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Turquoise Puya

 

Agapetes serpens

 

Soil -- Agapetes can adapt to many soils, but it prefers a loose, well-draining soil mix that is slightly acidic and without lime.  A good soil mix is equal parts of potting soil, peat moss, perlite or pumice rock, and fine-grade orchid bark.  An alternative is to use equal parts of potting soil and perlite.

Container growing -- Transfer your plant to a 1 to 3 gallon container with drainage holes.  That will hold it for at least 6-12 months, when you can either plant it in the ground if you're in a frost-free area, or into a 3 gallon pot, which can hold it for several years. 

 Water the soil before repotting, to keep the soil ball from breaking apart, which can damage the roots.  For the first week after repotting, shade from direct sun, and give no liquid fertilizer.

Light - Agapetes likes about 50% sun.  In warmer conditions, it's best to give afternoon shade and plenty of ventilation.

 Your plant was grown in filtered light, so please acclimate it to direct sun slowly after transplanting.  Start it in 80% shade, and increase the sun by about 10% per week.

Watering --  Aim to keep the soil evenly moist most of the time - but not soggy.  Avoid letting it dry out completely.  Don't let the pot sit in a tray of water.

 If your tap water is very high in minerals ("hard water") it's best to use bottled water or rainwater.  If neither are practical for you, use a fertilizer for acid-loving plants, to counteract the alkalinity of the tap water.

Fertilizer - Feed about every 3 months during periods of active growth with a slow release (pelleted or organic) fertilizer.

 It's normal for an older leaf to occasionally turn yellow, but if it seems excessive, it may be from not enough nitrogen fertilizer or the soil may be too dry down in the root zone.  Use a soil moisture meter probe if you're unsure.

Climate -- Agapetes prefers mild temperatures.  In warmer conditions, keep the pot shaded so the roots stay cool.  It can probably survive several degrees of frost, but it's happiest with temperatures above 40F (4C).  I recommend protecting it from frost.  Indoors, over about 40-45% humidity is best.

If you have any questions or problems, please contact me.

Enjoy your plant!

- Jeff

Strange Wonderful Things

 

 
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Turquoise Puya

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