Avoiding Bedding Plant Stretch
Roberto G. Lopez, Ph.D., Assistant Professor and Floriculture Extension Specialist, Purdue University
Most garden centers and retail greenhouses stock their facilities with large quantities of bedding plants for peak sales on Mother’s day weekend. The bedding plants that remain are often sold until the end of May. Typically carts and benches are tightly filled with cell pack, flats and containers which cause them to elongate and become of poor quality (Figure 1 and 2). What can be done to avoid your post-Mother’s day bedding plants becoming of poor quality? 1) provide adequate spacing, especially for certain species (ex. impatiens, geranium, petunia), 2) do not provide excessive shading or place cell packs, flats, or containers under hanging baskets (Figure 3) and 3) do not over fertilize.
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Figures 1 and 2. A tightly spaced 18-01 cell and flat of impatiens that has become elongated.
Figure 3. Shade-intolerant bedding plant species should never be placed under a hanging basket crop as the one in this photograph.