The effects of differing storage conditions prior to transplanting were examined for Salvia splendens `Red Hot Sally', Impatiens wallerana `Super Elfin White', Viola × wittrockiana `Universal Beaconsfield' and Petunia × hybrida `Supercascade Lilac'. Plug-grown seedlings were stored for 0, 1, 2 or 3 weeks at 5C or 10C and irradiance levels from incandescent bulbs at 0, 2 or 12 μmol s-1 m-2. A second group of plants were stored at 18C and irradiance from fluorescent bulbs at 105 μmol s-1 m-2 for the same time period. Temperature was more important than irradiance in maintaining plant quality over the storage period. Impatiens and salvia could be stored successfully for a minimum of 2 weeks at 5 or 10C with no appreciable loss of quality, petunia and pansy up to 3 weeks. Seedlings of all species showed diminished quality when stored longer than 1 week at 18C. After storage, petunias stored at 18C flowered sooner than those stored at 5 or 10C. However, these plants were single stemmed, with long internodes and few flowers while those plants stored at 5 or 10C developed multiple branching and a short, compact growth habit at flowering.