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Turquoise Puya

 

Boophone haemanthoides

Boophone haemanthoides

 

Planting the bulb

 

Pot size -- The first 2 or 3 years, keep it in a pot about 1-2 quarts (1-2 liters) in volume.  Use a tall pot about 6 inches (15 cm) tall or more, because it has a deep root system.

Soil -- Use a very fast draining mix.  A typical mix is 3 parts perlite, pumice rock, or coarse horticultural sand to 1 part coir fiber, compost, or potting soil. 

 Plant the neck of the bulb above soil level.  Add water until the mix is evenly moist, but not fully saturated.

Growing onward...

It comes from a climate where temperatures are mild during the winter growing period (October to April in the northern hemisphere).  During this time it can take warm conditions if nights are cool (below 65F / 18C).  It's possible that the combination of hot days with warm nights might stress it.  In hotter conditions, keep the pot shaded, perhaps by placing it inside a second larger pot that is then filled with soil.

 I believe it can take a few degrees of frost, but it's best to protect it from freezing temperatures, especially the first few years.

 Give it ample sun during the winter growing period.  In hotter climates, some afternoon shade might be needed in Spring.

Fertilizing --  Use a general-purpose fertilizer that contains micronutrients, following the dosage on the package.  Avoid feeding after March (September in the southern hemisphere).

Dormancy -- The leaves will begin to die back around late Spring as the bulb prepares for its summer dormancy.  When this happens, reduce the watering.  Once the leaves have died, keep the soil almost dry until autumn.  Avoid letting the soil get bone dry during dormancy, but don't let it get too wet or the bulb could rot. 

 In autumn, keep the soil slightly moist to encourage the bulb to come out of dormancy.  Once growth has commenced, keep the soil evenly moist (but not fully saturated).

 If you grow your bulb indoors under artificial lighting, it might not go dormant the first summer. 

 It's best to do any repotting during dormancy.  When the bulb nears maturity, avoid repotting it or disturbing the roots, as this could delay flowering for a few years. 

 If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

Have fun growing it!

- Jeff

Strange Wonderful Things

 

 

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