There is much discussion about today’s winter solstice.
Everyone is hugely excited that today is the shortest day of the year and more importantly, that last night was the longest night. We are officially past the mid-point and on our way to warmer weather, longer days and much needed summer and holidays…!!
Horticulturally, the winter solstice is of great significance to plant growers and here’s why…
Day length & temperature are the two primary environmental factors affecting plant growth.
Most of us are familiar with temperature and the importance it has on plant growth; seeds germinate at different temperatures and flowering is often triggered by temperatures.
‘Day length’ is a little more complicated…
Day length refers to the amount of light plants are exposed to (although research has confirmed it’s actually the period of darkness that impacts plant growth). Either way – plants are commonly classified as short day or long day plants.
In simple lay-man terms, Short day plants need long periods of darkness to flower; most winter favourites fall into this category. Long day plants need the opposite and Day neutral plants flower regardless of the length of day (or night!).
Everyone (well almost!) can grow plants… however, in order to be a successful grower FLOWERS are the key. Garden centres, house-wives and consumers in general prefer to purchase plants in flower.
As such, good growers need to understand and know how to best manage (& manipulate) the ‘day length’ of each particular variety, in order to get the best results and blooming happy customers.
HOWEVER, the fact remains that growers and consumers alike should be particularly HAPPY today – simply because SPRING is on it’s way!!