Sultan Snapdragons By Ryan O'Callaghan

What makes the Sultan series so much better than othertrailing snapdragons is its beautifully mounded habit that’s literally coveredwith blooms, unlike most other trailing snapdragons, which have very few bloomsnear the crown.

Growers will appreciate the benefits of growing thesesnapdragons. Sultans have been noted at numerous trialing sites as beingearlier than other trailing snapdragons on the market. In addition, the highlybranched habit of these super-performers makes them a great choice for 4-inchor larger containers, hanging baskets or in mixed containers.

Results from the 2003 Colorado State University AnnualFlower Trial rated ‘Sultan Light Yellow’ as Best of Trial in its class. In the2003 Pennsylvania State University Annual Flower Trial, Sultan Light Yellow wasagain chosen as the Best of Species and the Best Overall Snapdragon.

The Sultan series consists of ten rich colors: Bronze,Lavender, Light Pink, Light Yellow, Purple, Red, Red & Yellow, Rose, Whiteand Yellow. Sultans are available in both unrooted and rooted form. Check withyour broker for availability of Sultan snapdragons.

Rooting

Prior to receiving your unrooted cuttings, make sure yourpropagation area is clean and disinfected. The use of a rooting hormone willencourage uniform rooting; however, excess hormones can cause damage. Select aporous media that drains well. A pre-plant charge of micro and macro nutrientsis recommended. A bottom heat temperature of 70-74° F is encouraged topromote rooting. Rooting time is 28 days. During the rooting phase, cuttingswill require misting for the first 4-6 days or until roots begin to push intothe media. Mist as needed to keep the cuttings turgid and prevent wilting. Agood rule of thumb is to keep the media wet to the touch (80-90 percenthumidity) but not so wet that water puddles to the touch, which would be thepoint of saturation.

Shade the cuttings for the first week at 1,500-2,000foot-candles. Once the cuttings are fully established with roots, light levelsmay be increased to 3,500-4,500 foot-candles. The ideal air temperature isbetween 65-75° F. A preventative soil drench for Pythium can be appliedanytime after sticking the cuttings. Maintain a pH between 5.8-6.4 and a mediaEC less than 1.5 for optimal growth. Fertilizer at a rate of 50-100 ppm can beapplied once the cuttings begin to root.

Finishing

To encourage branching, a soft pinch may be done at the timeof transplant. If needed, a secondary pinch may be done to create a fullerplant once the roots are well established. Continue maintaining a pH of 5.8-6.4and an EC level between 0.5-1.2. Once new root growth is established, aconstant liquid feed program of nitrate-based fertilizer, such as 14-2-14, isrecommended at a rate of 150-200 ppm nitrogen. To avoid stretching, avoid daytemperatures higher than 75° F. Ideal temperatures are 60-75° F day and50-55° F night. To help aid in preventing stretching, an application ofB-Nine at 150 ppm is recommended. The Sultans are also very responsive to anegative DIF.

Scout the crop for thrips, aphids and spider mites, whichare common pests. Common diseases include Botrytis, Pythium, powdery and downymildew, rust, Fusarium, impatiens necrotic spot virus and tomato spotted wiltvirus. Treat for any pests or diseases accordingly.

Scheduling of Sultan snapdragons from a rooted cutting to a4-inch finish is 8-12 weeks, while a 6-inch will finish in 10-14 weeks. Baskets(10-12 inches) usually finish in 10-14 weeks from a rooted cutting. Sultanshave a garden height of 8-12 inches and a width of 12-16 inches. Thesesnapdragons are hardy in USDA Zone 11 and perform best in AHS Heat Zones 12-1.

Ryan O'Callaghan

Ryan O'Callaghan is account manager at Goldsmith Plants. He can be reached by phone at (800) 540-0158.



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