Garden Mums Tony Glover Cullman County Extension Coordinator Thanks to Dr. Kessler – Auburn University Scorpions and Centaurs Introduction Dendranthema × grandiflora Traditional fall-flowering pot crop Greenhouse or outdoor container crop Cultivars Scorpions and Centaurs Garden Mum cultivars 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 Classified by flower form Shape, number, and arrangement of ray and disk flowers Decorative and daisy (eye) by far the most popular 76% and 22% of market, respectively Plant form Daisies, quill, spider, pompon, decoratives among others From tall and upright to low, spreading mounds Grower strategy 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 Knowledge of market key to choosing containers Most production, 8" by 5" black plastic ‘mum pan' Small growers for local sales should go larger Wider range of sizes and styles desired by retailers Perceived quality, sales, and profitability Different containers for different markets 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 Propagation alternatives Specialized propagator/breeders Rooted cuttings (most growers) Unrooted cuttings (propagation facilities) Less cost per cutting but more time and control needed Bare-root a perishable product Shipped bare-root Shipped in cell packs or large plugs Pot soon after arrival Root disturbed + shipping = “transplant shock” Cell packs No transplant shock but “bonzi effect” if delayed potting Inspected for problems upon arrival! Growing Media Many different combinations of components used Course, loose, and well drained (especially outdoors) First decision Purchase a commercially prepared mix (start with this option) Or mix your own (try small numbers with this option) Contents 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 Rooted cuttings planted mid June Plant in 18 count landscaper trays Planted shallow with roots just covered 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 Growing area choices outdoor area Full sun, as level as possible Black plastic or gravel weed control Abundant, dependable, high quality water supply Avoid light pollution (delay flowering) Night lighting from street lights Security lights Busy street with frequent automobile lights Spacing Space in straight rows with ample room for growth Space determined by pot size and irrigation method 6" pots, 12-15" apart 8" pots, 18-24" apart 12-14” or 2-3 gal pots, 24-30" apart Irrigation Garden Mums require plentiful amounts of water! Not a simple task in summer Outdoors, weather can play a large part 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 Some form of automatic watering system Once plants placed at final spacing outdoors Overhead sprinkler-type watering systems Many growers use Waste a lot of water Poor watering uniformity Keep the foliage wet for extended periods Microtube systems More expensive Greater uniformity Less wasted water Keeps foliage and flowers dry System must be ‘designed' for the area Fertilizer Large quantities of fertilizer during vegetative growth Supply ample nutrition beginning the day of potting Strategy Finish 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 Benefits of slow-release fertilizer (14-14-14) 6-9 month release formulation safer avoid 3-4 month release May be mixed with media or top dress Often more beneficial as top dress Follow manufacturers recommendation rate Sometimes beneficial in extreme rainy summers Soil test and tissue analysis once a month E.C. 1.5-2.0 mmhos/cm (2:1 extraction) Should not exceed 2.5 Pinching 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 Garden Mum cuttings Can, at times, set flower buds prematurely May arrive from propagator prematurely budded Causes Not usually a problem 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 Plenty of water, fertilizer, light and space to grow Plant Growth Retardant Growth rate and final height varies among cultivars Some growth regulation beneficial to most cultivars B-Nine is PGR of choice on garden mums 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 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 Florel as pinching agent and PGR Apply early at 500 ppm Final application 6-7 wks prior to flowering Benefits Stimulating lateral branching Controlling stem elongation Encouraging vegetative growth Drawbacks Slight delay in flowering (spread marketing season ) Late application can abort flower buds Photoperiod Quantitative (facultative) short-day plants Eventually flower under any daylength, faster under short days Critical day length for most cultivars 13½-14½ hrs. 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 Outdoor Production: E=early, M=mid, L=late season, ESE=Early season extenders, LSE=Late season extenders Photoperiod Temperature modifies the photoperiodic response Critical day length decreases as the night temperature increases Above about 72° to 74°F Consequence 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 Variations occur due to Cultivar response group Final plant size desired Cultural practices Environmental factors Market needs influence scheduling Smaller plants in smaller containers Shorter production schedule (cuttings planted later) Larger plants in larger containers Longer production schedule (cuttings planted earlier) Propagation time 10-14 days for unrooted cuttings Scheduling Establish a system of record keeping 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 Bacterial leaf spot 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 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 Pythium/Phytophthora 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 Infect leaves / flowers under high humidity Avoid overhead watering, water early in day Space plants for good air circulation Insects Insects/mites (systemic such as Imidacloprid) Green peach, melon, chrysanthemum aphid 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 Adult females puncture leaf and lay eggs inside Eggs hatch larvae that tunnel causing white, twisting mines Disfigure the leaves and reduce marketability Insects Two-spotted spider mite Common and western flower thrips 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 Adult female moths lay eggs, larvae hatch Eats leaves, stems and flowers Costs of Production Knowledge of productions costs essential Variable costs Incurred directly during the production Pots, plants, potting media and chemicals Fixed costs Include “shrinkage” 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?