Mum Growing

Report
Garden Mums
Tony Glover
Cullman County Extension Coordinator
Thanks to Dr. Kessler – Auburn University
Scorpions and Centaurs
Introduction
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Dendranthema × grandiflora
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Traditional fall-flowering pot crop
Greenhouse or outdoor container crop
Cultivars
Scorpions and Centaurs
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Garden Mum cultivars
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Wide assortment of flower colors and forms
Plant shapes and sizes
Flowering response (time) in the fall (early, mid, late, early
season extenders, late season extenders)
Basic color classifications
useful for production and marketing
 Yellow, pink, lavender, white
Bronze, red, salmon, orange
Production colors
 Yellow 32%
 Pink, purple and lavender combined 22%
 Bronze and Reds at 18% each
 Salmon at 6%
 White at 4%
Cultivars
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Classified by flower form
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Shape, number, and arrangement of ray and disk
flowers
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Decorative and daisy (eye) by far the most popular
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76% and 22% of market, respectively
Plant form
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Daisies, quill, spider, pompon, decoratives among others
From tall and upright to low, spreading mounds
Grower strategy
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Several good performers in each color group
And in each response group; early, mid, late and season
extenders
Small trial of new introductions
Flower Form Key
Cushion mums are not a flower form but a name used for
early-flowering, low, bushy mums. Most resemble
decorative.
Daisies or Singles mums have
daisy-like flowers with yellow
centers.
Decorative mums have double or
semi-double flowers and usually
grow to over 18 inches tall.
Pompon mums have small ballshaped flowers, on plants that are
usually under 18 inches tall.
Spider mums have petals that are
long and tubular with hooked ends.
Almost spider-like in appearance.
Spoon mums have petals that are
spoon shaped.
Quill mums have petals that are
straight, long and tubular that
resemble a feather quill.
Containers
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Knowledge of market key to choosing containers
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Most production, 8" by 5" black plastic ‘mum pan'
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Small growers for local sales should go larger
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Wider range of sizes and styles desired by retailers
Perceived quality, sales, and profitability
Different containers for different markets
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Upscale retail: decorative pots, specimen pots
Landscape: quart, 1-, or 2-gallon nursery pots
2.5 gal squat
Mass market: 4- and 4.5-inch pots
nursery pot
Hanging baskets (low spreading cultivars)
2 – 3 gallon black nursery pots or 12- 14” plastic terra cotta pots
Propagation
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Propagation alternatives
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Specialized propagator/breeders
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Rooted cuttings (most growers)
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Unrooted cuttings (propagation facilities)
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Less cost per cutting but more time and control needed
Bare-root a perishable product
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Shipped bare-root
Shipped in cell packs or large plugs
Pot soon after arrival
Root disturbed + shipping = “transplant shock”
Cell packs
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No transplant shock but “bonzi effect” if delayed potting
Inspected for problems upon arrival!
Growing Media
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Many different combinations of components used
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Course, loose, and well drained (especially outdoors)
First decision
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Purchase a commercially prepared mix (start with this option)
Or mix your own (try small numbers with this option)
Contents
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Water and nutrient holding component(s)
Peat moss and composted bark
Inert drainage promoting component(s)
Perlite, sand, vermiculite
pH of 5.7-6.2 using dolomitic limestone
Micronutrient – most mixes have
Planting
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Rooted cuttings planted mid June
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Plant in 18 count landscaper trays
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Planted shallow with roots just covered
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Plant in moist mix, water soon after potting
Fertilize 200-250 ppm nitrogen, 20-20-20, immediately
Do not let transplants wilt
Fertilize twice weekly
Grow in trays until foliage starts to crowd and plant is well
rooted (about 3 weeks)
Growing Area
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Growing area choices outdoor area
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Full sun, as level as possible
Black plastic or gravel weed
control
Abundant, dependable, high
quality water supply
Avoid light pollution (delay
flowering)
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Night lighting from street lights
Security lights
Busy street with frequent
automobile lights
Spacing
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Space in straight rows with ample room for
growth
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Space determined by pot size and irrigation
method
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6" pots, 12-15" apart
8" pots, 18-24" apart
12-14” or 2-3 gal pots,
24-30" apart
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Irrigation
Garden Mums require
plentiful amounts of water!
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Not a simple task in summer
Outdoors, weather can play a
large part
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Rain reduces irrigation need so
pay attention
Hot, dry weather increases
irrigation - da
Media allowed to dry only slightly
between watering
Garden Mums should not be
allowed to wilt (until near
maturity)
Summer heat - multiple watering
per day (normally 2)
Irrigation
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Some form of automatic watering system
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Once plants placed at final spacing outdoors
Overhead sprinkler-type watering systems
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Many growers use
Waste a lot of water
Poor watering uniformity
Keep the foliage wet for extended periods
Microtube systems
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More expensive
Greater uniformity
Less wasted water
Keeps foliage and flowers dry
System must be ‘designed' for the area
Fertilizer
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Large quantities of fertilizer during vegetative growth
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Supply ample nutrition beginning the day of potting
Strategy
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Finish
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Constant 200-250 ppm N, complete N-P-K fertilizer (min 3 times per
week)
20-20-20 (first 2-3 weeks), 20-10-20 (next several weeks)
Constant 125-150 ppm N or 200-250 twice weekly
13-2-13 or 15-5-15 Cal-Mag (can just keep using 20-10-20 and cut
back frequency)
When flower buds begin to show color you may stop
Weekly application use higher rates, 400-500 ppm N
Fertilizer
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Benefits of slow-release fertilizer (14-14-14)
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6-9 month release formulation safer avoid 3-4 month release
May be mixed with media or top dress
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Often more beneficial as top dress
Follow manufacturers recommendation rate
Sometimes beneficial in extreme rainy summers
Soil test and tissue analysis once a month
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E.C. 1.5-2.0 mmhos/cm (2:1 extraction)
Should not exceed 2.5
Pinching
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Artificial way of forcing plants to branch – older cultivars.
