Experiments were conducted to evaluate the effects of paclobutrazol drenches on poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) `Freedom Red' height and flowering. In 1997 and 1998, paclobutrazol drenches [(a.i.) 0.118 mg/container; (28,350 mg = 1.0 oz)] were applied to poinsettias grown under natural photoperiods on four dates from 1 Oct. to 2 Nov. On plants receiving the paclobutrazol drench application during the second week in October, bract area was reduced by 15% and 12% compared with that of the control in 1997 and 1998, respectively; however, the bract area reduction was commercially acceptable. Anthesis date was not significantly affected during either year. Plant height and internode length measurements indicate that paclobutrazol drench applications had both a rapid and a long-term impact on poinsettia stem elongation. Paclobutrazol drenches applied in late October or early November are an effective tool for controlling late-season stem elongation of `Freedom Red' poinsettias grown under natural photoperiods. These late-season applications have the least risk for negatively affecting bract size while still reducing stem elongation in the last few weeks of the crop. Chemical names used: (±)-(R*,R*)-b-[(chlorophenyl)methyl]-a-(1,1-dimethyl)-1H-1,2,4-triazole-1-ethanol (paclobutrazol).
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