StrepbyStrep: Advice About Disbudding and Showing Streps by Dale Martens

Disbudding Streps is done for a couple of reasons.  Energy to make flowers is tremendous, so disbudding a newly transplanted Strep allows the plant to concentrate on forming new roots and healthy leaves.  So when I transplant, I disbud for three months.  If I had a November 1stshow, on July 1st, I would put a couple of young Streps that were in Solo cups into a 3 or 4 inch pot and keep disbudding until October 1st.

As far as shows are concerned, I begin to disbud about four months prior to the show.  The more leaves are in the pot, the more flower stems the entry will have.  So if there's a November 1st show, I would begin disbudding in July and then allow buds/flowers as ofOctober 1st.  Now this means for a mature plant already in a 4 to 6 inch pot,  that some of the leaves will have had all their flower stems removed by the time the show arrives.  Keep in mind Streps have about 7 to 9 flower stems per leaf.  So when I start disbudding a mature plant, if a leaf has already had 4 to 5 flower stems, that leaf will be disbudded and never again have flowers to contribute to a show.  Therefore, back in July, I would take that mature leaf that had 4 to 5 flower stems and I will cut that leaf back to a 3 inch stub.  For a November 1st show, this means in July I would be cutting back all the mature leaves to 3 inch stubs.  Each of those stubs will produce a plant.   Those newly forming plants at the base of the stubs will each be blooming byNovember 1st.  Of course before the show, remove all those stubs. 

Let's say you didn't give yourself time before a show to do much to an entry.  If the show is at least two months away, just disbud for a month.  None of those flowers blooming up to a month before show will be robust and healthy looking 30 days later.

The attached are photos of Strep 'Fred's Yellow Ice', a new hybrid by Fred Bellairs in Michigan.  I got it in the mail around March 18.  The first photo shows how full of dirt it was from the postal challenges.  Plus there was leaf damage.  I divided the plant and put sections into their own pots.  I had to remove a lot of damaged leaves as can be seen by leaves to the left of the newly potted plants.  I placed each pot into a gallon sized zip lock baggie for about 3 weeks to minimize shock. I disbudded until May 27th for a July 4th convention.  So that's only about 10 weeks, but what a difference it makes in leaf size/production.  The last photo was taken a few minutes ago so the plants have produced lots of flowers in 21 days after the last disbudding.  Now I should say my plant room is warm at this time.  A colder room (below 75 degrees) would take longer.  I've given away one of the pots, so have 2 left as potential show plants.  


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