Please be careful removing your plant from it's packaging.
Soil -- Lapageria likes rich, moist soil that drains easily and is "airy". The soil should be slightly acid. A good mix would be approximately 1 parts well-decomposed compost (or good quality potting soil), 1 part peat moss (or potting soil), 1 part perlite (or pumice), and 1 part horticultural sand, mixed well. Do not add lime to the mix.
Transplanting -- Transplant carefully to avoid disturbing the root mass. Transplant to a 1 gallon container and stake the plant if necessary. Water it in but do not pack the soil down. After a year or two, it may be transferred to a 3-5 gallon container, which can be its permanent home.
Watering -- Lapageria likes moist soil, but it shouldn't be constantly soggy either. Don't allow the soil to dry out. Never let the pot sit in a tray of water either. Also avoid keeping the leaves wet for prolonged periods, as this may cause leaf fungus in some areas.
If your tap water is "hard", meaning high in minerals, use bottled water or rain water.
Lighting -- Lapageria prefers to have its sun filtered through trees (dappled sun). It can burn from strong sun exposure. Bright shade is fine provided that it does get some morning or late-afternoon sun. Lapageria likes its roots cool, so try to keep the pot shaded in warmer conditions, or at least mulch heavily.
Climate -- Lapageria prefers mild daytime temperatures and cooler nights. It's happiest between about 40 and 80 degrees (5-27°C), and above freezing. Adult plants are said to tolerate down to the low 20s (-5°C) if given overhead protection. But protect your seedlings from frost the first 3-4 years. You may grow them indoors or in a greenhouse provided that the air is cool and over about 40-45% humidity with good air circulation. If the humidity becomes low, consider using an ultrasonic room humidifier, which are sold at home improvement stores and thrift shops.
Watering -- Lapageria likes moist soil, but it shouldn't be constantly soggy either. Don't allow the soil to dry out, and don't let the pot sit in a tray of water. Also avoid keeping the leaves wet for prolonged periods, as this may cause leaf fungus in some areas.
Support -- Adult plants prefer to twist around a trellis, fence, wires, etc. Your seedlings will not need a trellis for at least 2 years, since they are slow growing when young.
Fertilizing -- For plants over 2-3 years old that are actively growing, feed about every 3 months with a slow-release (pelleted or organic) fertilizer that contains micronutrients.
Potting up - For seedlings that are 12-18 months old, they may be gently transplanted to 2-quart (2 liter) pots, which can hold them for another 1-2 years. They may then be transferred to 5 gallon (19 liter) containers, which can be their permanent home.
Pests to watch for -- Protect from snails and slugs, which love Lapageria. Watch for aphids on the new growth, and spider mites under the older leaves (tiny "dots" on the leaves). Scale (small discs) and mealy bugs may appear on the stems or leaves.
If you have any questions, please email me.
Enjoy your plant!
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