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Successfully Growing Kalanchoes
Use any well-draining commercial mix or 60% peat moss and 40% perlite.
For initial root out, the temperature should be 68ºF. Temperatures may be reduced to 65-68ºF during flower initiation and growing.
Use a constant feed of 20 – 10 – 20 during vegetative growth. Alternate clear water and feed during S.D.T. Resume constant feed until two weeks before sales, then use clear water to finish.
Kalanchoes require six weeks of short days (at least 14 hours of darkness) to initiate flowers. Short-day treatment is not needed after this initial six weeks. Use black cloth from February 10 through October 20.
To keep plants vegetative during initial growth, 20 f.c. of light are needed for one to two hours in the middle of the night from September 15 through March 21.
It is not necessary to pinch Forever Maxi and Forever Midi Kalanchoes. If HID lighting is not available in the winter, growers in the North should pinch the Prestige cultivars for better branching. Generally, for 4″ pots, one week of long days in the summer and three weeks of long days in the winter are sufficient after transplanting a liner to get good vegetative growth. For 6″ pots use Maxi cultivars, three per pot. Grow the same as the 4″ pots. If Prestige are used in 6″ pots, three per pot, grow for 2 weeks of long days in the summer and 4 to 5 weeks in the winter. Add three weeks for a direct stick program. Three more vegetative nodes will develop after the start of short day treatment before the flower stem develops. Use this as a guide for estimating final size of the plant.
Generally, it is not necessary to use growth regulators with Forever Maxi and Forever Midi cultivars, although a single application of B-Nine® may be beneficial in the South in the summer. Use at a rate of 2,500 ppm five weeks after start of short day treatment. With Prestige cultivars, apply B-Nine® once or twice in the summer, three to five weeks after start of short day treatment. In the winter apply once, if necessary, five weeks after start of short day treatment. Kalanchoes respond well to the use of negative D.I.F. for height control.
Pests and Diseases:
Maintain good ventilation practices to help control botrytis and powdery mildew. Many fungicides can be used, but do not use Karathane® or Rubigan®. Insects can be controlled on a see-and treat basis. Orthene®, Dycard®, Thiodan® WP (not EC), Avid®, pyrethroids and Azatin® may be used to treat insect pests according to label recommendations.
Black Cloth Recommendations:
The black cloth system need not be elaborate. Simply pull 4-mil black poly over the plants. Make sure the plastic is wide enough to drop just beyond the sides of the bed. When the days are hot and bright, pull the plastic at 7:00 pm and remove at 9:00 am. Since there is no need to black cloth after the end of six weeks of S.D.T., there will be no damage to the flower buds. Also, the plants can remain pot tight in a tray during this treatment so that they don’t fall over while pulling the plastic on and off.
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