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Turquoise Puya

 

"Small red" Bomarea

 Bomarea sp. - "Small red"

Germinating the seeds

 

 Plant your seeds immediately for the best germination rate

Getting started -- Soak your seeds in a cup of water overnight (not more than 24 hours).

 Plant each seed in separate, small pots about 3-4 inches (7-10 cm) tall, with drainage holes.  Fill each pot with a well-draining mix that is high in organic matter.  A typical mix is 2 parts potting soil to 1 part perlite, or 1 part coir fiber to 1 part perlite.  Don't add lime, but you may add some slow-release fertilizer. 

 Water the soil until evenly moist (but not soggy).  Put a seed on top and cover with about 1/4 inch (6 cm) of soil. Water the top soil until moist.

 Keep the pots in an area that will stay at 62-75 degrees F (16-23 C) during the day, and 55-70 F (12-21C) at night.  I have no information about sprouting them outside this temperature range and do not recommend it.  I suggest placing a minimum/maximum thermometer near the pots.

 Keep the soil surface from drying out, possibly by placing a plastic bag over the pots, or enclosing them in a plastic dome.  Punch a few small holes in the bag or dome to allow some fresh air in.

 The seeds can sprout at different times, beginning some time after about 6 weeks and continuing for another 2-4 months.  Most of the seeds should sprout by 4 months, but if any do not, move the pots into the refrigerator for 6 weeks, to simulate the passing of winter.  Put them in a sealed bag first, and ensure that they do not freeze.  Check on them after 1 week, to see if any have sprouted in the refrigerator.  Mark your calendar to remove them after 6 weeks.  They should sprout within 1-2 months after removing them from the refrigerator, if kept at the temperatures mentioned earlier.

Light -- Bomarea comes from the forests, where it gets tree-filtered sun most of the time.  It should be protected from strong sun exposure.  Filtered sun is best.  It does not need a whole lot of sun to be happy, just bright light.

Transplanting -- When the 2nd or 3rd shoot appears, you may gently transplant it to a larger container.  Work your way up to a larger pot as it grows, eventually to a 5-10 gallon (20-40 liter) pot. 

 Water the soil before repotting, to prevent the soil ball from breaking apart, which can disturb the roots. Always shade the plant from prolonged sun for a week after transplanting, and do not feed during this time either.

Soil -- Bomarea likes humus-rich, well-draining soil.  Most high-quality potting soils should work, with 1 part perlite (or pumice) added for every 2 parts soil.  Avoid adding lime, since Bomarea likes slightly acid soil.

Watering -- Bomarea likes soil that's evenly moist, but not soggy.  The soil should not be allowed to dry out.  If your tap water is very high in minerals, it may be best to use rain water or bottled water.

Climate -- I don't know the climate tolerances of this plant.  Most Bomareas come from cloud forests of the Andes mountains, where temperatures are mild and nights are cool.  Most Bomareas don't thrive in hot temperatures, especially if nights are warm.  It's possible that this plant will not perform well if temperatures consistently get above 85 F (30C) with warm nights.  It warmer climates, don't plant it where heat can collect, like against a sunny wall.  Mulch the plant to keep the roots cool and moist.  Shade the pot to keep it cool, or at least avoid using a black pot, which can overheat.    

 The foliage may be killed by frost, but the tubers should be hardy to at least 25 F (-4C).   Still, i recommend protecting the plant from freezing temperatures, especially the first year.

Fertilizing --  During periods of active growth, feed about every 2 months with a slow-release (pelleted or organic) fertilizer.

 It's normal for an older shoot to occasionally turn yellow and die, but if it seems excessive, it could be from not enough fertilizer (nitrogen) or overly dry soil.

Up and away -- Bomarea likes to climb upward, so give it something to play on, like a trellis, wires, or another plant.  Under 1/2 inch (1.5 cm) is the preferred thickness, so it can twine itself around easier.  The flowers appear from the growing tips, so do not trim any shoots.  If any shoots grow too tall, wrap them down or around your trellis and let it grow back up.  Or train them horizontally along wires. 

Pests to watch for -- Snails and slugs can be a problem in prone areas.  Watch for other pests that are common in your area.

By the way, do not dig up or separate the tubers, as this may damage the plant.

Feel free to email if you have any questions.

Happy growing!

- Jeff

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Turquoise Puya

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