Culture Report: Cuphea FloriGlory Series
Mexican Heather is one of the most commonly used annuals, famous for its drought tolerance, consistent flower power and easiness in production. In 2016, Westhoff revolutionized the category with the introductions of FloriGlory, which put on more than double the flower power and double the flower size of any other cuphea varieties in the industry. In addition to the increased flower power, FloriGlory brings new colors and habits to the category.
The initial lineup was broken into two main groups; the standard bedding plant types that most growers are used to have taken on the Latina names, Diana, Maria, Sofia and Selena, and the larger, landscape shrub types specifically geared for southern gardens have the Latino names of Alonso, Diego and Miguel.
In 2017, ‘FloriGlory Diana’ was entered into the All-America Selections trial program and was awarded as an AAS Winner after being trialed against ‘Allyson’ and ‘Lavender Lace’.
FloriGlory cuphea are propagated from unrooted cuttings. They are available to North American growers from Cohen, Dümmen Orange, Quality Cuttings, Plant Source International and Vivero Internacional.
Cuphea is best rooted with two cuttings per cell. Rooting hormones are not necessary. Cuttings should remain under mist for six to eight days. The total propagation time from sticking to a finished liner should take three to four weeks.
Select a well-drained medium with a moderate starter charge and a pH of 5.6 to 5.8. Maintain uniform moisture levels and do not allow plants to become water stressed, as this will cause leaf drop. Liners should be pinched two weeks after transplant to encourage branching, and larger containers and hanging baskets will benefit from a second pinch a few weeks later. Larger containers may also be trimmed back at any time for shaping.
Cuphea is a day neutral crop, but flowering is initiated by total light accumulation. Therefore, plants grown in winter will take more weeks to come into flower than plants started in spring or summer. However, since it is a day neutral crop, FloriGlory cupheas can be offered for sale year-round with the adjusted crop time planning. Optimum light levels for production are 6,000 to 12,000 foot-candles. Once plants come into flower, they will bloom continuously year-round.
Recommended temperature is 71 to 79° F days and 59 to 64° F nights.
Fertilize at 150 ppm from 15-0-15, alternating with 20-10-20 every other irrigation. Cuphea is very sensitive to soluble salt buildup, so leach with clear water periodically to avoid damage.
PLANT GROWTH REGULATORS
With appropriate temperatures and fertilization levels, growth regulators are generally not needed. Plants can be pinched to shape as needed. If needed, Cycocel can be used at low rates.
AND THE AWARD GOES TO …
‘FloriGlory Diana’ won the All-America Selections award for its superior performance across North America. It was highly praised by the AAS judges for its larger flower size, an impressive number of flowers and the darker, more intensely colored magenta petals.
• “Well into September the entry has double its quantity of blossoms.”
• “Double flowers, more of them and a nice dark green foliage.”
• “During the entire season, the entry had more vibrant flower color and darker foliage.”
• “It is the end of September and the entry is going strong with tons of blooms”
• “A winner for sure.”
• “Entry had more blooms, was darker in foliage color, and was more compact.”
“We are so excited anytime we get an entry then a top-performing Winner from a new company and in the case of ‘FloriGlory Diana’, not only is this the first AAS Winner for Westhoff, it is also the first-ever cuphea to win an AAS award,” said Diane Blazek, executive director, All-America Selections.