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Preventing premature budding in mums

Premature budding in mums is a common problem that many mum growers see from time to time. There can be several causes to this problem and it can involve an entire crop coming into flower early or it is scattered within a crop. In some cases, there is inconsistent, premature budding that occurs within individual plants. Having mums bloom too early or with inconsistent blooming will affect crop sales. What causes premature budding and how can it be corrected?

There are three premature budding scenarios. First, premature budding can occur within a whole mum crop in which it flowers too early and you miss your targeted sales date. Second, premature budding can occur in a small percentage of mums and is often more of a problem in some cultivars than others. This will lead to some mums being ready too soon, while others are on schedule. Third, only a portion of a plant exhibits premature budding.

The problem is that those stems or portions of the plant that bud up prematurely will stop growth earlier than the rest of the plant and begin flowering prematurely. These flowers then decline and die before the rest of the plant flowers, causing holes in the flower canopy where there are short stems with dead flowers. As expected, this detracts from the plant, reducing its quality.

As mentioned, when a mum or portion of a mum transitions from vegetative growth to premature budding, this reduces stem growth and plant size. Stems no longer develop leaves or nodes, which restricts stem length. A mum that has a portion of its stems go into premature budding is lopsided and does not have a nice round habit, while an entire crop that goes into flower too soon will not have enough growth time to produce size.

Keep in mind that water stress can also restrict plant size by reducing branching and slowing down the growth rate of the plant. This is often seen in greenhouse crops in which water is withheld and used as a natural plant growth regulator. If possible, do not let mums wilt during the active vegetative growth phase in order to maximize plant size.

Read more at PRO-MIX

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