Effect of Radiant-to-thermal Energy Ratio on Poinsettia Plant Quality

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

Plant growth and development are driven by two forms of energy: radiant and thermal. This study was undertaken to determine the effect of the ratio of radiant energy to thermal energy on plant quality of Euphorbia pulcherrima `Freedom'. Plants were grown under 27 combinations of temperature (thermal energy), light (radiant energy), and spacing, i.e., factorial combinations of three levels of constant temperature (19, 23, or 27°C:), three levels of daily light integral (5, 10, or 20 mol·m–2·d–1), and three levels of plant spacing (15 × 15, 22 × 22, or 30 × 30 cm), from pinch to the onset of short-day flower induction. Plants were treated for 450 degree-days (base temperature = 5°C) in Expt. 1 or 5 weeks in Expt. 2. The results showed that increasing radiant energy or decreasing average daily temperature during accumulation of 450 degree-days increased plant dry weight. When radiant and thermal energy were calculated into the ratio, plant dry weight increased linearly as the ratio increased Plants exposed to low light: levels and high temperatures, i.e., those at a low ratio, developed thin, weak stems. Higher radiant-to-thermal energy ratios produced thicker stems.

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