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Turquoise Puya

 

Podachaenium eminens

Podachaenium eminens

Giant Tree Daisy

 

Germinating the seeds

 

When to plant -- Plant them when you receive them for best results.

Getting started -- You may plant them in small containers with drainage holes, such as seedling starter trays.

 Use well-draining soil.  I use a mix of 1 part coir fiber to 1 part perlite (use small- or medium-grade perlite, not coarse-grade).  An alternate mix is 2 parts quality potting soil to 1 part perlite.  Don't add lime to your mix.

 Fill the pots with your soil and sprinkle 2 to 4 seeds on top.  If you have long-fibered sphagnum moss, sprinkle a small amount over the surface.  This helps retain moisture around the seeds while allowing light to reach them, which aids germination.  The amount of moss to use is shown in this photo.  If you don't have the moss, sprinkle a small amount of your soil mix around the seeds. 

 Then add water until everything is evenly moist (but not soggy).  Until they sprout, ensure that the soil surface never dries out.  An easy way to maintain high moisture by enclosing the pots in a plastic container or bag - just leave it open a crack to let in fresh air.  You may need to drip a few drops of water on the surface each day to keep it moist.

 They sprout well between about 65 to 77 F (18-25C).  I have no knowledge about how they will germinate outside that temperature range.  I recommend placing a minimum/maximum thermometer near the pots.

 Keep them in a bright spot out of direct sun.  A fluorescent or LED bulb kept 4 inches (10 cm) away provides the right amount of light.  They should begin sprouting within 4-6 weeks, but may take up to 10 weeks.  Continue giving bright, filtered light.

Fertilizing -- The first 6-8 weeks, feed every 7 days with a very dilute (1/8 strength) liquid fertilizer.  Hydroponic fertilizer is ideal for this, because it is easily absorbed and contains all essential nutrients.  I use General Hydroponics Flora fertilizer, using 1 teaspoon/gallon (5 mL per 4 liters).  After 6-8 weeks, you may switch to a granular fertilizer that contains micronutrients, following the dosage on the package.  Or continue feeding weekly with liquid fertilizer at 1/8 strength.

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. 

Repotting -- Once they are at least 3 inches tall (7 cm), you may repot them to larger containers about 1 quart (1 liter) in size.  Repot gently to avoid disturbing the roots.

 Repot again after 4 to 6 months.. or plant in the ground in suitable areas.  If you want to keep it in a pot, the final pot size depends on how large you choose to let it grow.  You may prune your plant to any size that is convenient.

Growing onward..

Climate -- It comes from mountainous areas where the temperature is mild and nights are cool. This species seems more tolerant of heat than typical cloud forest plants.  It has handled temperatures in the upper 80s to low 90s (33C).  It is certainly worth a try in warmer areas like Florida, although it's possible that it won't bloom due to the heat.  If your plant appears stressed from heat, shade it from sun and keep it moist.

 Frost will damage the foliage, but the plant can probably take at least several degrees of frost (-3C), with new growth emerging from the base. Still, i recommend protecting it from frost.

 It might not thrive in very dry air - over about 40% humidity is best.  If your plants seem to suffer from low humidity indoors, consider using an ultrasonic humidifier.

Lighting -- Older plants prefer filtered sunlight or morning sun, with some protection from strong afternoon sun, which may wilt the leaves.  The leaves seem to grow the largest in shade.

If you have any questions or problems, please contact me.

Have fun growing them!

- Jeff

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Turquoise Puya

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