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Turquoise Puya

 

"Jungle Sunset" Impatiens

Impatiens bicaudata

 

Please take your time removing your plant from it's packaging.

Soil -- Your Impatiens likes moist, well-draining soil that's high in organic matter, like compost.  Most all-purpose potting soil should work.  If you mix your own soil, try 1/3 potting soil, 1/3 well-decomposed compost, and 1/3 perlite or sand.  I like to mix in some slow-release organic fertilizer at this time.  

Transplanting -- Before sliding your plant from its pot, please give it a watering if the soil looks dry, so it doesn't break apart, which can damage the roots.  If the plant is hard to slide out, stick the eraser end of a pencil into the holes at the bottom to help push it out.  Gently plant it in a 1 gallon container (approximately). 

Watering -- For the first month, ensure that the original soil ball stays moist, but not soggy.  I like to use a moisture meter probe, which you buy get for about $4 at most garden and hardware stores.  The needle should be about 2/3 across the dial most of the time.  The pot should never sit in a tray of water.  

I recommend using rain water or bottled spring water for at least the first month.  You may then use tap water, as long as it's not filtered through a water-softening filter, like Brita or Pur.  These add sodium to the water, which the plant doesn't like.

Climate -- Impatiens bicaudata can tolerate dips into the 40s but should be protected from all frost.  It may not do well in very hot or dry climates.  Grows well indoors if the air isn't too dry.  Outdoors, protect it from strong winds.  

Light -- This Impatiens normally grows on the jungle floor, where the sun is filtered through trees.  It does best with tree-filtered sun or bright shade.  Too much mid-day sun may cause burning.

Fertilizing -- Your Impatiens likes average amounts of fertilizer. Feed about every 3 weeks during periods of active growth using all-purpose vegetable fertilizer or the equivalent.  It's normal for the older, lower leaves to occasionally turn yellow and drop, but if it's excessive, it may need more fertilizer, particularly nitrogen.  Don't try to force more growth with excessive fertilizer -- follow the directions closely. 

Long-term care -- When the roots start circling the bottom of the container or poke out the holes at the bottom, you can repot it into a larger container - perhaps 2-3 gallons.  If you plan on growing it to full size, it will eventually need at least 5 gallons.

Pruning -- Feel free to shape your plant to your liking.  If you want a bushier plant, cut back the main shoot.  Removing side branches encourages a tall shape.  Just avoid removing more than 20% of the branches in any given week.    

Propagating -- To take cuttings, cut a 4-5 inch section and make a diagonal cut at the bottom with a razor.   Immediately stick it in a pot of moist soil, and tie a plastic bag around it to keep it humid.  Cut a small hole or two in the bag for ventilation.  Give it indirect light, or fluorescent lighting.  It should root within a few weeks.  

Pests to watch for: aphids, spider mites, whiteflies, fungus gnats.

Have fun growing it!  

Jeff

Strange Wonderful Things

 

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Turquoise Puya

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