Quantifying the Effects of Temperature and Plantlet Size on the Reproductivity and Vegetative Axillary Development of the African Violet (Saintpaulia ionantha Wendl.)

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  • 1 Dept. of Horticulture, Michigan State Univ., East Lansing, MI 48824-1325

Axillary buds of African violet develop vegetative shoots or reproductive inflorescences. Vegetative axillary development results in a multiple-shoot plant and reduces plant quality. We determined the effect of temperature and plantlet size on axillary bud development. Plantlets were removed from leaf cuttings, graded according to stem diameter, directly stuck into pots 10 cm in diameter, and placed in greenhouses at 18, 22, or 26C. Vegetative development was related to temperature, plantlet size, and nodal position. The number of vegetative axillary shoots per plant decreased from 3.7 to 1.3; that of leaves per vegetative axillary shoot decreased from 10.3 to 4.8 as temperature increased from 18 to 26C. The eight to 10 basipetal nodes developed vegetative shoots or were devoid of axillary development. The percentage of leaf axils in which inflorescences developed increased from 14 on node eight to 100 on nodes 12 and higher. The larger plantlets at the time of transplant had 20% fewer vegetative axillary shoots, whereas reproductive inflorescence development was not affected by plantlet size.

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