Transit Duration × Temperature and Fertilization of Prefinished Caladiums Affect Subsequent Growth

in HortScience
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  • 1 Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, University of Florida, 5007 60th St. E., Bradenton, FL 34203

Caladium × hortulanum Birdsey `Candidum' tubers were forced in pots until at least one-half the visible sprouts were 2 cm above the soil surface. These prefinished plants were subjected to simulated transit durations of 2, 4, or 6 days in the dark at 12.5, 15.5, 18.5, 21.0 or 24C. Plants were then grown for 4 weeks in a greenhouse and were either fertilized weekly with 100 ml of a solution containing 500 N-218P-415K (mg·liter-1) or were not fertilized. Interactive effects between transit duration and temperature were significant for all measured growth responses. Transit temperature maintained for 2 days had little effect on subsequent growth and only moderate effects after 4 days. With transit duration of 6 days, an increase in temperature resulted in increased plant height, fresh weight, number of leaves, white coloration of leaves, and percent of plants judged marketable (finished) in 4 weeks. Holding at ≈ 18.5C was most favorable for transit durations of 4 or 6 days. Use of fertilizer during finishing improved plant growth regardless of transit conditions, but did not totally negate deleterious effects from transit conditions.

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