Secrets Of Producing Lofos Lophospermums
Use these tips and tricks from the 2013 Spring Production Guide from Suntory.
September 27, 2012
Originating from the Mexican mountains, lophsopermum is a genus of eight species and is deciduous and evergreen – perennial climbers and shrubs from the slopes of North and Central America. Foliage is generally triangular and plants produce tubular to funnel-shaped flowers in shades of white and purple.
Lofos is grown as an annual and is well suited to planting spectacular hanging baskets and window boxes or guided up trellises. This marvelous vine blooms early, continuing through most of the year until frost. Lofos comes in two captivating colors, Wine Red and White, which are very uniform to produce. Plants are vigorous and self-cleaning, reaching 7 feet long with a spread of 18 to 24 inches. Growers can produce Lofos in hanging baskets and pots ranging in size from 1 gallon to 5 gallons and command a premium for this unique, elegant item.
Rooted cuttings should be potted up as soon as possible into 4- to 6-inch pots. Use a well-drained peat/perlite mix and maintain soil pH between 6.0 and 6.5. After potting the liners, give plants a light watering. The crop is best kept on the dry side to aid root development. Keep plants slightly dry but avoid wilting. Temperatures for the crop at this stage should be 60-65˚F for the first two weeks. This temperature range will help roots develop.
After two weeks, the crop will grow quickly and start to produce vigorous trailing shoots. These can be pinched to enable the plant to bush out and develop a good breaking habit. Pinching the leading shoots helps control the growth. Lofos is responsive to Florel, too. Keep light levels high to reduce stretching.
The crop should be watered uniformly using a balanced liquid fertilizer, transitioning to a higher potash feed as buds become clearly visible.
• 6-inch pots – six weeks with one liner
• 1-gallon pots – eight to nine weeks with one liner and two pinches
• 10-inch pots/baskets – 10-12 weeks with three liners and two or three pinches
Pests & Diseases
Monitor for aphids, fungus gnats, whiteflies, leaf miners, red spider mites, shore flies, slugs, snails and western flower thrips. Diseases to prevent include Botrytis, Powdery Mildew, Rhizoctonia, Phytophthora and Pythium. A broad-spectrum fungicide drench is recommended after planting.