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Cyclamen - Finishing Holiday Crops of Cyclamen (Tech Tip )
By Amy Briggs-Macha, Customer Solutions Technical Lead

The winter holiday season is just around the corner and many growers are in the midst of producing cyclamen crops to finish for sales in December through February. Growing high quality cyclamen can be challenging, but by focusing on the details in the finished production it can be easy to turn out great looking plants. Understanding variety selection, temperature, light requirements, moisture management and fertility will ensure a successful and on-time finished cyclamen crop.

Variety Selection

Cyclamen can be grouped into three categories: miniature, intermediate and standard plants. Within each of these categories there are also novelty varieties with interesting flower shapes and patterns. It is essential to pick the right variety or series depending on the pot size and finished plant specifications.

Series

Type

Leaf Color

Pot Size

Crop Time

(in weeks)

Finished Plant Size

Comments

Rainer™

Standard

Green

5" - 8"

31 - 35

14"-16"tall x 14"-16"wide

Winter Ice™

Standard

Silver

5" - 8"

28 - 32

12"-14"tall x 12"-14"wide

Variegated leaf color

Sierra™ Synchro/ Sierra™

Standard

Green

5" - 6.5"

28 - 32

12"-14"tall x 12"-14"wide

Fleur en Vogue™

Standard

Green

5" - 6.5"

29 - 33

12"-14"tall x 12"-14"wide

Novelty umbrella type flowers

Friller™

Standard

Green

5" - 6.5"

29 - 33

12"-14"tall x 12"-14"wide

Novelty fringed flowers

Laser™ Synchro / Laser™

Intermediate

Green

4" - 5"

26 - 28

10"-12"tall x 10"-12" wide

Perfetto™

Intermediate

Green

4" - 5"

26 - 28

10" - 12"tall x 10" -12" wide

New series to be released in 2015

Sterling™

Intermediate

Silver

4" - 5"

26 - 28

10" - 12"tall x 10" -12" wide

Variegated leaf color

Winfall™

Miniature

Green

2.5"- 4"

24 - 26

8"-10"tall x 8"- 10" wide

Silverado™

Miniature

Silver

2.5"- 4"

24 - 26

8"-10"tall x 8"- 10" wide

Variegated leaf color

SilverHeart™

Miniature

Silver

2.5" - 5"

24 - 26

8"-10"tall x 8"- 10" wide

Variegated leaf color

Temperature and Lighting:

Cool temperatures are a must for high quality cyclamen plants. Because of the long crop times, cyclamen must be sown in late summer for finishing in December through February. Since temperature management can be a challenge during that time of year, many growers opt to purchase plugs from a young plant supplier that can provide the proper conditions and special requirements needed to germinate and grow good quality young plants.

After transplanting into the final container, maintain cool days and nights at 65°F. Once plants have rooted to the sides of the pots, night temperatures should dropped to 62°F to help facilitate flower initiation. As the plants develop root systems to the bottom of the pots, temperatures can be dropped even further to 58 - 60°F nights to help keep plants compact and control leaf size. Night temperatures above 65°F will decrease bud counts and day temperatures over 75°F will delay flower initiation.

Cyclamen are a day neutral crop and flowering is primary controlled by average daily temperature and secondarily by daily light integral. Light intensity should be monitored to help manage temperature as well as ensure proper flower initiation. High light levels will increase plant temperature and cause leaf scorch. Provide shade if light levels exceed 4,400 f.c. On the other side, plants will not initiate flowering if light levels fall below 2,000 f.c. When the daily light integral is less than 5 mols/day, provide supplemental lighting at 400 - 500 f.c. for 14-18 hours to increase bud counts.

Moisture Management and Fertility

Cyclamen should be planted into a porous media with excellent drainage, especially when growing during the cool season when temperatures and light levels are low. Cyclamen roots are particularly sensitive to low oxygen levels and nutrient uptake can be restricted if media is kept too wet. In general, best root development is achieved with lighter, more frequent watering rather than heavy, less frequent watering. Cyclamen are also sensitive to high soluble salt levels in the media. Frequent monitoring and leaching with clear water to keep EC levels less than 1.5 mS/cm will help prevent root problems.

Fertilization of a finished cyclamen crop should begin once the young plant starts rooting into the media, around 1 to 2 weeks after transplanting. Choose fertilizers that are high in both Calcium and Potassium. Early in the crop cycle, fertilizers should have 1:2 ratio of nitrogen to potassium. As the crop matures, switch to fertilizers with a 1:3 ratio of nitrogen to potassium. Apply 100 - 150 ppm Nitrogen and target a media EC of 1.0 - 1.2 mS/cm. Avoid ammonium-nitrate based fertilizers as they will encourage the growth of soft and larger leaves.

Nutrient deficiencies often appear when environmental conditions are not ideal (warm temperatures, wet media, high humidity, poor air circulation). Measures should be taken to correct these conditions to improve transpiration and overall plant growth. Often Iron, Boron, and Calcium deficiencies can occur under suboptimal conditions.


Calcium deficiency in Cyclamen

Continue to feed plants all the way through the shipping cycle to increase shelf life performance at the retail level. Eliminating fertilization prior to shipping can result in stem elongation and faded flowers for the consumer.

©2014 Syngenta. Important: Always read and follow label instructions. Some crop protection products may not be registered for sale or use in all states or counties. Please check with your local extension service to ensure registration . Some or all of the varieties listed herein may be protected under one or more of the following: Plant Variety Protection, United States Plant Patents, Utility Patents and/or Plant Breeders' Rights and may not be propagated or reproduced without authorization. Unless expressly stated otherwise, the trademarks displayed or otherwise used herein are registered and unregistered trademarks of a Syngenta Group Company or third parties.

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