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Turquoise Puya

 

Dyckia rariflora

Dyckia rariflora

Germinating the seeds

 

Plant your seeds when received for the best germination rate.

 

 The seeds are easy to germinate.  You may grow them in individual pots, but it may be easiest to start them together in a communal pot, and then separate them later.  Either way, use pots with drainage holes.

 Fill the pots with a sandy soil mix, such as 1 part potting soil to 2 or 3 parts coarse sand.  On top of this, place a inch (6 mm) layer of potting soil, which will help keep the seeds moist.

 Add water until the soil is evenly moist (but not soggy). Place the seeds on the surface, about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart from each other (or farther).  Drip some water on the seeds to moisten them.  Light helps the seeds germinate, so don't bury them. 

 Until the seeds sprout, ensure that the surface soil does not dry out.  If you enclose the pots in a plastic dome or bag to maintain moisture, leave it open a crack for some fresh air to enter.  You may need to drip a few drops of water over them each day or two.

 The seeds germinate well between 66-76 degrees F (19-25C).  I have no experience outside that temperature range.  I suggest placing a thermometer near the pots, since the temperature can vary in different parts of a room. 

 Keep the pots in bright light away from direct sun.  A fluorescent bulb kept 5 inches (12 cm) away provides the right amount of light.

 The seeds can begin sprouting within 2-3 weeks, and continue for another month or so.  Continue keeping the surface soil moist until the seedlings have their second set of leaves - then you may let the surface dry out between waterings. 

 When the seedlings have their third set of leaves, you may gently pull them and transplant them into individual pots.  Wait a week after repotting them before giving them sun.  Start them with some morning sun, and transition them to stronger light gradually, over a period of 2-3 months.  After around 9-12 months they should be ready for full sun.

Long-term care:  If your potting soil contains nutrients (check the label), your seedlings shouldn't need feeding the first 2-3 weeks.  Then feed about every 2 months while actively growing with a slow-release (pelleted) fertilizer.

 While the plants are fairly drought tolerant, they will look the best and grow the fastest when given adequate water, so avoid letting the soil completely dry out.  Don't let the pots sit in a tray of water.  If you are in a heavy rainfall area, you may want to use more sand in your mix.

 Repot your plants to a larger container whenever necessary. Protect your plants from frost the first winter or two.  Also keep them fairly dry during the winter, unless temperatures are above freezing.  In very hot conditions, they may appreciate some afternoon shade.  

Have fun growing them!

- Jeff

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Turquoise Puya

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