- Now we should be enjoying the success of a years good culture, plenty of flowers, or at very least
a forest of spikes. Remember, the developing spikes, and even those with open flowers, can be damaged for even
broken accidentally during normal activity around the plant. You do not want to destroy your cultural success at
this stage, so staking is important. ;Bamboo or heavy wire stakes are suitable, but watch for sharp points at the
ends of the stakes. The bending over of wire supports may prevent eye damage when you are closely looking at the
plants. Plastic caps are also available which also emphasise th eposition of stakes, and provide eye protection.
- Do not tie the spikes too tightly to the support as this can constrict further development, just tie
enough to give support. Place the stake in from the edge of the container. The main roots often encircle the outer
edge of the pot, and can be damaged if the stake is inserted there. When stakeing, try and allow natural spike
form to the individual plant to develop as this will generally produce the best display .
- For the best display, ensure spike management rules are carefully
followed. This is fully discussed on the relevant page.
- The plant expends considerable energy in producing the spikes and flowers, and best results will only be obtained
if the plants are in good condition and healthy. If there is any doubt concerning the vitality of a plant,
the spike should be removed early. It is generally recommended that spikes should be removed some two to three
weeks after the last flower on the spike opens. As it takes two to three weeks or so for all the flowers to open,
the flowers can be enjoyed on the plant for a reasonable period, before serving further time in a floral arrangement.
For a strong plant, spikes can be left longer, as energy is expended to produce the spike and there is likely to
be limited drain on the plant with the open flowers just sitting there. If they are pollinated, however, then the
drain on the plant will increase considerably.
- Pests and diseases should not be a great problem, although slugs and snails can cause damage in some
cases. Those growing in a heated glasshouse may still experience red spider, although in cool situations this should
not prove be a problem. Any insects are best controlled by a suitable powdered insecticide such as 'rose dust',
which will be suitable for amateur use.
- Plants should be protected from the worst weather . If you do not have a glasshouse grow in a porch
or provide some overhead cover. Try and eliminate cold gales, although on milder days plenty of fresh air will
do no harm. In any enclosed space, try and provide plenty of air movement, if necessary utilising fans, as this
will eliminate most flower, and many plant fungal and bacterial problems.
- Watering must be completed carefully. In cold conditions let the plants dry out somewhat as this will
prevent root death. ;The dryness now will not do the plant any real harm as most species in their natural habitat
would receive dry conditions at this season anyway. Any watering must be adjusted to plant activity, pot size,
condition of the potting mix, etc. Additional care at this time of the year ensures the roots are maintained in
good condition, which is essential if early, strong growth is to be achieved in the spring. Do not allow water
to fall on to the flowers, as this can cause unsightly spotting of some. With warm days and cool nights, condensation
can also form on the flowers, which, under cool conditions can cause spotting. This problem can be minimized if
good air movement is maintained at all times, but especially at night.. Leaving a small fan running in a glasshouse
can be most beneficial.