Effects of Cold and Photoperiod on Flowering of Several Herbaceous Perennial Species

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

Thirty herbaceous perennial species were treated at 5°C for 0 or 15 weeks. Critical photoperiods for flower initiation and development with and without a cold treatment were determined. Photoperiods were 10, 12, 13, 14, 16, or 24 hours of continuous light or 9 hours plus a 4-hour night interruption. Continuous photo-periodic treatments consisted of 9-hour natural days extended with light from incandescent lamps. Species were categorized into nine response types based on the effects of cold and photoperiod on flowering. Plants had three flowering responses to cold treatment: obligate, facultative, or none. The perennials were obligate long-day, facultative long-day, or day-neutral plants. For example, Campanula carpatica `Blue Clips' had no response to cold and was an obligate long-day plant requiring photoperiods of 16 hours or longer or night interruption for flowering. Rudbeckia fulgida `Goldsturm' had a facultative response to cold and required photoperiods of 14 hours or longer or night interruption for flowering. Veronica longifolia `Sunny Border Blue' had an obligate cold requirement and was day-neutral. Some species responded differently to photoperiod before and after cold. Leucanthemum ×superbum `Snow Cap' flowered as an obligate long-day plant without cold and as a facultative long-day plant after cold. Response categories are discussed.

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