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Turquoise Puya

 

Cryptostephanus vansonii

Cryptostephanus vansonii

 

Germinating the seeds

 

When to plant -- Plant your seeds right away for the best results.

Getting started -- Start by soaking them in a cup of water for 24 hours (not more than 48 hours).

Pot size - You may use small pots about 3 or 4 inches tall (7-10 cm) and 2 to 3 inches (5-8 cm) wide.  The pots need drainage holes.

 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.  Do not add lime to the mix.

 Fill the pots with the soil mix, place a seed on top, and cover with about 1/4 inch (7 mm) of soil.  Add water until evenly moist (but not soggy).

 Until they sprout, ensure that the surface soil stays moist.  If you place the pots in a plastic container or bag to maintain moisture, leave it open slightly to allow fresh air to enter.

Temperature -- Aim to keep them between 65 and 78 F (18-26C) during the day, and a little cooler at night (60-74F = 16-23C).  I have no experience outside this temperature range.  I recommend placing a minimum/maximum thermometer near the pots.

 Keep them in a bright spot out of direct sun.  The seeds will sprout at different times, with most of them sprouting between 1 and 3 months.  The germination rate with fresh seeds is high, so be patient with any slow ones.

Lighting the seedlings -- Once your seeds sprout, keep them in a bright spot, with protection from afternoon sun.  A fluorescent or LED bulb  kept 4 inches (10 cm) away provides the right amount of light.

Watering:  Once they are 3 weeks old, you may allow the surface soil 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 don't keep it constantly soggy. 

 If your water supply is very high in minerals (= "hard water"), you may need to use bottled water or rainwater.

 If your seedlings happens to rise out of the soil and the root becomes exposed, simply pile a little soil around the root.

Growing on...

Climate -- It has similar cultural requirements as Clivia, growing best in mild temperatures with cool nights.  I don't have information on how much heat it can take, but it's possible that it won't thrive if temperatures consistently get above 85 degrees F (29 degrees C) with nights above 65 degrees F (18 C). Over about 40-45% humidity is best.

Lighting -- It likes filtered sun or morning sun.  Protect it from strong afternoon sun.

Fertilizing -- The first 2 months, feed every 7 days with a very dilute (1/8 strength) liquid fertilizer.  Hydroponic fertilizer is ideal for this, because it is easily absorbed and contains all essential nutrients.  I use General Hydroponics Flora fertilizer, using 1 teaspoon/gallon (5 mL per 4 liters).  After 2 months, you may switch to granular fertilizer that contains micronutrients (I use this).  Or continue feeding weekly with liquid fertilizer at 1/8 strength.

 Repotting -- Once your seedlings are 2 months old, you may repot them to larger containers about 1 quart (1 liter) in size.  For soil, use a loose growing medium, similar to what is used for growing Clivia.  A typical mix is 1 part fine bark, 1 part potting soil or compost, and 1 part perlite, pumice, or coarse horticultural sand.  Mix in some granular fertilizer. 

 After 12-18 months, repot them to a 1-2 gallon (4-8 liter) container, which can hold them indefinitely.  Repotting mature plants may delay flowering.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

Have fun growing them!

- Jeff

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