Pennsylvania Flower Growers #131
FORCING — Generally speaking most varieties of Hydrangeas may be forced in 13 weeks, if properly and sufficiently cured. Some later varieties like STRAFFORD take 10 days or so longer, but one thing that should be remembered, however, is that the more dormant the Hydrangea, the better and easier it will force. Likewise, a well rested human can do a much better day's work after a good night's sleep and rest. Timing, therefore, is important and growth should not be started either too early or too late to meet the flowering date desired. It is interesting to note that we find that more growers miss a late Easter than an early one—and this past season a great many growers had Hydrangeas in bloom long before the holiday which was on April 2nd. In this connection, however, these same growers found considerable interest on the part of retail customers who were glad to have flowering Hydrangeas long before Easter. Perhaps the reason for this is that people have had available all during the winter months an abundant supply of chrysanthemums, and are ready and willing to buy a quality Hydrangea as a home or hospital plant as soon as it is available on the market. One of the reasons for this, I feel, is that the beautiful pink shades of the Hydrangea, with its showy flower head has not been on the market during the winter, and the customer is ready for something a little different. This is to say that in many areas, particularly in the warmer climate of the south it is rather common to plan on having Hydrangeas salable in mid-March, which is usually several weeks in advance of even an early Easter. Should you desire to meet this possible market in your locality your first consideration would be to select the early forcing varieties, such as HAMBURG and RED CAP. Then, for those plants that are to be forced for Easter, the starting date should be timed to the following Easter insofar as possible. In most areas Mother's Day plants may be forced in about 11 weeks rather than the longer period for the earlier seasons, this fact being primarily due to the extra long period of storage that is possible.
Keywords: Mildew Easter Timing Fertilization Chlorosis Red Spider and aphids