Regulating Flowering and Extension Growth of Poinsettia Using Red and Far-red Light-emitting Diodes for End-of-day Lighting

in HortScience

Manipulating light quality is a potential alternative method of regulating plant height in the commercial production of ornamental crops. In particular, end-of-day (EOD) lighting with a high red (R; 600–700 nm) to far-red (FR; 700–800 nm) ratio (R:FR) can suppress extension growth, whereas a low R:FR can promote it. We investigated the effects of the R:FR and duration of EOD lighting in regulating extension growth and flowering of two poinsettia cultivars, White Glitter and Marble Star. Plants were grown at 20 °C under 9-hour days with or without EOD lighting provided by two types of light-emitting diode bulbs: R+white+FR (subsequently referred to as R+FR) and FR only. The R:FR ratios were 0.73 and 0.04, respectively, and the photon flux density between 400 and 800 nm was adjusted to 2 to 3 μmol·m−2·s–1 at plant canopy. The six EOD lighting treatments were R+FR or FR for 2 or 4 hours, 2 hours of R+FR followed by 2 hours of FR, and 4 hours of R+FR followed by 2 hours of FR. We also investigated the impact of a 4-hour moderate-intensity (13 μmol·m−2·s–1) EOD FR treatment in the second replication. EOD lighting generally increased poinsettia extension growth, with the greatest promotion under the longest lighting periods. There were no differences in days to first bract color and days to anthesis when the 9-hour day was extended by 2 hours, but flowering was delayed under 4- or 6-hour EOD treatments, except for the 2-hour R+FR + 2-hour FR and 4-hour FR treatments. Four hours of moderate-intensity EOD FR greatly promoted extension growth and delayed or prevented bract coloration in both cultivars. We conclude that EOD lighting promotes extension growth of poinsettia, and specifically, EOD FR at a low intensity (2–3 μmol·m−2·s–1) is not perceived as long-day signal, whereas a higher intensity (13 μmol·m−2·s–1) of FR delays flowering.

Contributor Notes

We gratefully acknowledge the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)–Agricultural Research Service Floriculture and Nursery Research Initiative and Philips Lighting for supporting this project, C. Raker & Sons and Syngenta Flowers for the donation of plant material, and Nate DuRussel for technical assistance. This work was supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Hatch project 192266.

Former graduate research assistant.

Corresponding author. E-mail: runkleer@msu.edu

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    Spectral distribution of two types of end-of-day (EOD) lighting treatments delivering red (R; 600 to 700 nm) and/or far-red (FR; 700 to 800 nm) radiation. The photon flux density of the two EOD lighting treatments was 2 to 3 µmol·m−2·s–1.

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    Days to first bract color (gray bar) and anthesis (white bar) of two cultivars of poinsettia grown under a 9-h short-day (control) and seven red (R) and/or far-red (FR) end-of-day lighting treatments (see Table 1 for treatment descriptions). All data were pooled from two replications, except 4-h of moderate-intensity FR (H-FR), which was conducted only in the second replication. Pairwise comparison was made within each cultivar. Means sharing a letter are not statistically different by Tukey’s honestly significant difference test at P ≤ 0.05. Error bars indicate standard error.

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    Increase in plant height, node number, and average internode length of two cultivars of poinsettia grown under a 9-h short day (control) and seven end-of-day red (R) and/or far-red (FR) lighting treatments (see Table 1 for treatment descriptions). Pairwise comparisons were made within each cultivar. Means sharing a letter are not statistically different by Tukey’s honestly significant difference test at P ≤ 0.05. Error bars indicate standard error.

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