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Cuphea - Sriracha™ cuphea, a totally new, premium, heat-loving class from seed (Tech Tip )
By Matt Blanchard, Syngenta Technical Services Specialist

Sriracha cuphea is an all-new, heat-loving series from seed that features quick crop timing of 7-8 weeks from transplant. Its compact, well-branched habit offers excellent series uniformity suitable for quarts, six-inch or gallon containers. Available in three colors-Pink, Rose and Violet-Sriracha provides vibrant color from spring through the heat of summer.

Below are some key production tips that will make Sriracha a successful addition to your product offering.

Germination

Sriracha can be sown in 105 to 288 cell size plug trays with one seed per cell. Covering the seed is optional, but using coarse-grade vermiculite will help maintain moisture levels. The relative humidity should be held at 95 - 100% until radicle emergence.

Light is not required for germination, but the media temperature needs to remain between 70 - 75˚F. Maintain a saturated moisture level (level 5) until radical emergence, which usually occurs in 3-5 days.

Sriracha™ Violet cuphea

The application of a plant growth regulator (PGR) is critical during sowing. To control hypocotyl stretch, spray or sprench media surface with 1 ppm paclobutrazol at a volume of 3 - 6 qts./100 sq. ft. within 48 hours of sowing seed.

After germination, increase light levels to 1,500 - 2,000 foot candles (4 - 8 mols/day), begin alternating moisture levels between wet (level 4) and moist (level 3), and lower the relative humidity to 40%. During this stage, use fertilizer as needed, specifically 14-4-14 or 17-5-17 at 50 - 100 ppm nitrogen.

Plug Bulking

Air temperature should be maintained at 70 - 75˚F, but light levels should increase to 3,000 - 4,000 foot candles (10 - 16 mols/day). The relative humidity should stay between 40 - 50%, allowing the media to dry back to level 2 before re-saturating to level 4.

The pH level should stay between 5.8 - 6.2, while the EC should stay between 1.0 - 1.3 mS/cm. Fertilize at 100 - 150 ppm nitrogen preferably with a Cal-Mag™ fertilizer. PGRs are generally not required during plug finishing if paclobutrazol was applied at sowing. Bonzi® plant growth regulator sprays can be applied at 5 to 10 ppm if needed to tone plugs prior to transplant.

Time to finish 288-cell trays is usually 3.5 - 4 weeks, but the timing will vary based on the growing environment and culture.

Growing On

Sriracha is suitable to be grown in multiple container sizes. One plug/pot is needed for quarts and 6-inch containers, while two plugs per pot are needed for 8-inch containers and gallons.

Daytime temperatures should stay between 70 - 85˚F and decrease to 62 - 70˚F at night. For shorter finishing times, maintain a minimum average daily temperature (ADT) of 68˚F. Grow under 3,500 - 5,500 foot candles of light (12 - 20 mols/day). While short days are not required for flowering, flowering will be 1 - 1.5 weeks faster with day lengths less than 12 hours.

Be sure to use porous media with good drainage while keeping the relative humidity at 40 - 50%. High relative humidity in combination with over-watering and light conditions can cause intumescence (edema) on leaves of some varieties.

Sriracha has a moderate fertility requirement. Keep EC between 1.8 - 2.2 mS/cm. Alternate between Cal-Mag and ammonium-containing fertilizers at 150 - 200 ppm nitrogen. For growth control, use Bonzi plant growth regulator sprays at 20 - 40 ppm or Bonzi drenches at 0.5 - 1 ppm. One or two applications are generally needed. Late applications can delay flowering. Plants are more compact when grown under short days versus long days. Pinching is not recommended since Sriracha has excellent branching without the need to pinch.

Finish time will vary depending on plug size and growing environment. At an ADT of 73°F and under long days with a daily light integral of 12 - 15 mols/day, crop time from transplant of 288 cell plugs is 7 - 8 weeks.

Sriracha™ Pink cuphea

Diseases, Pests and Controls

To control pests, it is recommended to use Bioline™ biological control agents:

Target Pest

Biological Control Agent

Aphids

Aphiline™ c, Aphiline e, Aphiline ce, Aphidoline™ a

Thrips

Ambyline™ cu, Swirskiline™ as, Exhibitline™ sf, Hypoline™ m, Oriline™ i, Thripline™ ams

Whiteflies

Encarline™ f, Eretline™ e, Swirskiline as

Sriracha is a unique, premium quality series from seed that will be an exciting new item to your product offering. The guidelines above and the application of PGRs are critical to successful growing, but doing it correctly will allow for a faster, cost-effective alternative to specialty vegetative series.

For complete Sriracha cuphea culture, please visit our Technical Library .

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