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Turquoise Puya

Iochroma acnistus

Acnistus australis

Growing tips

 

Container size -- Use a pot about twice as wide as the one it arrives in.  A few months later, you can transfer it to larger container (or into the ground, in suitable climates).

 For soil, use a well draining mix.  A typical mix is 2 parts potting soil to 1 part perlite or coarse horticultural sand.  An alternate mix is 1 part coco fiber to 1 part perlite, with some granular fertilizer mixed in.  If you tend to overwater your plants, use extra perlite or sand in the mix.

Transplanting tips -- Repot gently, and avoid letting the soil ball break apart, which can damage the roots.  Give it shade the first week after repotting, then increase the sun exposure slowly over a period of a few weeks, making sure the original soil ball stays moist.  If it should wilt when increasing the sun, reduce the light for a few days.  Eventually work up to about 75% sun.  In hotter climates, it will appreciate some afternoon shade. 

Watering -- It does best with evenly moist soil.  Don't let it dry out completely, but don't keep it constantly soggy either.

Fertilizing -- Feed about every 3 months during periods of active growth using an all-purpose fertilizer that contains micronutrients, following the dosage on the package.

 It may shed some or all of its leaves if winter temperatures are cold enough. Growth will resume in the spring.  Protect it from frost the first 2 years.  Older plants can tolerate light frosts, but may lose branches. 

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

Pruning & shaping -- Pruning isn't necessary, although you may prune it to shape it to your liking, such as removing excessive branches.  Removing lower branches encourages a tall, tree-like shape, while pruning the main tip encourages a bushier shape.

Bugs to watch for -- Spider mites (tiny "dots" under the leaves), mealybugs, aphids.  Try using insecticidal soap spray before using stronger remedies.

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

Enjoy your plant!

- Jeff

Strange Wonderful Things

 

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Turquoise Puya

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