Priming Leek Seed for Improved Germination and Emergence at High Temperature

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  • 1 Vegetable Crops Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611

`Verina' leek (AIlium porrum L.) seed germination is normally reduced at temperatures > 25C. Leek seeds were primed in aerated solutions (1.5 MPa, 10 days at 15C) of d-mannitol (mannitol), polyethylene glycol-8000 (PEG), KNO, and a nonaerated solution of PEG-8000 (PEG). At high temperatures mannitol, PEG, and PEG significantly enhanced germination percentage relative to KNO, or the control. At constant 30C, the mannitol, PEG, and PEG treatments increased final germination almost 10 times and the coefficient of velocity (COV) was improved compared to KNO, and the control. 10 growth chambers with alternating day/night temperatures (38 to 28C or 32 to 22C, 10 to 14 hours, respectively), primed seeds had significantly higher emergence and a larger COV than the control. In a greenhouse study under good conditions for germination, total emergence of primed and nonprimed seeds was similar; however, mannitol, PEG, and PEG led to a significantly higher COV than the control or KNO, treatments. These controlled-environment results demonstrate that priming leek seeds via mannitol, PEG, and PEG may promote early emergence at high temperature and improve stand uniformity for container transplant production.

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