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Turquoise Puya

 

Medinilla crassata

Medinilla crassata - Chandelier Plant

"Chandelier Plant"

 

Germinating the seeds

 

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

Pot size - Use small pots, or cups with drainage holes, about 1.5 to 3 inches (4-7 cm) tall and wide.

Soil -- 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.

 Fill the pots with soil and place a seed or 2 on the surface.  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 the seeds sprout, ensure that the surface soil always stays moist.  A plastic dome or bag may be used to maintain moisture, but leave it open slightly to allow some fresh air in.  You may need to drip a few drops of water over the seeds every day to keep the seeds moist.

 Aim to keep the seeds between 65 and 78 F (18-26C).  I have no information about how well they germinate outside that temperature range.  I recommend placing a minimum/maximum thermometer near the pots, especially if using a heating mat. 

 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 in 6 weeks, but allow up to 12 weeks for any slow ones, especially at cooler temperatures.

 The seedlings are small when they sprout, and they grow slowly, so they require close monitoring the first few 2-3 months, to ensure they are not neglected.

Lighting -- After they sprout, keep them in a bright spot, with protection from afternoon sun.

Watering:  After the seedlings are 5 weeks old, you may allow the soil surface to dry out between waterings, but aim to keep the rest of the soil evenly moist most of the time.  Never let it dry out completely, but also avoid keeping it constantly soggy. 

 If your water supply is very high in minerals (= "hard water"), it's best to use bottled water or rainwater.

Fertilizing -- Feed weekly with a small amount of dilute (1/8 strength) liquid fertilizer.  Hydroponic fertilizer is ideal for this, because it is easily absorbed and contains all essential nutrients.  After 3 months, you may switch to a granular fertilizer, feeding at half the dosage on the package.  Or continue feeding weekly with dilute liquid fertilizer.

Climate -- The plant will probably need to be grown indoors, except in Zones 10 or above.  Ideal temperatures seem to be between 55 and 85 degrees F (13-29C).  I have no information how it will do outside that temperature range.  Since it comes from forests, it enjoys filtered sunlight.  Adult plants can handle some sun, but may need some shade from strong afternoon sun. Over about 50% humidity is best.

Repotting -- Once your seedlings are at least 1.5 inches tall (4 cm), you may repot them to larger containers.  Repot gently to avoid damaging the root hairs.  Repot into a porous mix, such as half potting soil and half fine-grade orchid bark (or perlite).  For the first week or two after repotting, shade from sun and give no fertilizer.

Insects to watch for -- Look for any insects that you find on your other houseplants.  Aphids, mealy bugs, and spider mites might attack them, but insecticidal soap spray can control them.

Have fun growing them!

- Jeff

Strange Wonderful Things

 

 
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