Christmas in July – Or Not

Tis the season to be hot and humid FA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LAAA.  Tis also the season to start the poinsettia production to sell this winter.  Here’s how it starts.

First we put together the Oasis strips that are spaced out in net trays.  The Oasis strips are used as the rooting media for the poinsettia cuttings in place of regular potting soil/peat moss media.  The Oasis strips are a stiff foam similar to the foam/sponge material used in floral arrangement.

Then the trays are laid out on tables in the greenhouse.  The day before the cuttings arrive.  We saturate the strips with overhead watering.

When the cuttings arrive they are sorted and unpacked.

The stems are dipped in rooting powder to stimulate root growth.

The cuttings are stuck into the pre-drilled holes in the Oasis strips.

These cuttings are not in any trouble.  They have been stuck a few hours.  It takes the cuttings a day or so to resatuarate from the shipping process and will look better by tomorrow.

We are in the process of planting the last crop in Bay 3 of our plug house.  These have been stuck for about 24 hours.  You can see the difference a day makes in how they look.  The pale color is nothing to worry about.  This is a white variety.  The leaf color on the whites are alway paler.

This is the planting in Bay 2.  These have been stuck about a week and are looking good.

This is the first crop we stuck in Bay 1 and were planted a day or two before the ones in Bay 2.  They should root out completely by the end of the month and be ready to plant by the first week of August.

Poinsettia crops are long term crops that take 18-20 weeks to produce not like petunias or marigolds that only take about 8 weeks.  In addition to taking longer poinsettias also take a lot more labor hours to grow.  All the pots are hand watered.  They are drenched with fungicides and sprayed with plant growth regulators to prevent diseases and to keep the plants short in the hot Arkansas weather.  They are also checked several times a week for height which is compared to a growth chart that tells us how our crop compares to where we need it to be.

Poinsettias are not my favorite crop, but I like them more each year since we increased production by about 30% this year.

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