Calocephalus brownii Bed Head
Photo courtesy of Benary
Your customers want something new. You need something versatile enough for multiple programs that’s a proven performer with great sell-through. Benary’s new Calocephalus Bed Head is the best of both worlds. Pronounced kal-o-sef-a-lus, this Australian native is relatively unknown in the U.S. It’s a favorite at the Aalsmeer flower auction because it is so attractive and versatile. The foliage looks a bit like barbed-wire, but is soft and flexible. Its silvery foliage makes eye-catching mixed containers, mono-culture pots or topiaries. It can even be dyed and used in wreaths or crafts. It’s also the first calocephalus grown from seed.
Production Plug: Crop time is 6-7 weeks to a 288 tray and 10-11 weeks from a 288 to a 4” pot. Plants can be produced at lower temperatures along with pansy and violas but this adds crop time. Sow 4-6 seeds per cell and cover seeds very lightly with vermiculite. Media should have a pH 5.5-6.2. Germination occurs in 14-21 days. The ideal temperature for germination is 70 °F (21°C) but can be reduced to 60-64 °F (16-18°C) after 10 days. Initially water until saturated then dry back slightly until germination is complete. In the plug stage, humidity should be kept at 95-100% until day 20; then reduce to 40-60%. Provide proper ventilation and horizontal airflow. Avoid direct sunlight after sowing, increase light levels on day 21, but continue shade under high light and high temperature. Begin low rates of fertilization on day 14. Supplemental iron applications are beneficial. During plug bulking light levels can be increased to 8-10 mols, 2,500-3,000 ft. candles (25,000-30,000 lux). Plants prefer to be cultivated on the dry side. Establish a good wet-dry cycle and be sure to provide proper ventilation and horizontal airflow. Apply 1-2 applications of B-Nine (daminozide) sprays in the plug stage or shear the young plants at 6 weeks. Growing On: To avoid additional diseases, do not transplant plugs too deep. Maintain a pH of 5.5-6.2 with an EC 1.5-1.75 Provide light levels of 12-16 mols, 3,500-4,500 ft. candles (35,000-45,000 lux). This is a full sun plant that can be produced outdoors, especially in summer and fall. Maintain 60-64 °F (16-18°C) temps for the first two weeks then lower to 50-56 °F (10-13°C). Alternate between moisture levels wet (4) and medium (2). Make sure that plants can dry back between watering. Calocephalus prefer drier cultivation with good ventilation and horizontal airflow. Humidity of 40-60% is ideal. Use a moderate feed program using a well-balanced calcium-based fertilizer. Additional potassium and iron are beneficial during the finishing stages. Sprays of B-Nine (daminozide) or pinching/shearing, 2-3 times will result in fuller plants. Apply fungicides during long periods of low light and high humidity. Fertilize with potassium nitrate at 100 ppm 1-2 weeks prior to shipping.