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Turquoise Puya

 

Impatiens tuberosa

Planting the tuber

 

 Use a well-draining soil mix, such as equal parts of potting soil and perlite or coarse sand.  An alternate mix is 1 part coco fiber to 2 parts perlite (use small- or medium-size perlite, not large chunks).  If you create your own mix using peat moss, add a small amount of agricultural lime (=dolomite lime, not hydrated or quick lime).  Add only teaspoon of lime per gallon of soil (3 cc per 4 liters.

 Use a pot about 3 times as wide as the tuber.  The bottom of the tuber usually will be more of a tan or greenish color rather than brown, and will often have roots.  You may be able to see the natural soil level for the tuber, but if not, bury about 1/3 to 1/2 of the tuber.  Keep the soil evenly moist (but not constantly saturated). 

 Until it sprouts, keep it between around 65 and 80F (18-27C), and above 60F (16C) at night.  I recommend placing a minimum/maximum thermometer near the pot.   It should sprout within a month or two, but it may take a little longer if it recently went dormant.

 Keep in a bright spot, with protection from strong sun.  See: "Growing indoors with LED lights".

Fertilizing -- It has average fertilizer needs.  Feed about every 2-3 months with an all-purpose fertilizer that contains micronutrients, following the dosage on the package.

Lighting -- It grows well in bright shade, dappled sunlight, or morning sun.  It might be able to handle more sunlight, but it will need more frequent watering and feeding.  Just avoid strong sunlight until the plants are a few months old.

Watering -- Aim to keep the soil moist, but not fully saturated, most of the time.  Avoid letting it dry out completely, which will cause the leaves to wilt.

Climate -- It grows in tropical lowland forests, where temperatures get in the upper 80s (31C).  It can often tolerate warmer conditions than that if nights are cool (below 65F / 18C).  It's possible that consistently hot days with warm nights might stress it.  The tuber can probably survive a light frost, but i recommend keeping the plant above 50 degrees F (10C). 

 Over about 50% humidity is best.  If it seems to suffer from low humidity, consider using an ultrasonic humidifier, sold at home improvement stores and some thrift shops.

Dormancy care - It's normal for the plant to drop it's branches and go dormant for 2-3 months per year.  When this happens reduce watering until the soil is just slightly moist.  Avoid letting it dry out completely.

Pests to watch for -- Watch for other pests that might affect your other plants, like aphids, spider mites, thrips, or mealy bugs.  Try using insecticidal soap spray before using stronger remedies, since some may harm the plant.

 If you have questions, feel free to contact me. 

Have fun growing them!

- Jeff

Strange Wonderful Things

 

 

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Turquoise Puya

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