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Cut cyclamen flowers

Cut cyclamen flowers

The differences between growing cut flowers and traditional pot plants are in fact relatively limited. These differences concern the enhancement of presentation and the vase life.

The techniques for growing cut flowers will be determined by the production schedule and by the choice of the most suitable varieties.

This selection of varieties is the direct result of several studies analysing vase life and the productivity of our whole large-flowered Halios® range.          

Some diseases and pests directly undermine the quality and extent to which the flowers grow. Considerable damage may be caused.

The efficient preparation and packing of cut flowers may well be key factors with regard to ensuring long vase life for florists and consumers. 

> Growing techniques : a reminder

Shelves

It is recommended to grow the flowers on open shelves for handling reasons and above all for ventilation purposes.  

Pot

14 to 18 cm (5.5 to 7'') diameter, clay pot which helps the roots stick to the pot more easily and thus facilitate picking.

A pot with a larger diameter can delay flowering. However, at the same time it enables the picking period to be extended.

Substratum

Draining and well-aired  (10% perlite) -  1 Kg. PG mix /m3.

Climate

Light intensity between 300 and 400 W/m2.

Minimum night temperature 14 - 15 °C (57 - 59°F)

Maximum day temperature 20 – 25°C (68 - 77°F)

Ventilation temperature 20 – 25°C  (68 - 77°F)

It is always possible to reduce the minimum temperatures to 12°C (53°F) if the area’s climate is dry and bright.

Fertilisation

NPK = 1 / 1 / 3 until October to restrict the excessive input of nitrogen and favour the contribution made by potassium. EC total  0.7 – 1 mS/cm.

After October, change to a 1 / 1 / 2 balance to increase the chances of bud development. EC total  1.5 – 1.8 mS /cm.

Treatments

The treatment is the same as that used for growing in pots. However, we are going to look in more detail at the question of pests and diseases which may affect flowers more directly.

> Production schedule

All our studies are conducted on our Halios®, series therefore the schedule should be the same as the one that already exists for growing in October-November through to February-March.

In order to optimise the quality of flowers picked, the most northerly areas in Europe are best suited for early picking between October and January. The best period for growing in more southerly areas is December to March.

This schedule sharing is a response to adapting to rays and temperatures suited to our Halios® series. The excess heat is avoided for flowering in Southern Europe and less money is spent on energy for harvesting in Northern Europe.

Here are some useful tips for schedules designed for Northern Europe:

  • Repotting between weeks 20 and 22 with transplanted plants
  • Pot dimension varies between 1 and 1.5 litres, thus ensuring greater watering flexibility. Root asphyxiation risk reduced.
  • Adapt the conductivity of the fertilizer used to the watering frequency. The less often you water the greater the increase in conductivity.
  • A smaller sized plant at the end of the summer leads to a reduced capacity for buds and flowers to develop.

Here are some useful tips for schedules designed for Southern Europe:

  • Repotting between weeks 24 and 26 with transplanted plants
  • Pot dimension between 1.5 and 2 litres to ensure enhanced water reserves and be able to dab the waterings when vegetation is considerable.
  • Adapt the conductivity of the fertilizer used to the watering frequency. The less often you water the greater the increase in conductivity.
  • Excess vegetation can result in frequent water imbalance and poor light intensity in the bud area. 

 

 

Pot

Repotting

Harvesting

Northern Europe

14-15 cm

(5.5-5.9'')

Weeks 20-22

Oct. – January

Southern Europe

16-18 cm
(6.3-7'')

Weeks 24-26

Nov. - February

 

> Variety study: Productivity 

As previously stated we select from our Halios® series. Our series gathers together innovative creations which provide novel shapes and colours to add a distinctive touch to growing cut flowers. We have carried out an experimental test on our site in order to assess productivity and vase life.

The timetable for our test is suited to the climatic conditions for the South of France.

 

 

Sowing  

Repotting 

Start of flowering  

Harvesting  

Halios CURLY®

8

24

44

52-08

Halios

10

26

42

52-08

 

Following the results of our tests we analysed the productivity of each of the different colours. Productivity is expressed in terms of stems per plant, per week, and the total amount per plant in nine weeks of picking.

The total production per season may be vary depending on the market demands and it is also necessary to take into account the conditions in Southern France in which we conducted our test. 

