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Turquoise Puya

 

Lachenalia viridiflora

Lachenalia viridiflora - "Turquoise Hyacinth"

"Turquoise Hyacinth"

 

Planting the bulbs

 

When to plant -- Your bulbs will sprout in autumn, around mid- to late-October in the Northern hemisphere (April in the Southern Hemisphere).  Until then, store them in a paper bag in a cool spot.  Or you may plant them in soil before autumn, if the soil can be kept almost completely dry until autumn.  Either way, store them out of direct sunlight.

Pot size -- Use a pot about 6 inches tall (15 cm) and wide enough so each bulb is about 2 inches (5 cm) from the next one, and from the edge of the pot.  Use a pot with drainage holes.  If you live in a warmer climate, use a slightly larger clay pot, to keep the roots cooler. 

Soil -- Use a fast draining soil mix, similar to cactus mix.  A typical mix is 1 part potting soil to 2 parts coarse horticultural sand.  An alternate mix 1 part coir fiber to 2 parts perlite, with some slow-release fertilize mixed in.

Planting the bulb --  If you can't tell which end of the bulb is "up", just plant them sideways and they will straighten themselves out as they grow.  Bury them 1 inch (2.5 cm) deep.  In mid-October, water the soil lightly until it is slightly moist (not saturated).

 The bulbs should begin sprouting within a few weeks of watering them.  Once they sprout, move them to a sunny spot.  Full sun is best throughout winter, but if temperatures get above the low 70s (23C), they might need some afternoon shade to keep cool.

Watering --  Aim to keep the soil evenly moist throughout the growing season.  Avoid letting it dry out completely, but also don't keep it fully saturated.  You may use a moisture meter from garden and hardware stores to monitor the soil moisture down at the root level.  Simply stick the probe about halfway deep in the pot.

Climate -- Throughout winter, it prefers temperatures between 50 and 70 degrees F (10-22 degrees C).  Warmer temperatures in winter may make the plants lanky, and hot temperatures or warm nights might stress them.  Keep them from freezing.

Feeding -- This species has relatively moderate fertilizer needs.  Feed twice during the growing season using a general-purpose fertilizer or bulb fertilizer.

Dormancy care -- In spring, the bulbs will begin to die back to prepare for their summer dormancy.  Reduce watering during this time, giving just enough water to keep the soil from drying out completely.

 Once the leaves have died back, you may remove the bulbs and store them in a paper bag in a cool spot until autumn.. or just leave them in their pot.  

Pests to watch for -- Mealy bugs might grow on the bulbs indoors.  Look for cottony growth on the leaves near the soil.  Try using an insecticidal soap drench to kill mealy bugs.

Have fun growing them!

- Jeff

Strange Wonderful Things

 

 
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Turquoise Puya

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