Even with the best genetics from Gediflora you have to treat your starting plant material properly to achieve the best uniformity and quality. Keep in mind that you will most likely determine how successful you crop is at the time of transplanting.
It is best to use cuttings that are no longer than 1.5” or plugs that are 14-18 days old from sticking and 1.5” tall from the soil level.
(Figure 1: Ideal size of the rooted cutting, 1.5" tall from the soil level.
We recommend that you don’t overfill your pots with soil, any excess will most likely spill on the floor and become a breeding ground for insects and diseases. The soil level should be even with the top of the container and will eventually settle down at first watering.
We recommend that you plant Gediflora garden mums very deep. The tip of the cutting should be positioned even with the rim of the pot after planting. It applies to both rooted and unrooted cuttings.
(Figure 2: Deep transplanting of rooted cuttings. The tip of the cutting is leveled with the rim of the pot.)
(Figure 3: Deep planting (left) vs. shallow planting (right) of unrooted cuttings. Direct stick.)
It is expected to see the bottom leaves to be covered with soil after deep planting. You shouldn’t be concerned about any tissue rot at that point, the bottom shoots will emerge from the soil very quickly and provide support for the entire plant.
(Figure 4: Deep transplanting, bottom leaves will be covered after first watering.)
(Figure 5: Bottom shoots emerging from the soil 1 week after planting and forming support for the entire plant.)
The deep planting will prevent plants from getting wobbly and developing mushroom like shape without any foliage at the base. Such plants are very unattractive and most likely will not sell. Plants that are planted deep will less likely require any PGR applications, are less expensive to produce and will have better sell-through at retail.
It is also very important that you transplant exactly in the center of the pot.
(Figure 6: Off-center planting (left) will cause lopsided growth in finish stages.)
(Figure 7: Deep, center planting (left) vs. shallow, off-center planting (right).
On average around 10% of all crops are planted off-center which is also a leading cause of shrinkage in garden mum production.
All Gediflora mums have the ability to self-pinch and should be treated as no pinch varieties. There is no benefit in pinching Belgian Mums, by doing so, you will increase the production cost and could ruin the uniformity of the entire crop. Keep in mind that everyone pinches at a different height and machine trimming is also far from perfect and causes extensive tissue damage.
Perhaps the only time we would recommend pinch is when plugs get too stretchy. It is best to leave 5-6 leaves on the plant after pinch.
(Figure 8: Different plug sizes from the same tray after pinch.)
(Figure 9: Leave 5-6 leaves if plugs get stretchy and pinch is necessary.)
I hope you adopted some of these production practices in your greenhouse last season and they helped you to improve quality of your garden mums. I will include more production tips on spacing, watering and fertilization in our next newsletter.
Gediflora - Sales and Technical Support