Flowering of Leucanthemum ×superbum `Snowcap' in Response to Photoperiod and Cold Treatment

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  • 1 Department of Horticulture, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1325

`Snowcap' Shasta daisy [Leucanthemum ×superbum Bergmans ex. J. Ingram (syn: Chrysanthemum ×superbum, C. maximum)] was grown under various photoperiods and temperatures to determine their effects on flowering. In the first experiment, plants were held for 0 or 15 weeks at 5 °C and then were grown at 20 °C under the following photoperiods: 10, 12, 13, 14, 16, or 24 hours of continuous light or 9 hours with a 4-hour night interruption (NI) in the middle of the dark period. Without cold treatment, no plants flowered under photoperiods ≤14 hours and 65% to 95% flowered under longer photoperiods or NI. After 15 weeks at 5 °C, all plants flowered under all photoperiods and developed three to four or 10 to 11 inflorescences under photoperiods ≤14 or ≥16 hours, respectively. To determine the duration of cold treatment required for flowering under short photoperiods, a second experiment was conducted in which plants were treated for 0, 3, 6, 9, 12, or 15 weeks at 5 °C, and then grown at 20 °C under 9-hour days without or with a 4-hour NI. Under 9-hour photoperiods, 0%, 80%, or 100% of plants flowered after 0, 3, or ≥6 weeks at 5 °C, and time to flower decreased from 103 to 57 days as the time at 5 °C increased from 3 to 12 weeks. Plants that were under NI and received ≥3 weeks of cold flowered in 45 to 55 days. For complete and rapid flowering with a high flower count, we recommend cold-treating `Snowcap' for at least 6 weeks, then providing photoperiods ≥16 hours or a 4-hour NI during forcing.

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