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Turquoise Puya

 

Impatiens flaccida

Impatiens usambarensis

Germinating the seeds


 

When to plant -- Plant your seeds when you receive them for best germination.

Getting started -- You may plant each seed in individual, small containers.  Or you plant them all in a single container, but it may be difficult to transplant them later.  Either way, use pots with drainage holes

 For soil, use a well draining mix high in organic matter.  A typical mix is 2 parts potting soil to 1 part perlite or coarse sand.  An alternate mix is 1 part perlite to 1 part coir fiber, with some slow-release fertilizer added.

 Fill the pots with soil, and water it until uniformly moist (but not soggy). Place a seed or 2 on the surface and drip some water over the seed to settle it in.  Light helps the seeds germinate, so they should not be buried completely.

 Until the seeds sprout, ensure that the surface soil always stays moist.  A plastic dome or bag may be used to maintain near-100% humidity, but leave it open a crack to allow some fresh air in.  You may need to drip a few drops of water over the seeds every day to keep the seeds moist.

 The ideal temperature for germination is between 65 to 74 degrees F (18-23C).  A little cooler at night is ok.  Avoid letting them get above 77 F (25C).  I recommend placing a minimum/maximum thermometer near the pots, especially if using a heating mat.

 The seeds need some light to germinate.  A fluorescent bulb kept 4 inches (10 cm) away provides the right amount of light.  Protect from direct sun. 

 They should start germinating in 3 to 5 weeks, but allow up to 8 weeks for any slow ones to sprout.  For the first 2-3 weeks after sprouting, continue keeping the soil surface moist.

Growing onward...

Lighting -- This Impatiens prefers bright shade, or filtered sunlight.  Avoid prolonged direct sun, unless it's early-morning sun.

Transplanting -- When your plants are 2-3 months old, you may gently transfer them to a larger pot.  Water the soil first, and avoid letting the soil ball break apart, which can damage the roots.  After transplanting, avoid packing the soil down, and do not fertilize the first week.

Watering -- Aim to keep the soil moist, but not soggy, most of the time. You may use a moisture meter probe to monitor the moisture levels down in the root zone.

Climate -- Impatiens flaccida grows best at temperatures between about 50 and 85 degrees F (10-29C), with nights that are cool.  It doesn't seem to like cold temperatures, and it cannot survive frost.  Over about 40% humidity is recommended.  If your room humidity is too low, consider using an ultrasonic room humidifier, which you can buy at home improvement stores and thrift shops.

 Fertilizing - For the first 6-8 weeks, give a very light dose of liquid fertilizer (about 1/8 strength) once a week.  Hydroponic fertilizer is ideal for young seedlings, since it is easily absorbed and complete.  After 6-8 weeks, you may switch to a granular fertilizer if you wish.

 It's normal for older leaves to occasionally turn yellow and drop, but if it seems excessive, check that the soil isn't too dry down in the root zone.  If it's moist, the plant may need more fertilizer.

Pests to watch for -- aphids, scale (dark disks on the stems), mealy bugs.  Look for other pests that may affect your other plants.  Be careful when choosing chemical remedies, because some may harm the plant.  Contact me if you have questions.

Have fun growing them!

- Jeff

Strange Wonderful Things

 

 

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