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Turquoise Puya

Iochroma acnistus

Acnistus australis

 

Please be careful removing your plant from it's packaging.

Container size -- A 1 or 2 gallon size pot is perfect to start with.  Plan on transferring to larger container (or into the ground) when the roots poke out of the bottom of the container - probably in a few months. 

Soil --  Your Iochroma likes soil that's high in organic matter, but that is also loose and airy.  Most high-quality potting soils should work, although i like to add 1 part perlite to 3 parts soil, for extra drainage.

Transplant tips -- Avoid disturbing the root-ball whenever you transplant.  Before removing your plant from its pot, give it a watering if the soil looks dry, so the soil doesn't break apart, which can damage the roots.

Light --  Your plant was grown in filtered light, not direct sun, so it should be acclimated to direct sun slowly.  This will give your plant time to grow a larger root system, so it can handle more light.  So start your plant with either tree-filtered sunlight, or morning sun, so that it gets about 25% sun each day.  Every few days, move the pot into slightly more sun.  If the leaves should wilt, simply give it a little more more shade for a few days.  Eventually work up to about 75% sun.  They appreciate some mid-day shade in warm areas.  

Watering -- For the first month, ensure that the original soil ball remains moist (but not soggy). Iochromas do best with regular waterings. I recommend using a moisture meter probe, which you can get from most garden and hardware stores for about $5. You simply stick the probe down to where most of the roots are and read the needle.  I water when it's about halfway dry.

Fertilizing -- Feed your plant monthly during periods of active growth.  Any balanced vegetable fertilizer should work - follow the label's directions.  When your plant starts flowering heavily switch to a "bloom" fertilizer that has some nitrogen.  Cut back on the feedings if your plant goes through a dormant period, and increase the feedings when growth is quick.  Don't feed your young plant too much.  It's normal for it to shed some of the older leaves throughout the year, especially in winter, but excessive leaf yellowing and shedding at other times is often a sign of not enough nitrogen fertilizer. 

Placement in the garden -- Full sun is usually too much for this Iochroma, except in cool areas like near the Pacific coast. The ideal would be either filtered sunlight the whole day, or morning + afternoon sun, with mid-day shade.  It may have trouble flowering in hot temperatures, so give it mid-day shade in warm areas, and don't plant it where heat can collect, like near a wall.  Keep the roots cool thick layer of mulch, and don't use a black pot, which can overheat the roots.  Protect the plant from frost.  It can tolerate light frosts, but it may lose branches.  Provide overhead protection in mild-winter areas.  In cooler areas, bring indoors before frost is expected.  

Pruning & shaping -- Pruning isn't necessary, although you can prune it if it gets leggy.  Prune in the fall to avoid removing budding sites.  Avoid pruning more than 15-20% of the plant in a 10 day period.  

Bugs to watch for -- Whitefly, spider mites (tiny "dots" under the leaves), mealybugs, Japanese beetles, aphids (green ones are hard to see), snails/slugs.

If you have any questions or problems with your plant, feel free to email me.

Enjoy your plant!

Jeff

Strange Wonderful Things

 

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Turquoise Puya

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