Though it's early May, it’s not too early to start thinking about poinsettia and/or fall mum propagation. I know some growers have already received unrooted cuttings of fall garden mums; however, if you have not received your cuttings yet, but plan to do so, these cultural and environmental propagation reminders will help you prepare to get your cuttings off to a good start.
Prior to unrooted cutting arrival, ensure the propagation environment is clean and sanitized. Start by turning off the mist if it is still running. This will also allow any algae or other material to dry for easier removal. Growers should remove any leftover spring plant material, debris, or weeds from the propagation space and clean the propagation benches, floors, and mist nozzles. The propagation environment should be free of algae, pests, and weeds. Ensure that you have an action plan to prevent and control disease and pest entry during propagation. Determine your propagation substrate, liner tray, rooting hormone, and surfactant supply is adequate, therefore reducing the likelihood of shortage. Before filling any propagation trays, determine the initial substrate pH and electrical conductivity (EC) for low or high pH or EC problems. During propagation, monitor propagation substrate pH and EC by performing 1:2 Extraction, SME, or PourThru procedures. For mums, the optimal substrate pH is 5.8 to 6.2, and substrate EC should remain below 1.5, 3.3, and 3.3 mS/cm, based on the 1:2 Extraction, SME, or PourThru methods, respectively. For poinsettias, optimal substrate pH is 5.5 to 6.5, and substrate EC should remain below 1.5, 3.3, and 3.3 mS/cm, based on the 1:2 Extraction, SME, or PourThru methods, respectively.
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