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Turquoise Puya

 

"Red Butterfly Wing"

Christia vespertilionis - Red Butterfly Wing

Christia vespertilionis

 

Germinating the seeds

 

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

  Getting started -- You may start the seeds in small containers 2 inches (5 cm) tall that have drainage holes.  The soil mix should be loose and well-draining.  A typical mix is equal parts of potting soil and perlite or coarse sand.  Fill each container with the soil mix.  Don't compress the soil.  Place 1 or 2 seeds on top, and cover with about 1/4 inch (6 mm) of soil.  Water the soil so it is evenly moist (but not soggy).

 Until the seeds sprout, ensure that the top layer of soil does not dry out.  If you enclose the pots in a plastic container to maintain humidity, allow some fresh air to enter either by punching small holes in it, or by leaving it open a crack.

 The seeds germinate well at 70-80 degrees F (21-27C).  I recommend placing a thermometer near the pots, since the temperature can vary in different parts of a room.

 The seeds should start sprouting in 4 weeks, but allow up to 10 weeks for any slow ones to sprout.

 I recommend growing the seedlings indoors for at least the first 6 weeks.  Filtered sun or bright shade is best when they are young.  Or you may use a fluorescent bulb kept about 3-5 inches (7-12 cm) from the plants.  After 2 or 3 months, you may give them more sunlight if you wish.  I have not grown the plant in strong afternoon sun, and i suspect it might burn the leaves.  Over about 40% humidity is best.

 Repot to a larger pot after about 8 weeks.  Transplant gently to avoid breaking apart the soil ball.  A mature plant may be kept in a 1 gallon (4 liter) pot, although you may keep smaller plants in 1 quart (1 liter) pots for a few months.

 This species has average fertilizer needs.  Feed about every 2 months with a slow-release (pelleted) fertilizer.  If your potting soil contains nutrients (check the label), your newborn seedlings shouldn't need fertilizer the first 3 weeks. 

 It's normal for some of the older leaves to occasionally turn yellow and drop, but if it seems excessive, the plant may need more nitrogen fertilizer.  Or the soil may be too dry.

Pests to watch for - spider mites, whitefly, aphids.  Try using insecticidal soap before using stronger remedies, since some may harm the plant.

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

- Jeff

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