Evaluation of Four Herbaceous Perennials under Increasing Levels of Drought Stress

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  • 1 Dept. of Horticulture, Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, CO 80523.

Four herbaceous perennials Aquilegia caerulea `McKana's Giant', Gaillardia aristata, Gypsophila paniculata `Fairy's Pink', and Callirhoe involucrata were subjected to increasing levels of drought stress and evaluated for ornamental quality and performance in the landscape. Drought stress was imposed by irrigation treatments of 100%, 75%, 50%, 25%, and 0% of reference evapotranspiration (ET0) in 1994. Irrigation treatments resulted in Aquilegia exhibiting a decline in plant growth and appearance below the 50% ET0 treatment. Callirhoe grown at the 100% ET0 irrigation treatment were larger than the plants in any other treatment. Gaillardia receiving some irrigation (25% to 100% ET0) were generally larger than those that received no supplemental irrigation (0% ET0). A decline in plant appearance and growth was observed with Gypsophila with lowering irrigation treatments.

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