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Turquoise Puya

 

Bolivian Fuchsia

Fuchsia boliviana

Germinating the seeds

 

When to plant -- Plant your seeds right away for best results.

Getting started -- You may plant each seed in individual, small containers, such as seedling starter trays.  Or you plant them all in a single, larger container, but it may be difficult to separate the roots later.  Either way, use containers with drainage holes

 Fill each container almost to the top.  Don't compress the soil.  Place 2 or 3 seeds on top, and sprinkle a very thin layer of soil on top - just enough to barely cover the seeds (1/8", or 2 mm).  Add water until the soil is evenly moist (but not soggy).  

 Moderate temperatures are best for germination - about 65-77 degrees F / 18-25 degrees C (cooler at night is ok).  Avoid letting them get above 80 F (27).  I recommend placing a minimum/maximum thermometer near the pots. 

 Ensure that the soil surface never dries out.  If you place the pots in a humidity dome or bag to maintain moisture, leave it open a crack to let some fresh air in.  You may need to drip a few drops of water on them each day.  Keep them in a bright spot, but not in direct sun. 

 Most of the seeds should sprout within 4 weeks, but allow up to 8 weeks for any slow ones to sprout.  Once they sprout, increase the air ventilation a bit to avoid getting stem rot. 

 Until the seedlings are 4 weeks old, keep the soil surface moist.  I recommend growing them indoors until they're at least 3 months old.  For lighting, you may use a fluorescent or LED bulb kept about 4-6 inches (10-15 cm) from the plants.  Do not use incandescent (screw-in) bulbs, even if they're called "plant bulbs".  You can also put them in filtered sunlight.  Protect them from strong, direct sun. 

 If you have more than one seedling in each container, snip off the weaker one(s) when they are 4-6 weeks old - or very carefully remove them. 

 Fuchsias don't like dry air.  If the indoor humidity drops below about 40% humidity, consider using a room humidifier.

Watering - Aim to keep the soil evenly moist most of the time.  Do not let the soil dry out.  A moisture meter probe works well for monitoring this. You can buy it at garden and hardware stores for about $5. 

Fertilizing -- Feed weekly with a very dilute (1/8 strength) liquid fertilizer.  Hydroponic fertilizer is ideal for this, because it is easily absorbed and contains all essential nutrients.  I use General Hydroponics Flora fertilizer, using 1 teaspoon/gallon (5 mL per 4 liters).  After 6-8 weeks, you may switch to a granular fertilizer that contains micronutrients, following the dosage on the package.  Or continue feeding weekly with liquid fertilizer at 1/8 strength.

 It's normal for an older leaf to occasionally turn yellow and drop, but if it seems excessive, check that the soil is moist enough down in the root zone, using a moisture meter.  If the soil is moist enough, the plant may need more fertilizer (nitrogen). 

Repotting - Repot your plants to larger containers whenever the plant becomes root-bound.  Water the soil before repotting, to keep the soil ball from breaking apart, which can damage the roots.

Growing onward..

 Fuchsia boliviana prefers filtered sunlight, with protection from strong afternoon sun.  Morning sun + afternoon shade is fine, as is tree-filtered sunlight all day.  Protect from strong afternoon sun.

 The plant prefers moderate temperatures and cool nights.  The ideal temperature would be between 45 and 80 during the day (7-27C), and 40-70 at night (4-22C).  In warmer areas, give the plants afternoon shade, and don't place them near a wall where heat can collect.  Keep the pot shaded to avoid overheating the roots, and mulch heavily to keep the soil moist.  Black pots are not recommended.  Protect the plants from all frost. 

Pests to watch for - whitefly, aphids, scale (little lumps on the stems or leaves), mealybugs, and possibly spider mites (tiny "dots" under the leaves).

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

Have fun growing them!

- Jeff

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