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Turquoise Puya

 

 

Pitcairnia xanthocalyx

Pitcairnia xanthocalyx

Germinating the seeds

 


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

Getting started -- You may either plant them all in a single container, or use several smaller containers and plant a few seeds in each.  Either way, use pots with drainage holes

 For soil, use a well draining mix that is high in organic matter.  A typical mix is 2 parts potting soil to 1 part perlite or coarse sand.  An alternate mix is 1 part perlite to 1 part coir fiber, with some slow-release fertilizer mixed in.

 Fill the pots with soil and place a seed or 2 on the surface.

  •  If you have long-fiber sphagnum moss (not ground peat moss), sprinkle a thin layer over the pot, to retain moisture around the seeds while allowing light to reach them, which aids germination.  This photo shows how much moss to use. 
  •  If you do not have sphagnum moss, sprinkle a very thin layer of your soil mix over the pot (about 1/16th of an inch / 2 mm).  It does not need to completely cover the surface - it's just to maintain moisture around the seeds.

 Next add water until everything is evenly moist (but not soggy).

 Until the seeds sprout, ensure that the soil surface always stay moist.  A plastic dome or bag may be used to maintain near-100% humidity, but leave it open a crack to allow some fresh air in.  You may need to drip a few drops of water over the seeds once or twice a day to keep them moist.

 The ideal temperature for germination is between 65 to 80 degrees F (18-27C).  A little cooler at night is ok.  Avoid letting them get too warm.  I recommend placing a minimum/maximum thermometer near the pots, especially if using a heating mat.

 The seeds need some light to germinate.  A fluorescent or LED bulb kept 4 inches (10 cm) away provides the right amount of light.  Protect from direct sun. 

 They should start germinating in 3 to 5 weeks and continue for another few weeks.  Continue keeping the soil surface moist until they are a month old; then you may allow the soil surface to dry between waterings.  Give bright light but avoid giving direct sun until they are a few weeks old. 

Growing onward...

Lighting --
It is happiest in part-sun, with some protection from strong afternoon sun.  Acclimate them to increased sun levels slowly to avoid burning.

Transplanting -- When your plants are 2-3 months old, you may gently transfer them to a larger pot.  For the first week after transplanting, shade from sun, and give no liquid fertilizer.

Watering -- Aim to keep the soil evenly moist most of the time (but not soggy). You may use a moisture meter probe to monitor the moisture levels down in the root zone.  Give less water in cooler temperatures, and keep relatively dry when temperatures drop approach freezing.

Climate --
Adult plants tolerate a wide variety of temperatures, reportedly handling the low 20s (-6C) as well as high heat.  But for the first 9-12 months, i recommend being cautious about exposing the plants to temperature extremes, especially freezing conditions.

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

 Have fun growing them!

- Jeff

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