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Turquoise Puya

 

Andringitra macrantha

 Dombeya macrantha / Andringitra macrantha

Growing the seeds

 

Plant your seeds promptly for best germination 

 Getting started -- Start by scraping the sides the seeds a few times over sandpaper or a nail file.  Then soak them in a cup of water for 24 hours (not more than 2 days).

 Use small containers or cups that have drainage holes.  For soil, use a well draining soil mix, such as 2 parts potting soil to 1 part perlite or coarse sand.  An alternate mix is equal parts of perlite and coir fiber.

 Fill each container with soil, but don't pack it down - just water it until evenly moist.  Place a seed on top, cover with 1/4 inch (5 mm) of soil, and water the top soil layer.

 Until the seeds sprout, ensure that the soil surface stays moist (but not soggy).  If you enclose the pots in a plastic dome or bag to maintain moisture, leave it open slightly to allow fresh air in. 

 Keep the pots between about 65-77 degrees F (18-25C), and a few degrees lower at night.  Avoid letting them get above 80F (27C) for prolonged periods.  I recommend placing a minimum/maximum thermometer next to the pots to ensure they stay at the right temperature.

 The seeds should begin sprouting within 8 weeks, but allow up to 16 weeks for any slow ones to sprout, especially at cooler temperatures.  Give your seedlings bright light, but avoid direct sunlight the first month.  A fluorescent or LED bulb kept 4 inches (10 cm) from the plants provides the right amount of light the first month.  After that, give some morning sun, and increase the sun gradually each week.  I recommend growing them indoors the first few months. 

Watering - Keep the soil evenly moist most of the time - but not soggy.  Don't let the pots dry out. 

Feeding -  The first 6-8 weeks, 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 6-8 weeks, you may switch to granular fertilizer that contains micronutrients (I use this).  Or continue feeding weekly with liquid fertilizer at 1/8 strength.

Repotting - When the plants are 2-3 months old, transplant them to a larger container.  Transplant carefully to avoid letting the soil ball break apart, which can damage the roots.  Watering the soil before repotting will help avoid this.  For the first week after repotting, give no direct sun.

 Climate - The plant grows at about 1600 meter elevation in Madagascar, where temperatures are mild all year and nights are cool.  In cultivation it has handled 90 degrees F (32 degrees C) with cool nights (below 65 F / 19 C).  It's possible that it won't thrive with the combination of hot days and warm nights.  My guess is that it is cold hardy to about 28 degrees F (-2 C).  I recommend protecting it from frost.  Over about 40% humidity is recommended.

 In hotter conditions, give the plants afternoon shade.  Keep the pot shaded to avoid overheating the roots, or use a light-colored, oversized ceramic pot.

 Pests to watch for - I've never seen insects on it, but watch for any pests that affect your other plants.  Be careful when choosing chemical remedies, as some may harm the plant.

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

Have fun growing them!

- Jeff

Strange Wonderful Things

 

 

 

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