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Temperature Differentials for Resting Period, and Flowering Cycle

Posted by BronxFigs Zone-7 (My Page) on
Thu, Nov 24, 11 at 9:34

I do not know how to solve some problems that I will soon face.

Clivias need at least a couple of months of cooler temps. and dryish, bright, growing conditions to trigger the flowering response...right? I'm growing my Clivias next to a very sunny sliding glass door in my kitchen. The leaves almost touch the glass. Now, day temps. can go into the high 60s in the winter months, but drop down to 60 degrees only at night. Is this enough of a temp. differential for the flowering cycle? Short of cracking open the sliding door at night to let cold air in, I see no way to realistically lower the temps. without freezing myself. I have no other areas in the house that will fill the cultural lighting requirements these Clivia need.

What do I do now??? Any suggestions, or, am I overly concerned?

Frank


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Temperature Differentials for Resting Period, and Flowering C

The conditions you list for bloom are correct except for the light. Clivia are shade plants and don't prefer bright light. They generally will need 6-8 weeks in temps of 35-50 degrees. I say "generally" because some plants just seem easier than others.

Suggestions for storage are a root cellar, attic, inside wall of a garage or the extra room where the heat vent is closed. Any place that doesn't freeze, but stays below 50*.
Gail


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RE: Temperature Differentials for Resting Period, and Flowering C

monet g:

Thanks for the information. I have a very cool area in the basement laundry room, but it gets almost no light to speak of. I also have an unheated storage shed, but that's also dark. I thought the plants needed cool, but bright, dry storage. Is a certain level of light necessary for triggering flowering cycle, or are light levels not that important when plants are in the quiescent phase? All the possible places that you mentioned seem to be quite dark.

Thanks for the help.

Frank


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RE: Temperature Differentials for Resting Period, and Flowering C

Hi Frank,
Can you get around in the basement area without the lights on? That would be fine. Actually, total darkness won't kill the plant.

You want to deprive them of all of life's pleasantries - food, water, light and warmth. All of these are important, but the most important are the cool temps.

Incidentally, the flower bud is developed six/nine months prior to pushing. If it doesn't get the right conditions to bloom it withers away within the plant.
Gail


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RE: Temperature Differentials for Resting Period, and Flowering C

Gail..... You're a life-saver!!!!!

Now that you told me that light is not THAT important, I think I can store my plants in my unheated shed for their dormancy/quiescent period. The temps. from about mid-October until about January are usually above freezing, and I've been told that the shed temps. are probably about 10 degrees warmer than outside temps. The temps. will be in the mid-30s to mid- 40s. So, this set-up should work, and even if I need some light, I have two small windows in the shed that I could uncover. I usually store a containerized Fig tree in this shed, but a few Clivias will fit also.

I guess by the end of September I should start holding back on the watering until the temps. drop down into the correct range, then dump the plants into the shed for 6-8 weeks of cold treatment. Preventing freezing might be a problem without some kind of temp.-controlled heat source, like maybe,... a heating cable wrapped around the pots, etc.

Now, a very important question:
Depending on the timing, these plants will probably have to come back into my kitchen by sometime in January. Do I bring these "chilled-for-two-months" plants directly into the warm(er) kitchen, and start them back into the new growth-cycle gradually?

Hey,...I'm glad I asked! Thanks for the very useful information, and any additional ideas would be most welcomed.

Frank


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RE: Temperature Differentials for Resting Period, and Flowering C

Hi Frank,
I'd be cautious of the temperature swings in the shed. I've read that a plastic, pop-up greenhouse can get to 60 degrees on a sunny winter day. That's when outside temps are in the 20s! Also, the mid-30s is awfully close to freezing. An occasional frost won't kill the plant, but the leaves will be badly damaged. I have a thermometer that shows the high/low temps within the prior 24 hours. I've found it invaluable to monitor the temps on my plants.

As for the exact process, I'll tell you what I do here in Michigan. Plants are outside all summer and are watered and feed well. They come into the house about October 15. The date depends on the weather that particular year. I withhold water so that the soil dries out and they're placed in a dimly lit, cool area. This year we've had a warm fall and temps won't start really cooling until next week. I'll give them a sip of water (to prevent the roots from shriveling) and put them in the root cellar. Then, I'll really start watching the temperature. If the area cools to the desired temps, I count that toward my timing for bloom. If the temps stay warm, I'll extend the time. During the dormant period I give them a sip of water every month or so. (Larger pots won't need as much as small ones.) Too much water in the cool, dormant period will lead to root rot.

Yes, start them to the growth-cycle gradually. Give them a sip of water, a little fertilizer, introduce light and some warmth. Within a week or two, increase all to normal conditions.

These are just guidelines, you'll find what works best for you. It took me a couple of years to test my process out and still some are reluctant to bloom. Others may not bloom until May, June or even later (out of season bloom).

Good luck.
Gail

P.S. Some people use Christmas lights wrapped around their plants on the occasional freezing night.


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RE: Temperature Differentials for Resting Period, and Flowering C

Gail....Thanks for sharing your thoughts about the potential problems I may face in using my storage shed for the Clivia's dormancy period.

I'm going to just follow these guidelines and make adjustments as I go along... see what works, and hope for the best. My storage shed, however, probably will be my best option. Rooms in my house will simply not get temps. low enough for the Clivia dormancy requirements.

Thanks for helping me think through some alternatives.

Frank


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