The Effect of Timing and Duration of Supplemental Irradiance on Flower Initiation of Plug-grown Geraniums

in HortScience
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  • 1 Dept. of Horticulture, Michigan State Univ., East Lansing, MI 48824.

Plug-grown Pelargonium × hortorum `Pinto Red' seedlings were grown under natural daylight (average of 4.7 mol/day) or with supplemental irradiance from high-pressure sodium lamps. Seedlings were grown under 8-, 16-, or 24-h photoperiods with supplemental irradiances of 2.5, 3.75, or 5.0 mol/day at each photoperiod. Supplemental irradiance was provided for 7, 14, 21, and 28 days beginning 7, 14, 21, 28, and 35 days after sowing. Seedlings were transplanted 63 days after sowing to 8-cm containers (121 plants/m2) and grown to flower. Leaf number at time of transplant was not affected by photoperiod, but increased as daily irradiance and weeks of supplemental irradiance increased. Seedlings were more responsive to supplemental irradiance applications beginning 28 and 35 days than at 7 to 21 days after sowing. Ninety-two percent of seedlings receiving 28 days of 5.0 mol/day supplemental irradiance under a 24-h photoperiod starting 35 days after sowing had initiated flower buds at time of transplant; 75% of those receiving 3.75 mol/day were initiated. Plants receiving less than 3 weeks of supplemental irradiance or with an irradiance period beginning less than 28 days after sowing had not initiated flowers at transplant.