Evaluation of a Growing Medium Cooling System and Its Effects on the Flowering of Altroemeria

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  • 1 Department of Plant Science, U-67, 1376 Storrs Road, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269

Red- and pink-flowering cultivars of Alstroemeria were grown with and without cooling tubes placed in the growing medium. Cooling tubes were placed immediately below, 5 cm below, and 10 cm below the surface of the medium. Cooling was obtained by circulating well water (10 to 15C) through polyethylene tubing. Air and media temperatures were recorded every 3 to 10 days in the morning and in the late afternoon to determine if positioning of the cooling tubes had an effect on the medium temperature. The air temperature was warmer than the noncooled medium, which, in turn, was significantly warmer than the cooled medium. There were no significant differences in media temperatures among the three cooling treatments. Flowering of cooled Alstroemeria cultivars continued for 2 months longer at the end of the summer and reinitiated 1 month earlier than the noncooled control. Both cultivars produced significantly more total flowers when grown in cooled medium. Flower production was greatest in the summer for plants with tubes 10 cm below the surface and least for plants in noncooled medium. This trend continued when flowering was reinitiated; however, by April of the following year, all treatments were equal in flower production.

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