391 THE INFLUENCE OF COLD DURING SEEDLING STAGE AND PHOTOPERIOD ON FORCING PERENNIALS FOR POT PLANTS

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  • 1 Department of Horticulture, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602

The influence of cooling, photoperiod and chemical branching on early spring flowering of perennial species was studied. Cooling was provided while plants were in plugs (128 plugs per tray) and dikegulac-sodium, a compound found to induce breaks in other species, was applied prior to, during and after cooling. Plants were cooled in insulated lighted coolers for 4, 8 or 12 weeks at 4C, and brought to a greenhouse with night temperatures between 8-12C. Long and short days were provided in the greenhouse after plants came out of the coolers. Little response to dikegulac occurred, however, Campanula, Sedum, Leontopodium, Catananche, Aubrietia, Arabis, Gypsophila, Anchusa and Aquilegia responded to cooling and photoperiodic treatment. Flowering and vegetative characteristics such as internode elongation and plant height responded to photoperiod and cooling but not all genera responded similarly. Anchusa, Campanula, Aquilegia and Gypsophila flowered significantly earlier under LD compared to SD. Twelve weeks of cooling resulted in flowering of all genera, however, some genera were equally responsive to shorter cooling times.

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