"Plum Paradise" Iochroma
Please be careful removing your plant from it's packaging.
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, so you can slowly move it from shade to sun over a period of several weeks. This will give your plant time to grow a larger root system, so it can handle more light without burning or wilting. So start by giving it bright, indirect light or filtered sun for the first week. After this, give it an hour or two of morning sun per day. If all looks well after several days, give it about an hour more sun every 4 or 5 days.
Soil -- Iochroma likes rich but well-draining soil. A good mix would be 2 parts all-purpose potting soil to 1 part perlite. Don't push the soil down after repotting - simply water it in. Make sure the original soil ball stays moist (but not soggy) the first 2 weeks. Do not feed the first week after repotting.
Planting out -- Once your plant is around 2 feet tall, it's ready to plant in the ground in mild-winter areas. If you're going to keept it in a container, repot to a 3-5 gallon pot when the roots reach the bottom of the container, or after 2-3 months. 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, so keep this in mind when choosing a pot size, or the plant may dry out unexpectedly. In hotter areas, try to shade the pot, to keep the roots cool. Mulch the plant well, for the same reason.
Climate -- Iochroma likes mostly sunny conditions, with some shade from hot afternoon sun. Iochroma is very sensitive to frost, and will drop its leaves from a light frost. But mature plants can grow back from the base after freezes of 25F, if mulched well. Iochroma may not flower if the weather is too warm. Avoid growing it where heat can accumulate, like near a sunny wall. Over about 40% humidity is recommended.
Watering -- Iochroma likes soil that's kept evenly moist (but not soggy). You may use a moisture meter probe, which you can get at most garden shops for about $5. You simply stick the probe down to the root level and read the dial. Water when the needle is 1/3 to 1/2 across the dial.
Fertilizing -- Give monthly feedings with ordinary, all-purpose fertilizer. Follow the label's recommended dosage. It's normal for a few of the older leaves to yellow and die throughout the year, but if it's excessive, it could be from not enough fertilizer, particularly nitrogen. It could also be from not enough water, as well as too much water.
Pruning -- If you want a tall, tree-like shape, remove any lower side branches, leaving the leading tip. Removing the growing tip of a shoot makes the branch become bushier. There is no harm in leaving the plant unpruned.
Bugs to watch for -- Spider mites (tiny "dots" under the leaves), Aphids (green ones are hard to see), scale (brown disc on the stem - they blend right in!), snails/slugs.
If you have any questions or problems, please email me.
Enjoy your plant!
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