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Turquoise Puya

 

Passiflora antioquiensis

Passiflora bogotensis

 

Germinating the seeds

 

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

Getting started -- Since your seeds will be shipped moist, a small amount of harmless mold might form around them during shipping.  To sterilize them, simply rinse them off, then soak them for 10 minutes in a mix of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water.

Soil -- Use a soil high in organic matter but that also drains well.  A typical mix is 2 parts potting soil to 1 part perlite or coarse horticultural sand.  An alternate mix is equal parts of coir fiber and perlite, with some slow-release fertilizer mixed in.  Do not add lime to the mix.

Pot size - You may use small pots about 3 or 4 inches tall (7-10 cm) and 2 to 3 inches (5-8 cm) wide.  The pots need drainage holes.

 Fill the pots with the soil mix and add water until evenly moist (but not soggy).  Place a seed on top in each pot, and cover with about 1/4 inch (7 mm) of soil.  Moisten the top soil layer.

 Until the seeds sprout, ensure that the surface soil doesn't dry out.  If you place the pots in a plastic container or bag to maintain moisture, leave it open a crack to allow fresh air to enter.

Temperature -- Aim to keep them between 68 and 74 F (20-23C) most of the time.  Avoid letting them get above 77 F (25C) or below 60 F (16C) for more than a few hours a day.   I recommend placing a minimum/maximum thermometer near the pots.

 Keep them in a bright spot out of direct sun.  They can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months to sprout.

Lighting the seedlings -- Once your seeds sprout, keep them in a bright spot, with protection from afternoon sun.  You may use a fluorescent light kept a few inches (10 cm) away while your plants are young.

Watering:  Once the seedlings are 3 weeks old, you may allow the surface soil to dry out between waterings, but aim to keep the rest of the soil evenly moist most of the time.  Never let it dry out completely, but also don't keep it constantly soggy. 

 If your water supply is very high in minerals (= "hard water"), you may need to use bottled water or rainwater.

Growing on...

Climate -- Passiflora antioquiensis comes from Antioquia in Colombia, where the weather is spring-like all year and nights are cool.  Like most Passifloras in the Tacsonia group, this one resents heat.  It prefers temperatures below 80 degrees F (27C) and probably will not flower above 85 degrees (29C), especially if nights are warm.  I've read that it can handle 2 or 3 degrees of brief frost, although i recommend protecting it from all frost.  Over about 40% humidity is recommended.

Lighting -- This species prefers partial sun.  Protect it from strong, afternoon sun, especially in warmer conditions.

Feeding -- This Passiflora has average fertilizer requirements.  If your potting soil contains fertilizer (check the label) your seedlings shouldn't need feeding the first 3 weeks of growth.  Then feed about every 2 months with a slow release (pelleted or organic) fertilizer.

 It's normal for an older leaf to occasionally turn yellow and drop, but if it seems excessive, the plant may need more fertilizer.  It could also be from the soil being too dry down in the root zone. 

Repotting -- Once your seedlings are at least 3 inches tall (7 cm), you may repot them to larger containers about 1 quart (1 liter) in size.  Repot gently and avoid letting the soil ball break apart.  Water the soil before repotting to keep the soil together.  For the first week after repotting, shade from sun and give no fertilizer.

 Repot again after 4 to 6 months.  The final pot size depends on how large you choose to let it grow.  An unpruned plant can live in a 10 gallon (40 liter) pot.  You may prune your plant to any size that is convenient.

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

Have fun growing them!

- Jeff

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