CULTURE NOTES
12/1/2017

Rudbeckia Production That’s Anything but Rudimentary

Josiah Raymer

Rudbeckia Glitters Like Gold showcases lots of deep gold, 3-in. flowers with deep, dark  centers from late summer through early fall. Blooms are held above rounded mounds of robust, disease-resistant foliage. It will reach approximately 30 in. in height and spread to about 30 in. wide.
Glitters Like Gold naturally starts blooming in July and continues through October, but it can be forced to bloom earlier. It’s hardy in Zones 4 to 9.

Recommended finish size
Transplant from 72 liners into 1- to 2-gal. pots, using one plant per pot. Consider a preventive fungicide drench at liner planting to ensure good, robust growth from the start.

Finish time
Plants will be ready for overwintering or spring sales in approximately eight to 10 weeks.

Growing temperature
Rudbeckia prefer a climate on the relatively warm to moderate side. Aim for greenhouse temperatures at 70F (21C) days and 60F (16C) nights. Slightly cooler temps may work for production, but will add to finish times.

Media
Choose a well-draining, fertile, soilless growing medium. Glitters Like Gold isn’t picky and will likely do well in your standard perennial mix.

Soil pH
Soil pH should stay in the 5.8 to 6.5 range.

Soil electrical conductivity
Maintain electrical conductivity (EC) at 1.0 to 1.2 mS/cm using the 2:1 extraction method.

Light levels
Provide high to moderate light levels, approximately 4,000 to 7,000 foot candles (f.c.). This is especially important during the growing-on season. Glitters Like Gold thrives in part to full sun.

Supplemental lighting
Supplemental lighting is generally not needed to finish pots of Glitters Like Gold, but if you want flowers on your spring material, it’s an option. Glitters Like Gold can be forced to flower in spring if grown under long days. Ideally, this would be done with vernalized plants coming out in spring.

Fertilization
Glitters Like Gold does well with medium to high fertility rates. Provide a liquid feed of 150 to 200 ppm or a slow-release fertilizer at 0.75 to 1 lbs. of nitrogen per yard. Monitor electrical conductivity levels to determine how often to apply liquid feed.

Moisture level
Water plants thoroughly, letting media dry between waterings. Avoid overhead watering in the early morning and afternoon.

Insects and disease
Treat with a preventive broad-spectrum fungicide rotation. Follow a standard sanitation program and pests shouldn’t be a problem. This should include spacing that allows for proper airflow, which will reduce moisture buildup and foliar disease pressure. As always, regular scouting for diseases and insects will allow you to stay ahead of any problems that might pop up.

Vernalization requirements
For Rudbeckia Glitters Like Gold to reach its full bloom potential, it needs vernalization. Plants finished in fall and overwintered will need about eight to 10 weeks of cold treatment. This will result in plants that flush quickly in spring for early spring sales and give you the option to force early flowering. Plants potted in spring and grown without vernalization will finish, but may have reduced flowering.

Pinching and PGRs
No pinching is necessary and PGRs generally aren’t needed for Rudbeckia Glitters Like Gold. Examine plants for fullness around their projected finish time to establish an accurate finish time in your production system and adjust the following year’s production plan accordingly. GT

 


Josiah Raymer is head grower and general manager for Emerald Coast Growers, one of the country’s largest liner producers, specializing in perennials, ornamental grasses and succulents. For more information visit www.ecgrowers.com.