Germinating the seeds
When to plant -- Plant them when you receive them for best results.
Getting started -- Soak them for 10 minutes in a mix of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water, to sterilize them.
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.
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 77° F (20-25°C) most of the time. Avoid letting them get above 82° F (28°C) or below 65° F (18°C) 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, move them to 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, 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.
Climate -- It does well between 40 and 85°F (5-29°C). I have no information about how it does outside that temperature range. I suggest protecting it from frost. Over about 40% humidity is recommended.
Lighting -- Adult plants like part-sun. They may need some shading from strong afternoon sun.
Feeding -- This plant 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, or the soil could be 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, with a 10 gallon (40 liter) pot being suitable for an unpruned plant. 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!
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