A weekly harvesting cycle is recommended.

 

 

Stems /
weeks

Stems /
total

 Halios CURLY® Blanc / White - 2525

4.7

42.3

 Halios Magenta flammé / Magenta Flame - 2150

5.2

46.8

 Halios Victoria 50 - 2700

5.3

47.7

 Halios Magenta flammé decora / Magenta Flame Silverleaf - 2200

5.7

51.3

 Halios CURLY® S. Ecarlate exp / Scarlet  -2420

6.3

56.7

 Halios Saumon flam. exp / Salmon Flame - 2998

6.7

60.3

 Halios Victoria 50 mélange / Victoria 50 mix -2890

7.2

64.8

 Halios Victoria 50 Saumon / Victoria 50 Salmon-2730

7.2

64.8

 Halios Fuchsia exp / Fuchsia - 2998

7.7

69.3

 Halios FANTASIA® Fr Fuchsia vif exp / Bright Fuchsia- 2998

8.0

72

 Halios FANTASIA® Violet fonce / Dark purple fant - 2395

8.1

72.9

 Halios FANTASIA® Violet foncé  / Purple - 2495

8.2

73.8

 Halios FANTASIA® Magenta / Magenta  - 2305

8.4

75.6

 

> Variety study: Case life

In parallel to the production test on the different colours we have carried out a vase life study for all of our references. Half of the stems were cut at the base and the other half were split between 1cm and 2 cm to enhance hydration. The two systems can be compared. The flowers were always picked in optimum hydration conditions for the plant.

This stem life test was conducted in ambient greenhouse temperature with water without any additives. 

The vase life results are expressed in weeks : 

 

 

Normal stem

Split stem

 Halios Magenta flam.  /  Magenta Flame

2.1

2.5

 Halios Fantasia Fr Fuchsia vif- exp /Bright Fuschia

2.3

2.8

 Halios Magenta flam. decora / Magenta Flame Silverleaf

2

3

 Halios Saumon flam.- exp / Salmon Flame

2.4

3

 Halios Fantasia Fr Violet fonce- exp / Dark purple

2.6

3

 Halios Fuchsia exp

2.4

3.1

 Halios Fantasia Violet fonce / Dark purple

2.9

3.1

 Halios Frange Blanc /  White Fringe

2.7

3.3

 Halios Fantasia Magenta

3.2

3.3

 Halios Fr Saumon Ecarlate -exp / Salmon Scarlet

2.8

3.5

 Halios Victoria 50

3.5

3.6

 Halios Victoria 50 melange

3.5

3.8

 Halios Victoria 50 Saumon

4

4

 

 

The results showed the good vase life of two series of the Halios® range: Victoria 50® and  Fantasia with an average of 3 to 4 weeks.

The importance of splitting the stems at their base can also be underlined.

The improvement in terms of vase life of some varieties can be one week with the life average being 15% while some varieties can last up to 30% longer. Varieties that last longer benefit less from splitting.

Other techniques for improving water absorption exist, but it is always necessary to respect stem stability. No sort of fastener liable to damage the stem tissue must be used. Folded or damaged stems have a significantly reduced vase life.

When it is possible to pick out necroses on the edge of petals and the loss of the whole corolla this indicates that the vase life of the cyclamen stems is finished.  The loss of the corolla can be speeded up by pollination : it is thus necessary to take the necessary steps to avoid this pollination coming from insects, especially bees. One of the preventive measures involves placing nets at the openings with the mesh being adapted to the size of the insects.

Nutritional balance is expressed in the soluble carbohydrates content. The sugar content changes depending on the light and temperature.

Variations in temperature during vase life result in their sugar reserves being used up to differing degrees. As for other cut flowers, a temporary cool period  (5-10°C / 41-50°F) can extend vase life.

> Preparation and packing

Flowers should be picked in the morning whenever possible as the stems are more turgescent and they can be pulled more easily. The picking method consists of holding the stem at the bottom and turning it at the same time before giving it a good pull in order to remove it from the plant. It is important to avoid squashing the stem tissue when doing this.

As we mentioned beforehand when picking the flowers cutting 1 cm or 2 cm (0.4'' or 0.8'') from the stem base ensures enhanced vase life. It is also important to ensure that no damage of any type has been caused to the stems and petals by insects or phytotoxicity.

