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Turquoise Puya

 

Sonchus canariensis

"Tree Sonchus"

 

Germinating the seeds

 

You may use small pots about 2-3 inches tall (5-8 cm), with drainage holes.  For soil, use a well-draining mix of about 2 parts potting soil to 1 part perlite.  Fill each pot and don't compress the soil - simply water it so that it's uniformly moist (use bottled spring water if your tap water is bad). 

Remove any white fuzz from each seed, and place 2-3 seeds on the surface of each pot.  Sprinkle a very thin layer (1/16 inch / 2 mm) of vermiculite on top.  If you don't have vermiculite, use the above soil mix.  The seeds need some light to germinate, so don't bury them too deeply.  Carefully water the top soil layer. 

Until the seeds sprout, ensure that the top layer always stays moist (but not soggy).  If you enclose the pots in plastic to maintain moisture, leave it open a crack for some fresh air to enter.  You may need to drip a few drops of water on the seeds each day. 

Keep the pots between 65-77 degrees F (18-25C) during the day (a little cooler at night is ok).  I recommend using a thermometer to ensure that the soil stays at the right temperature.  Keep them in a bright spot, but not in direct sun.  A fluorescent bulb kept 5 inches (12 cm) away provides the right amount of light. 

The seeds should begin sprouting within 2-3 weeks, but allow up to 6-8 weeks for any slow ones to sprout.  If you kept the pots enclosed in plastic, open it some more so the seedlings don't get rot.  After they are 3-4 weeks old, you may remove the plastic dome or bag.

Give the pots bright light but not direct sun yet.  The seedlings have small root systems when young, so water whenever the soil surface looks dry (but again, don't keep it soggy).

Repotting - I recommend waiting 4-6 weeks before transplanting to a larger pot.  Transplant carefully to avoid breaking apart the soil ball, which can damage the delicate roots.

Light & humidity - Once they have a few leaves, you may give them some morning sun or dappled sunlight.  Transition them to more sun very gradually.  Over about 40% humidity is recommended.

Fertilizing - Most potting soils contain fertilizer, and if yours does, your seedlings should need no fertilizer the first 3 weeks.  If you used an medium without nutrients, like coir fiber, feed when the seedlings have their first true leaves with a very dilute (1/8th strength) fertilizer, and repeat weekly.

For tips on growing older plants, see here.

 

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Turquoise Puya

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