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The Editor's Tutorial

.Flowering

 The culmination of the growing season, and hopefully, the rewards of five months care and attention. 

   About three weeks after final potting the buds can finally be allowed to develop.  Until this time they have been removed to give the plant  ample time to reach full size without the burden of having to carry flowers.  In this way it should now be possible to produce blooms to their full potential. 
   A well grown plant of good stock is the building block for good blooms.  The results achieved will reflect the way in which the plant has been grown since starting and possibly even the way it was prepared for dormancy last season and stored during the winter months.

Sweet Dreams

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Even the very finest varieties will only produce insignificant blooms if they are allowed to come into flower too early.  As a general rule three weeks after final potting is a good time to let the buds develop, then by the time the first flowers open the pot will be nicely full of roots but not completely pot-bound.  Watering should be increased to keep the compost moist at all times, but not saturated.

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With the buds starting to develop it is time to apply a top dressing,  I use Levington M3 filling the pot right up to the rim.   Upper roots will delve into this giving the developing buds that little bit extra.  Feeding can also now commence, quarter strength at every other watering.  A high potash product such as Chempak No.4 is ideal.  

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As the buds develop a smaller bud can be seen on either side, these are pinched out as early as possible to allow the full resources to be concentrated into the main, central, bud.  It is also beneficial with varieties that have short flower stems to remove any leaves that may obstruct the flowers when they are fully open.

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The length of time that a bloom will remain at it's best is governed by conditions and the weather.  This bloom is "over the top" it is past it's best.  Premature damping can be caused by too much humidity.  Although it is beneficial to damp down the greenhouse floor and staging (on warm mornings) whilst the plant is growing this must stop once the flowers open. 

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CHECK SHADING.
DRIER ATMOSPHERE.
MAXIMUM VENTILATION.

REGULAR WEAK FEED  ( strength).
REMOVE EXCESS LEAVES AROUND BUDS.

TOP DRESS.
MOIST COMPOST.
REMOVE SIDE BUDS.
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The flowering season must not be allowed to continue too long.  As summer draws to a close it is time to prepare the tuber for dormancy, think of it as a battery that needs recharging.

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