Stem length varies from 20 cm (7.9'') to 30 cm (11.8'') depending on varieties and the season.  

Distilled water or water with very low conductivity provides the best results. Other products with higher osmotic pressure just prevent water from being absorbed properly by the stems.

Any damage (scratch – graze) or insect attack which occurs in transit will be quickly exploited by botrytis.

Different types of packing can be used :

 

  • Plastic cups or wax boxes containing water. (N.B.: water level quite low in the cup)

The size is adjusted to accommodate a total of 10 to 15 stems.

Advantage : the system is simple and inexpensiveDrawback : the risk of damaging the petals or splashing them with the water reserve, with the ensuing risk of botrytis

Drawback : the risk of damaging the petals or splashing them with the water reserve, with the ensuing risk of botrytis

 

  • Other optional packing (being studied) : small thermally moulded plastic bags filled with air and placed in boxes.

Advantage : easy storage for transport, no splashing.

Drawback : this system requires a special machine which takes a long time to pay for itself.   

 

The ideal transport temperature is 8°C (46°F).

> Disease, pests and treatment

In the previous chapters we tackled the question of disease and pests which pose the biggest threat to cyclamens, and now we are going to look at the threats that directly damage the flower.

The treatments are identical to those used for pot growing.

The following pests can directly affect flowers:

  • Thrips (Frankiniella occidentalis)
  • Tarsonemus (polyphagotarsonemus latus)

 Botrytis is the disease that most often directly damages the flowers and plant.

THRIPS

The fight against thrips must be carefully tracked ; treatments are often put in place too late. It is highly recommended to take preventive measures. There are detection systems using traps enabling counting and treatments to be activated.

TARSONEMUS PALLIDUS – THE CYCLAMEN MITE

Tarsonemus pallidus – the cyclamen mite-  can appear throughout the whole growing cycle: from germination to flowering. Regular monitoring of plants enables these suspect individuals to be quickly eliminated.

The following preventive measures can be taken :

  • Reduce moisture (60-75%), to ensure a less favourable climate for mites.
  • Keep the temperature between 20°C (68°F) and 25 °C (77°F)
  • Avoid excess use of fertilizer containing nitrogen and potassium as they could stimulate and increase the life expectancy of mites.

BOTRYTIS

Botrytis cinerea (grey mould) preys on cyclamen, attacking plants at all stages.  The climatic conditions for growing cyclamen (15-20°C / 59-68°F) correspond to the ideal conditions for the spread of champignon. Botrytis cinerea is a permanent threat of infection. It can attack all organs at every stage of growth.


 

It is necessary to have full control over the greenhouse climate:

  • avoid confined atmospheres (reduce the degree of hygrometry in the air which must not exceed 80 %)
  • avoid too greater change in temperatures which would result in water condensation on the leaves
  • water early in the day, preferably without wetting the leaves
  • ensure that the plants are relatively dry at night
  • avoid draughts which scatter the spores

 

It is also necessary to :

  • use seeds free of contamination
  • remove vegetation waste and old leaves or wilted flowers from the growing area
  • ensure that greenhouses are permanently clean
  • ensure that there is sufficient space between plants to avoid leaves touching each other
  • handle the plants carefully when pricking out to ensure the tissue is not damaged
  • destroy diseased plants
  • monitor plant nutrition, a nitrogen/potassium imbalance weighted towards nitrogen results in understated growth, thus more vulnerable.

 

However, Botrytis cinerea is indifférent to the pH.

Caution

This advice sheet is based on the methods used at the SCEA at Montourey (Fréjus, France). These procedures may need some modification to adapt them to other climatic situations. Before starting to grow cyclamen there needs to be a review of precautions against pests and diseases.   We must point out that our advice and suggestions are offered for information purposes and therefore cannot include any guarantee of specific results; it is a good idea to carry out trials beforehand.

 

Cut cyclamen flowers :

S.A.S Morel Diffusion

2565, rue de Montourey
83600 Fréjus - France

International telephone : +33 (0)4 94 19 73 04
Switchboard : + 33 (0)4 94 19 73 00
Fax : +33 (0)4 94 19 73 19

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Technical Adviser
 

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