Getting started -- Use small pots about 2-3 inches tall (5-7 cm) that have drainage holes.
This species prefers a well-draining soil that is high in organic matter. A
typical mix is equal parts of high-quality
potting soil and perlite (or pumice rock). An alternate mix is 2
parts coir fiber to parts perlite, with some slow-release fertilizer
Ensure that the surface soil doesn't dry out. A propagation dome or plastic bag may be used to maintain humidity, but leave it open slightly to allow a little fresh air in. You may need to drip water on the seeds each day to keep them moist.
The ideal temperature for germination is about 65 to 75 degrees F (18-24°C).
Avoid letting them get too warm. I recommend placing a minimum/maximum
thermometer near the pots, especially if using a heating pad. Keep the pots in a bright spot, but out of direct sunlight. You may use a fluorescent bulb
kept a hand's length away.
Climate -- Pitcairnia ringens comes from about 3000 to 7000 feet elevation in Mexico, where temperatures are a bit cooler than the lowlands. I know it can handle temperatures in the mid-80s (30°C), but i have no information on how it will do in warmer conditions, so consider it experimental in warmer climates like Florida and Texas. The underground rhizomes can probably handle at least a few degrees of frost, although i recommend protecting the plant from all frost.
Lighting -- The plant has flowered both in full sun and in full shade, but it seems to be happiest with about 50% sun. Some afternoon shade might be needed in warmer areas.
Fertilizing -- This species has average fertilizer needs. For the first months, it's best to use liquid fertilizer, if you have it. Give a light dose (1/8 strength) of liquid fertilizer once a week. After the first month, you may switch to granular fertilizer, feeding about once every 2 months.
Transplanting -- When
your plants are 3 months old, you may gently transfer them to larger
pots, using a similar soil mix as mentioned earlier. Give shade for 2 weeks after
repotting. A 1 gallon (4 liter) pot can hold 2 or 3 plants until they multiply and fill the pot. Then you may divide them or move
them into a wider pot.
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