Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Greenhouse - Premature Cyathia Abscission in Poinsettia

The following is information on premature cyathia abscission in poinsettias.

Premature cyathia abscission

The bracts are the conspicuous features of the poinsettia and the true flower parts in the center of the apex (the cyathia) are relatively unnoticed unless they are missing. Varieties differ in their ability to retain cyathia, and 'Gutbier V-10 Amy' was an example of one where the cyathia abscise rather quickly. Often, the cyathia fall off when the plants are still in the greenhouse. However, many of the newer cultivars have improved cyathia retention or there are few cyathia present, which limits the use of cyathia as an indicator of age.

A combination of high night temperatures (70°F or higher) and low-light intensities during the day, have been shown to increase the chances of premature cyathia abscission. Research has shown that such conditions result in an inadequate supply of carbohydrates, and cyathia do not have a high priority for the carbohydrates which are available. Inadequate water also increases the severity of the problem.

Maximum night temperatures of 65°F until early November, followed by temperatures of approximately 60°F, and proper spacing of the plants to allow light penetration into the interior of the bench are recommended procedures to reduce the incidence of cyathia abscission. Water stress should not be allowed to occur.

Information from the Poinsettia Problem Diagnostic Key on Physiological Disorders from North Carolina State University http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/poinsettia/corrective/a11.html

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