Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Why Lipstick Plants Flower? --- My Conclusions

Lipstick Plant Buds

What problem are we trying to solve here?

            Commercial horticulture demands that flowering crops can be consistently grown into a salable product in the shortest possible time.  This depends on knowing the flowering response ---- what triggers flowering?

            There is a vague understanding of what makes Lipstick (Aeschynanthus) plants flower.  Flowering is variety specific.  My conclusions are for the clone with classic red lipstick tube and flower.  This clone may be A. lobbianus.  Regardless of the name, the stock material that I have available to me, flowers in hanging basket form around Christmas.

            The goal will be to produce 4” or 6” baskets in the Fall for December flowering.  8” or 10” baskets are too heavy for indoor use.  If a 4” pot can be produced from budded shoots --- even better.

Everyone agrees that Lipsticks are seasonal, but what does that mean?

            I believe that day-length is not a trigger.  If it were, growers would already be cranking them out on a Mum schedule year around.

            The Fall flowering must be either from the total accumulation of light from Summer or a lowering of temperature.  Or Both.

            The maturity/age of the branch is mandatory.  Young growth does not flower.  After the main flush of flowers, any sporadic later flowering is probably from younger growth that has matured.

            So, in the absence of controlled experiments where we can test one piece of environment at a time, my conclusion is this:

1.      Propagate Spring and Summer.
2.     Get maturity Summer and Fall
3.     Wait for cooler Fall temperatures.
4.     Budding will occur Oct/Nov

5.     Flowering in Dec/Jan/Feb

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