Extending Dragon’s Breath Sales: Unlocking the Secrets of Celosia

Springtime is a time of vibrant blooms and blossoming beauty. Among the myriad of flowers that have captivated the hearts of growers, retailers, and garden enthusiasts is the mesmerizing ‘Dragon’s Breath Red’ celosia from Sakata Seed. With its deep, iridescent maroon foliage and flowering plumes, this celosia variety has taken the gardening world by storm.

From the West coast to the East coast, from the deep south to the Midwest, springtime bedding plant sales have witnessed an extraordinary surge in popularity with the introduction of this billowing beauty. However, a question lingers: can we extend the sales of Dragon’s Breath celosia into the late summer months? And would it thrive as a part of combination pots for fall sales? The answer, unequivocally, is a resounding yes!

Sakata has previously shared insights on spring sales and how to produce Dragon’s Breath crops in flower for the traditionally high-volume, peak selling weeks. But to ensure the longevity of flowering Dragon’s Breath crops into summer and fall, different day-length regimens must be implemented.

Understanding Photoperiodic Response

The Dragon’s Breath celosia is an obligate short-day plant, requiring less than 11 hours of day-length to initiate flowering. Typically, many celosia varieties, including Dragon’s Breath, can initiate flowering between 14 to 21 days after sowing. However, for a summer or fall crop, when natural day lengths exceed 11 hours, growers need to resort to black-clothing after day 21 to ensure optimal flowering.

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By consistently maintaining short days (less than 11 hours) for a continuous period of 21 to 28 days, growers effectively prevent the crop from aborting early bud formation and guarantee a stunning display of blooms.

Unleashing the Power of Combination Pots

Aesthetic symphonies often arise when Dragon’s Breath celosia is paired with other sun-loving, flowering plants. The bright blooms of SunPatiens, SuperCal petunias, or Profusion zinnias provide a striking contrast against the dark red foliage of Dragon’s Breath celosia. To achieve harmonious combinations, several techniques can be employed to ensure that Dragon’s Breath is in full bloom when needed.

One method involves transplanting the component plants into the finished container, using a smaller empty pot inserted into the center. Once the short-day requirement has been fulfilled and the plant has initiated flowering, a Dragon’s Breath plant can be easily dropped into the center pot, resulting in a simple yet stunning arrangement.

Alternatively, the component plants can be transplanted at a later growth stage into the final container, subjecting the entire combo to short days. As long as the other component plants are day-neutral or have already begun flowering, there should be no issues with less or no flowering. SunPatiens (which are day-neutral), vegetative SuperCal, or Profusion zinnias will have already begun flowering, making them compatible with the short-day regimen.

In warm climates, another option is to utilize the dark red foliage of Dragon’s Breath as the centerpiece of the combination and allow the plants to naturally bloom as the season’s day length gradually shortens. This technique is particularly effective in the southern and western regions of the United States.

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Cultivating Vibrant Colors: Fertilizer Requirements

To maximize the intense deep red color of celosia Dragon’s Breath, several cultural points are highly recommended:

  • Use calcium-nitrate based feeds to promote optimum color development.
  • Avoid excessive ammonium and phosphorous, as they can lead to lush vegetative growth and green foliage.
  • Once plants and roots have established, maintain soil EC levels at 1.0 or less to preserve the deep red foliage.
  • Ensure adequate potassium, magnesium, and boron levels in the feed applications to prevent distortion, misshapen, or discolored foliage.

By adhering to these fertilizer guidelines, a dazzling display of vibrant color can be achieved, captivating the eyes and hearts of all who behold it.

Harnessing the Power of Temperature

The ultimate quality of Dragon’s Breath crops can be elevated with cooler night temperatures. Optimal growth and a deeper red foliage and flowers will result from average daily temperatures of 68 to 70°F. By subjecting the plants to lower night temperatures in the high 50s to low 60s, the overall redness and vigor of the plants will be amplified, creating a truly breathtaking spectacle.

Indeed, the ‘Dragon’s Breath Red’ celosia has emerged as a horticultural triumph, enchanting gardeners and enthusiasts alike with its mesmerizing beauty. By harnessing the secrets of its extended sales potential, combined with the perfect companions and optimal care, growers can unlock a world of endless possibilities and create breathtaking displays that leave a lasting impression.

For more information about the ‘Dragon’s Breath Red’ celosia and other exceptional plants, visit the Ames Farm Center.