Thursday, January 22, 2009

Greenhouse - Fertilizing Easter Lilies

Those greenhouse growers who are growing easter lilies know that once they start to put on some size, they need a good nitrogen supply. The following are some fertilization recommendations for Easter lilies at this time of year from the University of Maryland.

Fertility of Easter Lilies in January

Easter lily plants need fertilizer early in the crop cycle to produce vigorous plant with large, dark leaf size and to have vigorous stem expansion. Calcium nitrate fertilizer should be applied at 300 – 400 ppm regularly. The problem is that in January when we have dark weather it is often impossible to make an adequate number of liquid fertilizer applications because the soil does not dry out quickly enough. The best method to prevent nitrogen deficiency is to top dress with a controlled release fertilizer such as Osmocote. Some growers will apply Nitroform at ½ teaspoon per 6” pot in mid- January, spreading it around the surface of the substrate in the pot and not piling it up in one spot. They will often reapply the Nitorform in mid-February. Check the soluble salt levels weekly. These levels should be maintained around 1.5 – 2.0 micromohs per square centimeters using a 1:2 soil/water dilution method. This level will be slightly higher if using the pour-thru method.

Reprinted from the January 9, 2009 edition of the Greenhouse TPM/IPM Bi-Weekly Report from the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension, Central Maryland Research and Education Center

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