August 12, 2015
Selecting Fertilizer Rates For Several Spring Bedding Plants
Fertilizing bedding plants can be difficult due to the differing needs of the large variety of plants that we grow. Many operations do not grow enough of any one crop to cater the fertilizer specifically for each crop. Therefore, grouping crops with similar fertilizer requirements and having two to three fertilizer strengths available is a practical way to ensure plants are getting the fertilizer they need. With many new plant varieties on the market, we wanted to conduct a trial at Cornell University to determine best fertilizer rates for several common bedding plant crops. 22 Bedding Plants Studied To Establish Fertilizer Rates Plugs and rooted liners of 22 crops (Table 1) were transplanted into 4-inch (500 mL volume) round pots with a commercial peat/perlite based substrate. The plants were grown in a glass greenhouse at Cornell University during the spring season at a spacing of one plant per square foot. Heating set […]
May 14, 2015
10 Tips To Improve Retail Shelf Life Of Bedding Plants
Good-looking plants at retail lead to stronger sales and less postharvest shrink. Try these 10 ideas for maintaining quality and keeping plants looking beautiful.
October 30, 2014
Basics & Beyond: Comparing Substrate Fertilizer Amendments For Spring Bedding Plants
Cornell University researcher determines if substrate-incorporated slow-release fertilizers can be used to replace or reduce the need for liquid fertilizer for four spring crops.
July 24, 2014
Using Controlled Release Fertilizers To Produce Garden Mums
Researchers determined whether or not garden mums can be grown with controlled-release fertilizer, and if it reduces fertilizer leaching, as compared with water-soluble fertilizers.
May 8, 2014
How Cultural Factors Impact Fungus Gnat Populations
Cornell University researchers look at the impact cultural factors such as substrate amendments and substrate water-holding capacity have on fungus gnat populations.
August 14, 2013
Stress Is Good For Plants
Do your greenhouse plants live a life of luxury? Soaking up the sun, bathed in nourishing nutrients, in a temperature-controlled climate — your greenhouse is like Club Med for plants. But then reality hits as the plant is shipped to the retail environment and then brought into the “real world,” when the consumer brings it into his or her home or landscape. A plant that has been coddled in the greenhouse may not perform as well once taken to a more stressful environment. What’s a grower to do? One strategy is to purposely stress plants to make them more compact or enhance their ability to thrive once they hit a more stressful environment. Plant Stress, DefinedStress, as far as plants are concerned, can be generally split into two different groups: biotic and abiotic. Biotic stress is one caused by another living organism, such as disease or insect infestations. It is […]
August 14, 2012
When Fertilizing, Don’t Neglect The Root Zone
Bedding and potted plants are traditionally fertilized daily or several times a week with water soluble fertilizer (WSF) applied in the irrigation water. With WSF, the fertilizer components are in a form that can be directly absorbed by the plant. This also means the fertilizer components can immediately impact the soluble salts and the pH of the substrate. WSF are also in a form that can readily be leached from the root zone. When using controlled-release fertilizers (CRF) the nutrients are primarily held within the CRF prills and are not available for plant absorption until they are released slowly over time. Thus, when a CRF is added to the substrate, its effects on pH and salts are not immediate. Instead, they occur slowly over time as nutrients diffuse from the prills. Use the results from three studies to better manage the root-zone pH and electrical conductivity (EC) when using CRFs. […]
August 13, 2012
Bedding Plants and CRFs
While controlled-release fertilizers (CRFs) are not a recent addition to a grower’s toolbox, they are not nearly as common as traditional water-soluble fertilizers (WSF). Many growers comment that they don’t want to lose the control they have with traditional WSF programs. However, new formulations and technologies in CRF manufacturing, along with a desire for alternative methods of delivering mineral nutrients, have led to increased interest in using CRFs. The experiments below focus on using CRFs in greenhouse propagation and finishing of short-term bedding plant crops. How Fertilizer Studies During Propagation Were Conducted At Purdue, cuttings of several cultivars of angelonia, geranium, nemesia, New Guinea impatiens and petunia were stuck in 105-cell propagation trays filled with 3 parts soilless substrate and 1 part perlite. The trays either contained no fertilizer charge or 5, 10, 20 or 40 pounds of Osmocote Plus 15-9-12 with micros CRF per cubic yard of substrate. This […]
August 6, 2012
Potted Plants On CRFs
