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Pointers for profitable poinsettia.

By late summer many poinsettia growers in the British Isles have just planted their new crop, crop nutrition expert and Solufeed MD Dick Holden considers some key aspects of their cultivation.

A good start!

Poinsettia requires a good quality coarse open compost to ensure good drainage and aeration. A number of compost incorporated insecticides* to control soil and foliar pests such as aphids, sciarid fly and white fly can be specified. Couraze*(active ingredient, imidacloprid) from Solufeed is suitable and regulatory compliant (UK) for use on poinsettia and will typically provide protection for the growing season.

Irrigation water used for poinsettia needs to be acidic with preferably a pH of 6.0 - 6.5.  This will improve plant nutrition by keeping nutrients especially the trace elements available.  Where the source water is alkaline consider acidifying or using Solufeed Superior acidifying fertilizers.

Take some time making sure that your fertigation system is in tip top condition; no blockages, clean filters, dosing equipment calibrated etc.  Consider using PHC AgroAcid, a new low-hazard alternative to mineral acids, for this purpose or as a mineral acid replacement to correct pH.

It's all about nutritionundefined

The traditional approach is to start with a balanced feed such as Solufeed 1:1:1 up to mid/end September then switch to a high potash feed such as Solufeed 2:1:4 to finish the crop. Target conductivity throughout is about 1,500 µS which means in effect 1 g/litre feeds (Usually a 10% stock tank solution diluted 1:100).

Early on encourage plants to develop a strong root system by not feeding too much.  Also avoid overwatering which stunts root growth and can cause the development of nutritional deficiencies later in the growing season.  Wet composts also encourages sciarid fly,

In some circumstances such as in soft water areas, additional calcium maybe required to strengthen bracts. Normal calcium nitrate can be used where a separate "A" tank is available; for one tank systems, chelated calcium (Solufeed Ca 9.5 EDTA) which is compatible with soluble phosphate is the product of choice.

Growers often think that the development of the red colour in the bracts is related to the feeding; in fact it is not. Rather it is related to the day length, but it coincides with the change to high K feeds.

To save money, some Growers ease off the feed by 30% or so in the final 2 weeks before harvest but this can be false economy as plant quality may suffer.

Watch out for iron and manganese deficiencies which both show as interveinal yellowing in the new growth with iron deficiency being more distinct.  Act very quickly if symptoms are seen by increasing the iron and or manganese levels in feed solutions.  This is easily achieved by using formulations from the wide range of Solufeed chelates.

Read our recent blog containing more information about the nutrition of ornamentals.

Conclusion

Poinsettia are a fickle crop to grow and producing a profitable depends on having the right skills and good equipment together with close attention to nutritional needs.  With over 60 years' fertilizer experience, why not choose Solufeed as your plant nutrition partner?

 

Couraze contains imidacloprid. Use plant protection products safely. Always read the label and product information before use.

* Users should satisfy themselves about local regulatory compliance.