the root zone has the proper moisture, you can use a moisture meter.

Transplanting -- When your plants are about 2-3 inches tall (5-8 cm), gently transfer them to a larger container.  Avoid disturbing the roots when repotting.  Eventually you can move them to a hanging planter if you wish. 

Climate -- It comes from a mild climate, and prefers moderate temperatures with cool nights.  It seems to be happiest with days between 55 and 85F (13-29C), and nights between 50 and 65F (10-18C).  Hot temps with warm nights will likely stress it, and i don't think it can survive frost.  Over about 40% humidity is best.  If it seems to suffer from low humidity indoors, consider using an ultrasonic humidifier.

Pruning -- It doesn't require pruning unless you wish to shape your plants.  If a stem gets overly long, you can encourage side shoots to form by removing the tip. 

Pests to watch for -- Watch for other pests that might affect your other plants, like aphids, spider mites, thrips, or mealy bugs.  Try using insecticidal soap before using stronger remedies, since some may harm the plant.

 General info on this plant

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

Have fun growing them!

- Jeff

Strange Wonderful Things

 

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