Pot size -- I recommend starting your plant in a 1 to 3 gallon pot for a few months, then moving it to a 5-10 gallon pot. Use pots with drainage holes.
Soil -- Use a well draining mix. I use a mix of 1 part coir fiber to 1 part perlite. An alternate mix is 2 parts quality potting soil to 1 part perlite or coarse horticultural sand. Don't add lime to the mix.
Transplanting -- Transplant gently to avoid disturbing the soil ball. For the first 2 weeks after repotting, shade from strong sun, and give no liquid fertilizer.
Watering -- Aim to keep the soil evenly moist (but not saturated) most of the time. Don't let the soil dry out completely.
Light -- Cantua prefers mostly sunny conditions. Give it protection from strong afternoon sun in warmer conditions.
Climate -- The plant comes from the Andes mountains, where temperatures are mild all year and nights are cool. It's possible that it won't thrive if temperatures consistently get above 85 degrees F (28 degrees C) and nights are warm. It might be able to handle warmer days if nights are cool. I don't think it can survive much frost, so i recommend keeping it from freezing. Between 40 and 80% humidity is best.
If growing in a warmer climate, either shade the pot to keep the roots cool, or use an oversized, ceramic pot.
Fertilizing -- During periods of active growth, feed about 2-3 months with a general-purpose fertilizer that contains micronutrients (I use this).
It's normal for a some the older leaves to yellow and die throughout the year, but if it seems excessive, it could be from under-watering, or not enough fertilizer (nitrogen).
Pruning & training -- Cantua branches tend to grow long and arching. To keep the plant looking tidy, you can cut back the branches halfway. Or you can tie the branches to stakes to them upright. Do any pruning after flowering, in autumn or winter.
Pests to watch for -- Watch for any bugs that typically affect your other plants. Try using insecticidal soap before using stronger remedies, since some may harm the plant.
If you have any questions or problems, please email me.
Enjoy your plant!
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