After seeing how bedding plants are affected by controlled-release fertilizers, three separate studies were conducted to show how the use of these fertilizers influenced the production of potted plants. The Poinsettia Experiments Rooted liners of ‘Premium Red’ poinsettias were potted into 4.5-inch containers filled with a commercial soilless substrate that was amended with CRFs: Osmocote Plus 15-9-12 and Osmocote Plus 16-9-12 applied at a rate of 7.9 and 7.4 pounds per square yard (lbs./yd³), respectively, and Nutricote 20-7-10 at 5.9 lbs./yd³. For comparison, a treatment of constant water soluble fertilizer (WSF) [15-4-15 Poinsettia FeED at 150 ppm nitrogen (N)] was also included. The plants were watered using drip irrigation as needed throughout the experiment, and a leaching fraction between 20 to 25 percent was maintained and adjusted weekly to accommodate for plant growth. Total leachate was also collected from the treatments and analyzed for nutrients each week. A second poinsettia […]
July 20, 2012
Finish Hanging Baskets In High Tunnels
Minimally heated greenhouse structures have long been used by the floriculture industry to finish crops. Although finishing hanging baskets in a high tunnel may be profitable due to lower input and capital costs, the high tunnel may be riskier since temperature is not directly controlled, resulting in a more variable market date. Cooler temperatures can affect the finish date. This case study compares plant quality and economics of finishing in a greenhouse versus a high tunnel. Plant Mixes Are Tested In Heat And High Tunnels An experiment was undertaken in central New York in 2011 to compare hanging baskets finished in a heated greenhouse with those finished in an unheated high tunnel. The study would note finish date, plant size, flower number and the overall profitability of the crops. Heated Greenhouses Result in Earlier Finshes At Cornell, the high tunnel baskets had about the same number of flowers as the […]
July 18, 2012
High Tunnels: Grow Better Bedding Plants In Cold Weather
Bedding production begins in mid- to late-winter and early spring in the northern half of the U.S., when outdoor air temperatures and light are at seasonally low levels. During this time, greenhouses must be heated to maintain desirable production temperatures. The costs involved can be huge. Energy for heating in northern climates accounts for 10 to 30 percent of the total operating costs of commercial greenhouses. So it makes sense to find alternative strategies. Our research shows that high tunnels are a viable alternative for plant producers. High tunnels are an unheated polyhouse or hoop house covered with a single layer of plastic, although a double layer of plastic or additional covering inside may be used. In floriculture, high tunnels are most commonly used in cut-flower production for season extension and protection against frost, rain and wind. They are also used to produce and overwinter containerized herbaceous and woody perennials. […]
April 24, 2012
Hand Watering, Booms, Sprinklers Or Drip?
The amount of water that can be held by the substrate in a given container with a specific irrigation method is the effective water-holding capacity (EWHC). It may be desirable to maintain the moisture content of the medium below EWHC in order to regulate plant growth or reduce the risk of soil-borne diseases. Overall, it is important to irrigate thoroughly. The amount of water applied must be sufficient to re-wet the entire volume of growing medium. If the medium is dry and not enough water is applied, only part of the mix will be re-wetted. In irrigating thoroughly, the method of delivery plays an important role. With top-down irrigation, water will be pulled downward by the force of gravity. As it moves downward, some will be held by the growing medium. Usually, some water will escape from the bottom of the pot before the medium is thoroughly wet. At the […]
April 25, 2011
Soluble Salts: Don’t Get Burned
As discussed in our previous article last month, high soluble salts can accumulate in the root zone when there is poor quality (high salt) irrigation water or excessive fertilizer input. Understanding which bedding plants are most sensitive can aid in crop selection and in management practices such as leaching. At Cornell University we conducted an experiment to determine the response of 14 common bedding plants to increasing levels of high soluble salts. In this article we detail the growth effects on the studied species, provide a classification grouping for response to extreme salt stress and list corrective actions for high salts. Bedding Plants For Salt Sensitivity Table 1 ranks the bedding plants we studied for growth and height response to high soluble salt levels (PourThru EC 7.1). The irrigation water used for this treatment contained table salt (460 ppm Na + 710 ppm Cl) and had an EC of 2.4. […]
March 17, 2011
Salts In Greenhouse Crops: Don’t Get Burned
