Herb J. Vander Ende, Director at Burnaby Lake Greenhouses in Surrey, B.C., trialed ‘Lyra’ and ‘Mirage’ poinsettias from Syngenta Flowers in a production setting during the 2017 poinsettia season. ‘Mirage’ is a compact to medium vigorous variety with a strong, vibrant-red color that finishes early to mid-season, around Nov. 15. ‘Lyra’ is a mid-season variety with medium to vigorous growth and a brilliant dark-red color that finishes around Nov. 22. Both varieties are easy to grow without any special requirements, can handle all climates, and perform well under low light conditions.
Now that the 2017 poinsettia season is over, here are Vander Ende’s observations based on his experience with growing ‘Lyra’ and ‘Mirage.’
‘Lyra’ Well-Suited for 6” Pot Sizes and Up
Vander Ende: We easily controlled ‘Lyra’s’ vigor with Cycocel. This season we made four applications at 1,000 ppm. Pot sizes smaller than 6 inches would require a more aggressive approach with plant growth regulators (PGRs).
‘Lyra’ is a durable plant with a strong V-shaped growth habit. It is free-branching off the pinch. The shoots all go to the top of the plant, and it does not have a rounded appearance. This combined with the strong V-habit reduces breakage when sleeving/handling.
Bracts have a clean and flat presentation (no rippling) and are a nice, intense red. The cyathias are pronounced and strong. We held some plants in the greenhouse four weeks after finish, and they still looked fresh. There are no difficulties in propagation, and the root system in production is strong.
‘Mirage’ Fits for Black Friday
During this year’s trial, we sprayed no PGR on ‘Mirage’ at all, and the finished height was almost perfect. The growth habit is a strong V-shape with free branching. Bracts have a vibrant, dark red color with very pronounced and strong cyathias.
‘Mirage’ would be best for 2- to 6-inch pot sizes; anything larger requires a considerably longer vegetative period. Post-harvest was excellent. Plants we kept back continued to look fresh four weeks later. We found that if we planted on a normal schedule (normal for us is planting rooted cuttings in week 30), the plant works as a Black Friday variety with its strong branches, mid-November finish, and near bench run at harvest. The plants are not oversized, so that can potentially add another 10% to a bench.
I feel this variety could be grown as a florist-grade 6-inch, but this would require starting production one week earlier to allow for all of the shoots to come to the surface. With our normal schedule this year, our plants had three strong bracts at the surface with another three lower in the plant. I think that for us this is going to be an ideal variety for our 2-inch single stem and 4-inch pinch crops. The early timing will allow us to hit the start of the season without any black cloth and then with some temperature adjustments we can delay/hold for mid-season timing. There are no difficulties in propagation, and the root system in production is strong.
With both varieties, our plan for 2018 is to use ‘Mirage’ for about 25% of our 2-inch single stem and 25% of our 4-inch pinch production. We will be doing a small trial of ‘Mirage’ as 6-inch but with a one week earlier planting schedule. ‘Lyra’ will be used for about 35% of our 6-inch and a similar percentage in our 8-inch pots with two plants per pot and 10-inch pots with three plants per pot. GG
For detailed culture information tips on Syngenta poinsettias, go to SyngentaFlowers-us.com and click on Technical Support, and refer to “Grow High Quality ‘Lyra’ and ‘Mirage’ Poinsettias” for some production recommendations from Syngenta Flowers’ Technical Services Manager Karl Trellinger.