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Turquoise Puya

 

Fuchsia venusta

Germinating the seeds

 

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

 Getting started -- Use small containers or cups that have drainage holes. 

 For soil, use a well draining mix.  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, since the plant likes slightly-acid soil.

 Fill the containers, place a seed or 2 on top of each, and sprinkle a very thin layer of soil on top - just enough to barely cover the seeds, because light helps the seeds germinate.  Add water until evenly moist (but not soggy).

 Until the seeds sprout, ensure that the soil surface always stays moist.  An easy way maintain moisture is to enclose the pots in a plastic dome or bag.  Leave it open a crack to allow some fresh air in.  You may need to drip a few drops of water on the seeds every day keep them moist.

 Keep the pots at about 65-77 degrees F (18-25C).  A little cooler at night is ok, but avoid letting them get above 79F (26C).  I recommend placing a minimum/maximum thermometer near the pots.

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

 The seeds should begin sprouting in 4 to 6 weeks, but allow up to 10 weeks for any slow ones to sprout, especially at cooler temperatures. Give your seedlings bright light, but avoid direct sunlight while they are small.  I recommend growing them indoors for at least 2-3 months. 

Fertilizing -- The first 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 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.

Growing onward...

Watering - This Fuchsia likes evenly moist soil.  Don't let the pots dry out, but don't keep them soggy either. 

Climate -- It thrives when temperatures are mild during the day and cool at night.  The plant might not thrive if temperatures regularly get above 85 F (29C), and nights are above 65 degrees F (18 C).  In warmer conditions, give the plants afternoon shade, and keep the pot shaded.  The plant can probably only survive a light frost (26F/-3C).  It's best to protect it from freezing temperatures.

 Over about 40-45% humidity is best.  If your plants seem stressed from low humidity, consider using an ultrasonic humidifier, sold at home improvement stores and some thrift shops.

 Pruning -- Feel free to shape it as you wish by removing some branches when it gets older.

Pests to watch for - Watch for any bugs that can affect your other plants.  Try using insecticidal soap before using stronger remedies, since some may harm the plant.

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

Have fun growing them!

- Jeff

Strange Wonderful Things

 

 
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Turquoise Puya

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