Very Easy, Very Early Natural Season Garden Mums
Very early natural season garden mums have been an important breeding goal for decades. In the 1970s and 1980s, natural season garden mums were the only way garden mums were produced. Then, in the 1990s, retailers wanted sales in August and even July. Growers began blackclothing garden mums, as was done for pot mums, to meet this earlier demand. And some growers found it easier to keep blackclothing their mums for flowering in late August and September.
For growers who do not have a greenhouse equipped with an automatic blackcloth system, it is necessary to manually put blackcloth over the plants each night and take it off each morning. This takes a significant amount of time and effort, and some growers would prefer not to do this at all. Natural season production is still the best way to go, if there is no need for finished garden mums in early or mid-August.
How to make Very Early also very easy
There are some varieties available today that can flower naturally in mid-August. But these varieties require special treatment with Florel® and Fascination® plant growth regulators to get plant growth before they flower. These varieties are also challenging stock plants which makes cutting production difficult. Although the varieties do not need blackcloth for flowering in August, they do require quite a bit of effort to prevent premature flowering to grow a decent plant.
At Syngenta Flowers we have worked to select varieties that can flower naturally in the later half of August and are also able to size up before flowering without special chemical treatments. In addition, we look at stock plant production to secure a reliable supply of cuttings to growers. This perfect combination of growth and early flowering is not easy to come by, but we now have a group of varieties that can be ready to ship with bud color in Week 34 or 35 without blackcloth. We have seen this occur from north to south in the United States and even during the hot season of 2018.
What are the Very Easy, Very Early varieties and how do I grow them?
There are several new, as well as some existing varieties, that create the group for naturally flowering in August. See the table below for options in each color group, and some regionally specific additions that can be used.
Crop culture is very easy as well, utilizing standard mum propagation with night interruption mum lighting plus one Florel® application eight to 10 days after stick. Transplant and put plants outside between Week 24 and Week 26. Plan for one rooted cutting per pot in 8-inch or 9-inch pots and three rooted cuttings in 12-inch or 14-inch pots. Grow as you would any garden mum with standard fertilization and no special growth regulators. Plants will size up and have color for shipping in Week 34 or at least early in Week 35.
To find our 2021 New Mums Varieties, learn more here.
Important: Always read and follow label instructions. Some products may not be registered for sale or use in all states or counties and/or may have state-specifi c use requirements. Please check with your local extension service to ensure registration and proper use. Some or all of the varieties may be protected under one or more of the following: Plant Variety Protection, United States Plant Patents and/or Utility Patents and may not be propagated or reproduced without authorization.
To read the full advertorial, visit Greenhouse Product News (GPN).
Mark Smith is the Mums Technical Lead for Syngenta Flowers North America. To download a copy of this article, click here.
(Published on GPN, August 2020)