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Turquoise Puya

 

 

Impatiens laurentii

Impatiens laurentii

Germinating the seeds

 


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

Getting started -- You may plant each seed in individual, small containers.  Or you plant them all in a single container, but it may be difficult to transplant them later.  Either way, use pots with drainage holes

 For soil, use a well draining mix high in organic matter.  A typical mix is 2 parts potting soil to 1 part perlite (use small- or medium-size perlite, not large chunks), or coarse sand.  An alternate mix is 1 part perlite to 1 part coir fiber, with some granular fertilizer mixed in.

 Fill the pots with soil and place a seed or 2 on the surface.  Tap the pot gently to settle the seeds into the soil cracks. 

 If you have long-fibered sphagnum moss, sprinkle a small amount over the surface.  This helps retain moisture around the seeds while allowing light to reach them, which aids germination.  The amount of moss to use is shown in this photo.  If you don't have the moss, sprinkle a small amount of your soil mix around the seeds.  Then add water until everything is evenly moist (but not soggy).

 Until the seeds sprout, ensure that the surface soil always stays moist.  A plastic dome or bag may be used to maintain moisture, but leave it open slightly to allow some fresh air in.  You may need to drip a few drops of water over the seeds every day to keep the seeds moist.

 The ideal temperature for germination is between 65 to 77 degrees F (18-25C).  A little cooler at night is ok.  Avoid letting them get above 80 F (27C).  I recommend placing a minimum/maximum thermometer near the pots, especially if using a heating mat.

 Keep them in a bright spot out of direct sun.  An LED or fluorescent bulb kept 4 inches (10 cm) away provides the right amount of lighting (See: "Growing indoors with LED lights"). 

 They should start sprouting in 3 to 5 weeks, but may take up to 8 weeks to start.  For the first month after sprouting, continue keeping the soil surface moist.

Growing onward...

Lighting -- This Impatiens prefers bright shade, or filtered sunlight.  Avoid prolonged direct sun, unless it's early-morning sun.

Transplanting -- When your plants are 2-3 months old, you may gently transfer them to a larger pot.  Water the soil first, and avoid letting the soil ball break apart, which can damage the roots.  After transplanting, avoid packing the soil down, and do not fertilize the first week.

Watering -- Aim to keep the soil moist, but not soggy, most of the time. You may use a moisture meter probe to monitor the moisture levels down in the root zone.

Climate -- This Impatiens prefers mild temperatures.  In warmer areas, give it plenty of shade and moisture. Protect from freezing temperatures.  Above about 40% humidity is best.

Fertilizing -- The first 2 months, feed weekly with a small amount of dilute (1/8 strength) liquid fertilizer.  Hydroponic fertilizer is ideal for seedlings, because it is easily absorbed and contains all essential nutrients.  After 6-8 weeks, you may switch to a granular fertilizer that contains micronutrients, following the dosage on the package.  Or continue feeding weekly with liquid fertilizer at 1/8 strength.

 If the older leaves appear pale/yellowish, the soil may be too dry down in the root zone.  If soil moisture levels have been fine, the plant may need more nitrogen fertilizer.. especially if light levels are high.

Pests to watch for -- aphids, scale (dark disks on the stems), mealy bugs.  Try using insecticidal soap before using stronger remedies, since some may harm the plant.  Contact me if you have questions.

Have fun growing them!

- Jeff

Strange Wonderful Things

 

 

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