Illinois State Florists' Association
A NEW chemical treatment will enable florists and nurserymen to supply blooming azaleas any time of year. Blooming and ready-to-bloom azalea plants in pots are popular in winter and spring because azaleas have a wide range of flower colors and their flowers are long lasting. Using chemicals to produce blooming azaleas out of season is comparable to manipulating day length to produce blooming chrysanthemums out of season. Dr. Neil W. Stuart, Agr. Res. Service physiologist at the Agricultural Research Center, Beltsville, Md., dis covered the treatment when he applied the growth-retarding chemicals phosfon and CCC to azaleas. Treated azaleas ceased shoot growth and set flower buds. Either chemical is effective when dissolved and applied as a soil drench; CCC is effective as a foliar spray also. The treatment forces bud development; flowering occurs after treated plants are held under controlled temperature and light conditions. After chemical treatment, existing growing conditions are maintained for 2 months. For the third month, plants are put in a cold room (50°F.) and illuminated 12 hours daily. Exposure to this temperature satisfies azaleas' prebloom cold requirement; 12 hours' illumination daily prevents leaf drop. Blooming takes place 4 to 6 weeks after the plants are removed from the cold room.
Keywords: Foliar spray Controlled temperature Light conditions Growth-retarding chemicals phosfon CCC