Before the development of free branching cultivars, florist quality poinsettias were grown as multiple, non-pinched plants in a pot. Although the “branched’ plant is the most commonly grown form today, non-branched poinsettias continue to be grown for elite “florist quality” blooming crops. This plant form offers something different from the standard branched plant, creating increased sales opportunities in the market. Some considerations when producing single stem poinsettias include:
1. Shorter production time compared to branched plants:
Cuttings may be planted later than required for branched plants. Using rooted cuttings, the plant date for a 3 stem non-pinched plant in a 6-6.5″ pot typically would be 2 to 3 weeks later for branched plants. If larger forms are produced (5 bloom, 7 bloom, etc.), then earlier start dates are required. The table below is based on anticipated floral induction date of September 25. Adjust dates if using cultivars that set bud earlier (approximately September 15) such as Prestige Early Red.
2. Flexibility of poinsettia cultivar choice:
Outstanding quality single stem plants may be grown using most cultivars. Some growers may prefer the extra fullness that results from the side shoot growth of free branching cultivars. However, if the side shoots are removed, do so when growth is large enough to remove easily but is less than 3 inches in length. Waiting longer to remove shoots results in injury to the stem and allows entry points for disease.
- Autumn Red
- Prestige Early Red
- Jubilee Red
- Red Velveteen
- Prestige Red
- Red Velvet
- Red Glitter
- Solstice Red
- Red Velvet
3. Opportunity to use late cuttings produced from stock plants:
Single stem production helps increase the productivity of your stock. Cuttings that are too late to “pinch” may be used for non-pinched plants. Single stem crops require more cuttings per pot. However, late cuttings make stock plants more productive, lowering the unit cost of each cutting.
4. Increased plant symmetry and uniformity:
Symmetry and uniformity is achieved by selecting rooted cuttings of similar height, caliper and root development at the time of planting. This will also help reduce the amount of selective growth regulator sprays required to even out the pots. It is more difficult to get uniform growth and development if cuttings are rooted directly in pots. Generally, an odd number of cuttings (3, 5 or 7 per pot) create the most attractive finished product. However, 4 or 10 cuttings per pot works well too! Suggested planting patterns are shown below.
5. Reduced breakage or damage during shipping:
Stems of non-pinched plants are sturdier than those of branched plants, allowing greater durability in shipping. Sleeves with more flare may be needed to accommodate larger bracts of single stem crops.
6. Increased return based on higher market prices:
Non-pinched poinsettias command a higher price structure than branched plants.
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