In previous studies, night-interrupted lighting (NIL) promoted earlier flowering of summer-blooming herbaceous perennials grown under outdoor nursery conditions in the southeastern U.S. However, NIL promoted excessive plant height, thus reducing product quality. Our objective was to control plant height of Coreopsis grandiflora `Early Sunrise' (ES) and Rudbeckia fulgida `Goldsturm' (RG) grown under NIL with plant growth retardants (PGR) without offsetting earlier flowering promoted by NIL. Treatments under NIL were three rates of daminozide, daminozide plus chloromequat, flurprimidol, uniconazole, and NIL and natural controls. Plant height was reduced 3% to 38% in ES and 8% to 31% in RG and time to visible bud was unchanged by all PGR treatments compared to the NIL control. Time to visible bud was unchanged in RG by all PGR treatments and flurprimidol in ES, but the remaining PGR treatments increased time to visible bud compared to the NIL control in ES. Only ES plants treated with daminozide and daminozide plus chloromequat at the two highest rates and all rates of uniconazole were similar in height to the natural control. RG plant heights with the two highest rates of flurprimidol and uniconazole and the highest rate of daminozide plus chloromequat were less than the natural control; heights of plants in the remaining PGR treatments were similar to the natural control. Quality rating was unchanged in RG but was increased in ES by all PGR treatments compared to the NIL control.
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