444 Forcing Requirements of Seed-propagated Easter Lilies

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  • 1 Dept. of Horticultural Science, University of Minnesota, 1970 Folwell Ave., St. Paul, MN 55108

Seed-propagated lilies have the potential to revolutionize Easter lily production, eliminating clonal disease transmission, costly production and shipping. Five F1 interspecific hybrids, Lilium × formolongo (L. longiflorum × L. formosanum), were evaluated to establish an initial forcing schedule. The hybrids included `Raizan Herald', `Augusta F1', `Raizan No. 1', `Raizan No. 2', and `Raizan No. 3'. Two hundred seeds/hybrid were sown in early July in plug trays. Ten weeks after sowing, seedlings were transplanted into 3-inch pots. At the 20-week stage, the seedlings were repotted into 6-inch standard pots for the final production phase. All hybrids had low germination rates (<20%). Hybrids were grown under two photoperiod treatments (short, long days) at 21 °C with n = 10 reps/hybrid/treatment. Plants were evaluated for no. days to visible bud, leaf unfolding rate, final plant height, leaf number, bud count, flowering dates, and the no. of shoots/bulb. Ten weeks after sowing, hybrids had one to four leaves/plant. At 20 weeks, the leaf number had increased to as many as 40. Despite the lack of a cold treatment, most hybrids initiated flower buds. Visible bud date occurred as early as 20 weeks after sowing. Photoperiod had no effect on leaf number, stem height, and flower bud initiation. Plant height exceeded 15 inches by week 16 in most hybrids, indicating the need for plant growth regulator applications. The next steps in product development for seed-propagated Easter lilies will be outlined.

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