Magic Mimulus By Catherine Evans

This compact and early flowering mimulus is very uniform across the series.

Mimulus — not a crop you hear much about but should. The Magic series from Floranova grows approximately 10 inches high with flowers that are 1 3/4-2 inches in diameter. Magic has a very short production time under long days, with flowering 6-7 weeks after sowing. The plants are frost resistant and can flower again in the spring. Flowering time is spring to late summer. Magic should be sown in late winter to spring under glass. ‘Magic Blotch Mix’ has been added to the series this year for a total of 18 color choices. Other colors in the Magic series are White Flame, Yellow Blotch, Yellow Flame, Crimson, Ivory, Ivory Bicolour, Orange, Red, Wine, Yellow, Yellow Bicolour, Pastel Pink Shades, Pastel Yellow Improved, Peach, Pastel Mixed, White with Blotch and Mixed. Below are some culture tips suggested by Floranova.

Sowing and Germination

Sow the seed onto a pre-soaked, disease-free media with a pH of 5.5-5.8. Cover lightly and germinate at 60-65° F soil temperature. Emergence should start in two or three days, and the first true leaves will appear in another two or three days. High humidity will help speedy and uniform germination, so a fogging system is recommended. Should no fog be available then it is wise to cover the seed with a thin clear plastic sheet until the radicles emerge.

Once the true leaves are beginning to unfurl, soil temperature can be lowered to 50-55° F and the trays removed to full light. Some shading will be necessary on very bright days. Ensure the young plants never dry out, and apply a liquid feed high in potassium if necessary (100-150 ppm), which will help produce a compact sturdy plant.

Growing On

Mimulus grows best in low temperatures; excessive heat causes long, leggy growth. This can be prevented by a single, low-dose application of plant growth regulator at about the four-leaf stage, also by the avoidance of temperatures above 60° F.

Plugs can be transplanted directly into the finish container, which is likely to be a cell pack. Each cell should be about 21?2 inches across.Place the packs in a cool greenhouse, and maintain a night temperature of 40-45° F. Daytime temperatures should be kept as close to the night temperatures as possible but can be allowed to rise to between 55 and 60° F.

Supplementary fertilizer may be needed, and light applications of a high-potassium fertilizer can be applied together with irrigation. Never allow plants to dry out.

Pests and Diseases

Pests and diseases are not usually a problem. However, aphids and whiteflies can attack the crop, so it should be inspected regularly. Likewise, Botrytis is likely to infect any crop that is grown at too high temperatures, so care must be taken to prevent such conditions.

Catherine Evans

Catherine Evans is associate editor of GPN. She can be reached by phone at (847) 391-1050 or E-mail at [email protected]

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