Culture Report: Dianthus Constant Beauty Crush Series
Traditionally, dianthus breeding programs’ mother plants share lineage from temperate climates. All dianthus may look absolutely fantastic in the spring as cool nights and days promote intense flowering. We all see our garden centers become loaded with dianthus cultivars beginning in February and then make their disappearance as the summer heat turns on.
The Green Fuse Botanicals Constant Beauty breeding program of recognized this traditional need of dianthus for cool weather as an opportunity to bring forth an entirely new line, and an entirely new philosophy for dianthus. With a breeding line originating in the tropics, no heat, no humidity is too high for the Constant Beauty series. From Miami to Los Angeles, this consistent series will never go out of color. This pioneering attribute allows season-long dianthus sales and season long color for the end consumer!
A PROGRAMMABLE SERIES
The Constant Beauty Crush series boasts five crisp bicolors for year-round production. Burgundy, Cherry, Orange, Pink and Rose are all completely uniform in habit and finish times. While consumers easily gravitate to their vivid colors in retail, they will adore their tried-and-true landscape performance for years to come. Crush, like all Green Fuse Botanicals First Light genetics, requires zero vernalization and zero set number of daylength hours to initiate blooms; they are totally neutral.
Nearly all dianthus breeding programs offer multiple varieties per color. So, you may have four reds within the same series. This is required because all four of the reds have different day length requirements. What you may use for February will be different than May. This is not true for the Green Fuse Botanicals breeding program, we only need one red because it will have the same culture in winter production as it would in summer.
This unique ability will save time and labor as they are completely programmable based on desired ship week. Not only do you not need to fall plant for spring sales, we strongly urge you to remove those 12 to 20 weeks from your production cycle. Scheduling of the Constant Beauty Crush series, like all First Light perennials, is annualized. Back up your transplant date based on desired sales week, just as you would a petunia or a geranium. As the culture in this article shows, grow the plant, don’t hold the plant!
Propagation of Constant Beauty Crush series may be done under any light level, although we do recommend as high of light as possible given the region. A KIBA foliar at 250 ppm both day of stick and the second day from stick for the accumulation factor is recommended to hasten rooting time. High relative humidity at 85 to 90% is ideal to avoid dry down. Dianthus require heavy moisture at time of stick to rehydrate the cuttings. Wilting the unrooted cutting will add days to bench time.
Maintain a root zone temperature of 68 to 72° F until root emergence is visible at 10 to 12 days. Once roots emerge, move from propagation and place in a hardening house with 62 to 64° F average daily temperature for maximum bulking. Feed in the mist or by hand at 65-ppm nitrogen will avoid nutritional deficiencies related to high relative humidity. Total rooting time in a 25mm tray will be five weeks.
At time of transplant, a pinch is recommended as the Constant Beauty Crush series will often initiate buds in propagation. We also recommend an ethephon (Florel) application. Both will aid in bulking the plant and a quicker finish. All plant growth regulators should be tested prior to commercial use as environmental conditions can alter results. Ideal results on the Constant Beauty Crush series have been when 450- to 500-ppm ethephon is applied. This will decrease flower initiation allowing for more vegetative growth. When used in temperatures of 62° F average daily temperature, the ethephon response has been documented to be six weeks until flowering will resume. Finish time for a 1-gallon container with one plant per pot on the Crush series is nine to 10 weeks from transplant.
We hope that you are able to take advantage of the unique breeding program that allows for year-round dianthus production. Please save the labor normally required to “clean” dianthus and schedule the crops the same way you would a vegetative annual. Weeks on the calendar, not requirements of the plant, will save time and money! Please find more information on the Constant Beauty Crush series and other innovative plants at www.greenfuse.com.