The paclobutrazol liner dip is a plant growth regulator application technique that is becoming widespread in the commercial bedding plant industry. This technique, in which plug trays are dipped in a solution of paclobutrazol before transplant, is an efficient method for applying this growth regulator to a large number of plants. In previous studies, significant variability in size control was documented following liner dip treatments with identical solution concentrations. To elucidate the causes of this variability, three bedding plant species with varying levels of paclobutrazol sensitivity (Petunia ×hybrida, Impatiens wallerana, and Scaevola aemula) were treated with paclobutrazol liner dips under various conditions. Four factors identified in previous studies that may impact the efficacy of paclobutrazol liner dips were evaluated in this study. The age of the cuttings at the time of treatment ranged from 2 to 4 weeks after propagation. The light intensity incident to the plants from 2 h before through 2 h following the time of treatment ranged from about 1000 μmol·m-2·s-1 in a greenhouse to 5 μmol·m-2·s-1 indoors. The relative moisture content of the plug media before the treatment was saturated or at 25%, 50%, or 80% dry down by weight, based on air-dried media. The amount of time the plug media remained in the paclobutrazol solution was 10 s, 30 s, or 2 min. Data were collected on stem elongation 3 weeks after transplanting and again 2 weeks later. The results confirm that all four factors tested interact with the concentration of paclobutrazol in the dip solution to determine the control in stem elongation achieved by the treatment.
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