Look after your cyclamen!
With the onset of autumn and the first cyclamen plants arriving on the market, it’s time to adjust growing conditions.
"After such a warm and sunny summer, this can be a challenge.", says Ben Geijtenbeek, Senior Crop Technical Specialist at Syngenta Flowers®, based at Enkhuizen in the Netherlands.
As growing conditions lessen every day – lower light intensity, shorter days, and increasing humidity levels – the risk of problems increases. Root issues, stretching, botrytis, and loss of flower quality are all a potential risk.
In order to avoid the aforementioned problems, Ben provides specific cultivation advices to be applied under such circumstances.
“We advise growers to control and maintain an optimal fertilizer balance in the pot, by taking into account the lower water needs of plants due to less evaporation; but also the increasing need for fertilizer consumption because of the plant’s size and quickly developing flowers,” he says.
Ben adds, “As long as plants are very active, calcium levels need special attention because it plays a major role in leaf and flower tissue quality and botrytis resistance. In this specific cultivation period there is also an increased demand for potassium."
Controlling pH (acidity) and EC (electric conductivity) should continue during this season.
Climate control is another important aspect. Avoid a quick change from day to night temperatures – especially after a sunny day, Ben advises. This prevents added root pressure, which can then lead to damage on flower edges, followed by a botrytis attack.
The cyclamen Crop Specialist continues, “The easiest and most economical way to ‘save’ free solar heat from the sun is to control afternoon temperature settings.” Temperatures should then be allowed to drop to night-time levels very slowly.
Still, Ben's most important advice with all of these steps is to be active rather than reactive.
If you do act in time, the result will be beautiful cyclamen with less disease, better plant quality for customers and a much higher percentage of sold plants.