Newer cultivars do not need and these are the only kind
to grow.
Pre-mature Budding
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Garden Mum cuttings
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Can, at times, set flower buds prematurely
May arrive from propagator prematurely budded
Causes
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Not usually a problem
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Low temperatures
Stress from under watering
Low fertilizer levels
Inadvertent exposure to the incorrect photoperiod
Usually part of the self pinching growth habit
Cultural practices get active vegetative growth
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Plenty of water, fertilizer, light and space to grow
Plant Growth Retardant
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Growth rate and final height varies among
cultivars
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Some growth regulation beneficial to most cultivars
B-Nine is PGR of choice on garden mums
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7 days after transplanting you may use foliar spray at 1200 2500 ppm to shorten internodes
Do not apply after flower buds visible
Can reduce flower size
Benefits
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Reduces final plant height
Intensify dark green color of foliage
Results in a more rounded, uniform crop
However – not always needed and has risk
Florel
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Florel as pinching agent and PGR
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Apply early at 500 ppm
Final application 6-7 wks prior to flowering
Benefits
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Stimulating lateral branching
Controlling stem elongation
Encouraging vegetative growth
Drawbacks
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Slight delay in flowering (spread marketing season )
Late application can abort flower buds
Photoperiod
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Quantitative (facultative) short-day plants
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Eventually flower under any daylength, faster under
short days
Critical day length for most cultivars 13½-14½ hrs.
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Some cultivars initiate earlier and others later in season
Most cultivars have a response time of 6-9 wks
Amount of time from beginning of short-days to flower
Cultivars can be classified by response groups
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Outdoor Production: E=early, M=mid, L=late season,
ESE=Early season extenders, LSE=Late season extenders
Photoperiod
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Temperature modifies the photoperiodic response
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Critical day length decreases as the night temperature
increases
Above about 72° to 74°F
Consequence
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Flower initiation delayed when night temperatures warm
at the beginning of short-day conditions
Flowering will be later in the season
Crop may bloom later or earlier from one year to the next
Scheduling
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Variations occur due to
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Cultivar response group
Final plant size desired
Cultural practices
Environmental factors
Market needs influence scheduling
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Smaller plants in smaller containers
Shorter production schedule (cuttings planted later)
Larger plants in larger containers
Longer production schedule (cuttings planted earlier)
Propagation time
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10-14 days for unrooted cuttings
Scheduling
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Establish a system of record keeping
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Each cultivar, container size, potting date
Major production steps, soil mix, nutrients, PGR, etc.
Date when plants were ready for market
Colors/Flower types most desired
Use accumulated information to make needed changes
for more precisely planned crop next year
Diseases
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Bacterial leaf spot
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Dark-brown to black water-soaked lesions on ½ of leaf
Typically begins on lower leaves, spreads upward
Favored by moisture on leaves, high humidity,
high temperature, growing susceptible cultivars
Septoria leaf spot
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Small yellow spots on foliage, later turn dark brown or
black
Leaves may fall off or remain on stem
Spread by splashing water
Avoid overhead irrigation
Diseases
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Pythium/Phytophthora
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Root rot disease causing brown or dark gray lesions
Wilting of the foliage, especially during the day
Avoid plant stress; drought episode, over watering,
High salts
Inject fungicides as drench
Botrytis
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Infect leaves / flowers under high humidity
Avoid overhead watering, water early in day
Space plants for good air circulation
Insects
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Insects/mites (systemic such as Imidacloprid)
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Green peach, melon, chrysanthemum aphid
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Feeds on young growth and flower buds
Plant stunting, wilting, leaf yellowing and leaf curl
Sticky honeydew serves as medium for black sooty
mold
Chrysanthemum and serpentine leaf miners
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Adult females puncture leaf and lay eggs inside
Eggs hatch larvae that tunnel causing white,
twisting mines
Disfigure the leaves and reduce marketability
Insects
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Two-spotted spider mite
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Common and western flower thrips
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Feed on underside of leaves, sucking plant sap
Tiny yellow speckles on upper leaf surface
Favored by dry, warm conditions
Feed on young leaves and flowers
Deformed flower buds, bud abortion, petal streaking
Silvery-appearance to leaves
A number of caterpillars
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Adult female moths lay eggs, larvae hatch
Eats leaves, stems and flowers
Costs of Production
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Knowledge of productions costs essential
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Variable costs
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Incurred directly during the production
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Pots, plants, potting media and chemicals
Fixed costs
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Include “shrinkage”
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Incurred whether or not the crop is produced
Percent of crop not marketable or lost due to pest/disease
Variable costs (adjust for shrinkage) + fixed cost = total cost
Any
Questions?

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