Flowering, Stem Extension Growth, and Cutting Yield of Foliage Annuals in Response to Photoperiod

in HortScience

Foliage annuals are primarily grown for the aesthetic appeal of their brightly colored, variegated, or patterned leaves rather than for their flowers. Once foliage annuals become reproductive, vegetative growth of many species diminishes or completely ceases and plants can become unappealing. Therefore, the objectives of this study were to quantify how growth and development during production and stock plant cutting yield of bloodleaf (Iresine herbstii), Joseph’s coat (Alternanthera sp.) ‘Brazilian Red Hots’ and ‘Red Threads’, Persian shield (Strobilanthes dyerianus), and variegated potato vine (Solanum jasminoides) are influenced by photoperiod and night interruption (NI) lighting with or without far-red (FR) radiation. Photoperiods consisted of a 9-hour short day (SD) or a 9-hour SD extended to 10, 12, 13, 14, or 16 hours with red (R):white (W):FR light-emitting diode (LED) lamps (R:FR = 0.8) providing a total photon flux density (TPFD) of ≈2 µmol·m−2·s–1 of radiation. In addition, two treatments consisted of a 9-hour SD with a 4-hour NI from lamps containing the same R:W:FR or R:W LEDs (R:FR = 37.4). Bloodleaf plant and Joseph’s coat ‘Brazilian Red Hots’ and ‘Red Threads’ developed inflorescences or flowers under photoperiods ≤12 to 13 hours and were classified as obligate SD plants. Under LEDs providing R:W:FR radiation, stem elongation of reproductive bloodleaf and Joseph’s coat ‘Brazilian Red Hots’ and ‘Red Threads’ increased as photoperiod increased from 9 to 12 hours. In addition, stem elongation of bloodleaf, Joseph’s coat ‘Brazilian Red Hots’ and ‘Red Threads’, and Persian shield and growth index (GI = {plant height + [(diameter 1 + diameter 2)/2]}/2) of bloodleaf and Persian shield was significantly greater under NI with FR radiation than without FR radiation. Fewer or no cuttings were harvested from Joseph’s coat ‘Brazilian Red Hots’ and ‘Red Threads’ under photoperiods ≤12 or ≤13 hours, respectively. To prevent unwanted flowering of bloodleaf plant and Joseph’s coat, a photoperiod ≥14 hours or 4-hour NI must be maintained with LEDs providing either R:W or R:W:FR radiation, however; stem elongation is significantly reduced under R:W LEDs.

Contributor Notes

This work was supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Hatch project MICL02472.

We gratefully acknowledge Kalamazoo Specialty Plants for plant material and funding; Philips Lighting for LED flowering lamps; GreenCare Fertilizer for fertilizer; and Nathan DuRussel for technical assistance. The use of trade names in this publication does not imply endorsement by Michigan State University of products named nor criticism of similar ones not mentioned.

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

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Article Figures

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    Spectral distribution, intensity of blue [B (400–500 nm)], green [G (500–600 nm)], red [R (600–700 nm)], and far-red [FR (700–800 nm)] radiation, total photon flux density (TPFD), light ratio, and estimated phytochrome photoequilibria [PFR/PR+FR (the proportion of FR-absorbing phytochromes in the pool of R- and FR-absorbing phytochromes; Sager et al., 1988)] of R + white (W) [R+W (solid line)] and R+W+FR light-emitting diode (dashed line) lamps covered with wire mesh. R:FRwide was calculated as 600 to 700 nm:700 to 800 nm; R:FRnarrow was calculated as 655 to 665 nm:725 to 735 nm.

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    Growth and development of bloodleaf and Joseph’s coat ‘Brazilian Red Hots’ and ‘Red Threads’ grown under 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 16 h, and 9 h + 4-h night interruption (NI) + far-red (FR) and −FR photoperiods 10 weeks after transplant. R = red; W = white.

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    Height of bloodleaf, Joseph’s coat ‘Brazilian Red Hots’ and ‘Red Threads’, Persian shield, and variegated potato vine at flowering or 10 weeks after transplant for plants that did not flower when grown under 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 16 h, and 9 h + 4-h night interruption (NI) + far-red (FR) and −FR photoperiods. Letters indicate mean separation across photoperiods using Tukey’s honestly significant difference test at P ≤ 0.05. Error bars represent ses of the mean.

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    The growth index (GI = {plant height + [(diameter 1 + diameter 2)/2]}/2) of bloodleaf, Joseph’s coat ‘Brazilian Red Hots’ and ‘Red Threads’, Persian shield, and variegated potato vine at flowering or 10 weeks after transplant for plants that did not flower when grown under 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 16 h, and 9 h + 4-h night interruption (NI) + far-red (FR) and −FR photoperiods. Letters indicate mean separation across photoperiods using Tukey’s honestly significant difference test at P ≤ 0.05. Error bars represent ses of the mean.

  • View in gallery

    The cutting yield of bloodleaf, Joseph’s coat ‘Brazilian Red Hots’ and ‘Red Threads’, Persian shield, and variegated potato vine at flowering or 10 weeks after transplant for plants that did not flower when grown under 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 16 h, and 9 h + 4-h night interruption (NI) + far-red (FR) and −FR photoperiods. Letters indicate mean separation across photoperiods using Tukey’s honestly significant difference test at P ≤ 0.05. Error bars represent ses of the mean.

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