January 23, 2008 - 00:00

‘SunBathers Gold Coast’ and ‘SunBathers Sunset’ feature large flowers in orange and bright gold. The flowers lack the typical dark eye present on most gazanias and have a semidouble form. They may be grown cool but should also perform throughout the heat of the summer. This series is best suited for 4-inch, 6-inch and 1-gallon containers. Typical crop timing is 13 to 17 weeks including time in propagation.

During propagation, avoid media containing peat moss, which will hold too much water. Choose a blended media with other components or inorganic media. Time to root and uniformity in rooting will be improved with the use of a rooting hormone. Gazania should not be pinched in propagation but will benefit from lower-leaf removal when the cuttings are stuck.

Begin fertilizing two weeks after transplant. Apply 200- to 250-ppm constant liquid feed. Maintain pH between 5.8 and 6.2. Optimum EC level is 2-2.5. Maintain temperatures at 68° F days and 55-60° F nights. Keep relative humidity below 70 percent, and provide good air circulation to avoid problems with Botrytis. SunBathers prefer bright light. For best results, provide 5,000-6,000 foot-candles.

Adequate spacing and good light levels are the best way to control stretch. If plant growth regulators are needed, SunBathers respond to B-Nine (daminozide) as a spray at 2,500 ppm or Cycocel (chlormequat chloride) as a spray at 1,500 ppm.

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Encinitas, CA