Greenhouse bedding plants have been traditionally grown with high quality low-salt irrigation water because plants can be damaged when salts build up in the root zone. Because water is becoming a limiting factor in several parts of the United States and across the world, it is important to understand how floriculture crops respond to poor quality (i.e. high salt, non-potable water). A better understanding of which plants are most sensitive to high salts can aid growers in crop selection and leaching practices. This article will describe where salts come from in greenhouse production, detection and symptoms of high salts, and how several bedding plant species responded to high salts in experiments at Cornell University. Origins Soluble salts are mineral nutrients and compounds that dissolve in water. In greenhouse production, they come from several sources. First, the irrigation water itself may be high salts. This may arise if the water source […]
February 23, 2010
Ethylene In The Greenhouse
Plants exposed to high concentration (> 0.05 ppm) ethylene exhibit a range of familiar symptoms, such as leaf yellowing, epinasty or abscission, and flower senescence (see Figure 1) and abscission. Usually, low concentrations (< 0.05 ppm) of ethylene precede high concentrations. Imagine a slightly malfunctioning heater becoming progressively worse. So, plant symptoms of low concentration ethylene can serve as an early warning sign for bigger trouble to come. Figure 1 shows the effects of short- and long-term exposure to low concentrations of ethylene on petunia. For more information on plant responses to low concentration chronic ethylene, visit GreenhouseGrower.com to access last month’s article titled, “Ethylene In The Greenhouse.” Detecting Ethylene If you suspect ethylene is present, the first thing to do is verify there is indeed a problem. One of the easiest ways to detect ethylene is by using indicator plants. These are plants so sensitive that they respond dramatically, […]
January 15, 2018
Thomas Hermes, Owner of Hermes Floral Company, Dies at …
Thomas J. Hermes, who owned and operated Hermes Floral Company in St. Paul and Becker, MN, with his brothers before retiring in 1998, died on January 5 at age 75.
January 13, 2018
2018 Southern Garden Tour Includes Visits to Young’s Pl…
The tour is scheduled for June 5-7, 2018, and offers floriculture industry members the opportunity to view trials of thousands of new and proven plant varieties.
January 12, 2018
How pH and EC Monitoring Can Help You Manage Nutrition …
In part two of this five-part series about the tools you need to keep track of your greenhouse environment, learn about the various methods for tracking pH and EC.
January 11, 2018
Plan Ahead for Spring Season in the Greenhouse by Follo…
In a recent report on the Michigan State University Extension website, Floriculture Educator Jeremy Jubenville presents a short list of ideas that can help growers nip predictable problems in the bud, so they have more time to focus on any new situations that arise.
January 11, 2018
Dümmen Orange, Koppert Partner on Launch of New IPM Sys…
Dümmen Orange plans to incorporate Koppert Biological System’s beneficial insects into its pot chrysanthemum cuttings program, with the end goal being minimal use of chemicals further down the chain.
January 9, 2018
AmericanHort Launches New Video Series on Profit Margin…
This week, AmericanHort is kicking off a four-part video series that offers perspectives on managing profit margins from AmericanHort’s Chief Economist, Dr. Charlie Hall.
January 9, 2018
What You Need to Know About the New Tax Bill
The United Fresh Produce Association, which represents the needs and interests of fruit and vegetable growers, recently updated its members on how the recent passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act might affect their businesses. Many of the insights provided by United Fresh also apply to greenhouse growers and nurseries.
January 9, 2018
2018 California Spring Trials Dates, Times, Locations
It’s time to start planning for a great road trip in April to see all the latest plants on display. This quick reference guide will help you map out your trip.
January 7, 2018
How Direct-Stick Meters Can Help Take the Guesswork Out…
Monitoring your soil pH is critical to maintaining the health of your greenhouse crops. Try these tips for managing pH, as well as accurately testing your soil with direct-stick soil pH meters.
January 6, 2018
Why Growers Should Not Market Their Plants, But the Sol…
In his latest column, Allan Armitage says landscapers, designers, and gardeners want solutions to problems, not simply a recommendation for one more handsome plant.
January 5, 2018
State of the Greenhouse Industry: Dealing With Your Ban…
Financial institutions are still reluctant to part with capital for agricultural and horticultural growth, despite economic indicators. Here’s why banks have raised the bar on lending.
January 4, 2018
Stand-Out New Varieties That Keep D.S. Cole Growers Co…
See what new varieties stood out to Doug Cole, owner of D.S. Cole Growers in Loudon, NH, this year.