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Turquoise Puya

 

Red Iochroma

Iochroma fuchsioides

 

Getting started -- Your plant was grown in filtered light, not direct sun, so it should be acclimated to direct sun slowly.  I recommend starting your plant in a 1-2 gallon pot and slowly move it from shade to sun over a period of a few weeks. 

Soil -- Iochroma likes well-draining soil.  A typical mix is 2 parts potting soil to 1 part perlite or coarse horticultural sand.

 Transplant gently to avoid damaging the roots.  Give no direct sun or liquid fertilizer for the first week after repotting.

Watering -- Aim to keep the soil evenly moist most of the time.  Don't allow the soil to dry out completely.

Sunlight & climate -- Established plants like part sun, although full sun can work in cooler conditions.  In warm conditions, it's best to give it some afternoon shade.  I recommend protecting the plant from freezing temperatures.  It can drop its leaves from light frosts, but reportedly can come back from the roots on mature plants after freezes of 25F (-4C) if mulched well.  

 Iochroma flowers best with cool nights (45-65F), and daytime temps of 55-80F.   In hotter conditions, try to shade the pot, to keep the roots cool.

 Over about 40-50% humidity is best.  Indoors, if your humidity drops too low, consider using an ultrasonic room humidifier, which you can get from home improvement stores or thrift shops.  

 Planting out -- Once your plant is around 2 feet tall, it may be planted in the ground, in suitable climates.  If you'll keep it in a container, repot to a 3-5 gallon pot when the roots reach the bottom of the container.  Repot again to a larger pot when it becomes rootbound.  The size of the final pot depends on how big you let it grow.  Larger plants need a lot of water and may dry out unexpectedly if undersized pots. 

Fertilizing -- Feed about every 2 months during the growing season with a general-purpose fertilizer, following the dose on the package.

 It's normal for a few of the older leaves to turn yellow and die throughout the year, but if it seems excessive, the soil may be too dry down in the root zone.  If you're certain the roots are moist, the plant may need more fertilizer.

Pruning -- Larger plants may be pruned to keep them shapely.  Like with most bushes, removing lower branches will encourage upward growth from the higher stems, and cutting back the tallest stem will encourage lower branching.

Pests to watch for -- Spider mites (tiny "dots" and webbing under the leaves), aphids, whitefly.

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

Enjoy your plant!

- Jeff

Strange Wonderful Things

 

 
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