“Time is money,” says Brian Bourdon, Operation Manager of Offsites & Crop Supply Chain at Four Star. “That’s why Supernova Liners can benefit both large and small growers.”
Supernova Liners were developed more than 20 years ago in cooperation with researchers at Michigan State University to ensure that small container crops have consistent and faster flowering for market. To do this, Four Star treats regular sized liners with a treatment of intensive lighting, spacing to encourage growth, pinching, PGRs and heat — all of which help the liners flower faster and on time.
Brian Bourdon, Operation Manager of Offsites & Crop Supply Chain
“These are not larger plugs with bigger soil volume. We don’t want that because you’d need more PGRs,” Bourdon explains. “This treatment is meant for Grande small containers, allowing each plant to have more branching and more flowers in a much quicker time period.
Faster to market
“A standard sized liner typically would take 7 to 10 weeks to be ready to market in a 4-inch container,” he says. “And growers who don’t use PGRs on them would have to deal with the plants growing into each other.”
Like all Supernova Liners, the Golden Butterfly Argyranthemum plug shown here is a regular sized liner that receives special treatment for faster flowering.
In contrast, Bourdon says, Supernovas are ready for market much more quickly. “They cost more initially, but the biggest payback is in time. Supernovas take only 4 or 5 weeks to finish, and need no pinching or PGRs. Those labor expense savings more than offset the initial price.”
Because the crops finish more quickly, many growers also have been able to finish plants early and add an extra turn every season, which can be a considerable advantage, he adds.
More flowers, on time
Two of the main advantages of using Supernova Liners are that they are faster to flower (saving production time) and they need less attention from workers (saving labor). Because these liners are pinched at Four Star, they do not need further pinching by the grower. In fact, pinching is not recommended because it would remove the initiated buds.
Supernova treatment is only used on those plants that can benefit from it, Bourdon says. “Some plants just don’t need it, so we don’t use it on them. Bacopa is a good example. They do well alone as a 104 Liner in a Grande container. As we introduce new varieties, we determine which ones can benefit from the treatment.”
The difference in a Supernova treated versus a standard liner plant can be seen in comparative photographs like those shown here. Supernova treated liners have thicker branching and faster, more consistent flowering. This allows growers to have beautiful crops ready for market with every turn.
Supernova Liners are offered as 52s, 50s and 28 Thrillers. Supernova 52s are available in several popular varieties such as Angelonia, Calibrachoa, Petunia, Nemesia, Salvia, Verbena and others. Supernova 50s are offered in Infinity New Guinea Impatiens and SunPatiens Impatiens. The 28 Thrillers support a larger, well-developed root system for larger containers.
Growing Supernovas is easy
“I am often asked for my advice, and I would recommend growers make sure to maintain warmer temperatures in their greenhouses to finish Supernovas on time. I recommend mid- to upper 60s to keep the flowers developing on schedule. Otherwise, if it is too cool, they will grow more slowly.”
Supernova 52 Liners like these Supertunia Petunias have the same soil volume as a 104 Liner but are spaced every other plant in the tray to encourage more branching and flowers.
“With every order of Supernova Liners, Four Star provides cultural information,” says Bourdon. “You can also find a lot of information about Supernova culture on our website.”
Grow Supernova Liners in greenhouses heated from the mid- to upper 60s to finish on time, with full flowers and branching.