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Turquoise Puya

 

"Plum Paradise" Iochroma

Iochroma cyanea

 

Getting started --  Use small containers or cups with drainage holes.  For soil, use a well draining mix.  I use a mix of 1 part coco fiber to 1 part perlite (use small- or medium-grade perlite, not coarse-grade).  An alternate mix is 2 parts quality potting soil to 1 part perlite.

 Place the seeds on the surface at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) from each other, and cover with a very thin layer of soil (1/8 inch / 2 mm).  Water the soil until it's evenly moist (but not fully saturated).

 They germinate well between 66 and 80 F (19-27).  Nights cooler than this are ok.  Very warm temperatures might prevent germination.  I recommend placing a minimum/maximum thermometer near the pots, especially if using a heating mat.

 Until they sprout, keep the soil surface moist.  If you enclose the pots in a plastic container to maintain moisture, leave it open slightly to allow fresh air to circulate.

 The seeds can sprout at different times, with most of them sprouting between 1 and 2 months, but occasionally longer.  Once they sprout, give them bright light, but shade them from strong afternoon sun (See: "Growing indoors with LED lights"). 

 Growing onward..

 I recommend growing them indoors the first 3-4 months.

Watering --  Aim to keep the soil evenly moist most of the time.  Don't let the soil dry out completely, but also avoid keeping it constantly soggy. 

Fertilizing -- The first 2 months, feed weekly with a small amount of dilute (1/8 strength) liquid fertilizer.  Hydroponic fertilizer is ideal for small seedlings, because it is easily absorbed and contains all essential nutrients.  After 2 months, 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.

Climate -- It prefers slightly cooler temperatures than most Brugmansias.  Hot days with warm nights might inhibit flowering.  In hot conditions, keep the pot shaded, perhaps by placing it inside a second pot made of clay.  Mature plants can survive a light frost, but it's best to protect it from freezing temperatures.  It likes a few hours of sun per day. In hot conditions, it will appreciate some afternoon sun.

 Over about 40% humidity is best.  If your plants seem to suffer from low humidity indoors, consider using an ultrasonic room humidifier, sold at home improvement stores and some thrift shops.

Pests -- Watch for any pests that can affect your other plants.  Try using insecticidal soap spray before using stronger remedies, since some may harm the plant.

If you have any questions or problems, feel free to contact me.

Have fun growing them!

- Jeff

Strange Wonderful Things

 

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