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Turquoise Puya

 

 

Cochliostema odoratissimum

Cochliostema odoratissimum

Germinating the seeds

 


When to plant --
Plant your seeds the day they arrive for best germination.

Getting started -- You may plant each seed in individual, small containers, or you can plant them all in a single container and transplant them a few months later.  Either way, use pots with drainage holes

 For soil, use a well draining mix high.  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 coir fiber to 1 part perlite, with some slow-release fertilizer mixed in.

 Fill the pots with soil and place a seed on the surface. Cover with a very thin layer of soil (about 1/8 inch / 3 mm).  Add water until everything is evenly moist (but not fully saturated).

 Until the seeds sprout, ensure that the surface soil always stays moist.  If you enclose the pots in a plastic container to maintain moisture, leave it open a crack 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.

 They germinate well between 68 and 84 degrees F (20-29C).  A little cooler at night is ok.  I recommend placing a minimum/maximum thermometer near the pots.

  They should start germinating in within 2 months, but may take up to 4 months to start.  Increase air ventilation slightly after sprouting to prevent rot, but continue keeping the soil surface moist for 2-3 weeks after sprouting.

Growing onward...

Lighting -- Give bright, filtered light the first few months.  A fluorescent or LED bulb kept 4 inches (10 cm) away provides the right amount of light.  Protect from direct sun the first 3-4 months. 

Fertilizing -- The first 6 weeks, feed weekly with a small amount of dilute (1/8 strength) liquid fertilizer.  Hydroponic fertilizer is ideal for young seedlings, since it is easily absorbed and contains all essential nutrients.  After 6 weeks, you may switch to a granular fertilizer that contains micronutrients, feeding at half the dosage on the package.  Or continue feeding weekly with dilute liquid fertilizer.  Once the plants are 6 months old, reduce the feeding to bright out the best color.  Using too much fertilizer may encourage more green in the leaves.

Transplanting -- When your plants are 3 months old, you may gently transfer them to a larger pot.  Do it gently to avoid damaging the roots.

Watering -- Aim to keep the soil moist, but not soggy. Never let it dry out completely.  You may use a moisture meter probe to monitor the moisture levels down in the root zone.  You don't need to water the "tank" of the leaves, just the soil.

Climate --
It's a tropical species that prefers mild to warm conditions, doing fine in normal household temperatures.  It can tolerate cool nights, but it needs protection from frost. 

 Over about 50% humidity is best.  If it seems to suffer in low humidity indoors, consider using an ultrasonic room humidifier, sold at home improvement stores and some thrift shops.

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

Have fun growing them!

- Jeff

Strange Wonderful Things

 

 

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