Performance of Plug-grown Geranium Seedlings Preconditioned with Nitrogen Fertilizer or Low-temperature Storage

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

Pelargonium×hortorum L.H. Bailey `Scarlet Elite' seedlings were grown in plugs from seed to transplant size. About 14 days before attaining transplant size, seedlings were exposed to various fertility or temperature regimes (preconditioning treatments), then stored for 1 to 3 weeks at 5C. Seedlings receiving 150 mg N/liter before storage flowered sooner and required less crop time (days to flower – days in storage) than those receiving 0, 75, or 300 mg. Temperature preconditioning at 10 or 15C delayed flowering compared to preconditioning at 20C. Final plant height and dry weight were not adversely affected by varying N levels or temperature during preconditioning. Preconditioning seedlings with 300 mg N/liter resulted in seedling mortality rates up to 16% after 7 days' storage. Low temperature or fertility were not effective preconditioning treatments. Best results were attained by preconditioning seedlings with 150 mg N/liter.