Root-zone Alcohol Is an Effective Growth Retardant for Paperwhite Narcissus

in HortTechnology
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  • 1 Department of Horticulture, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.

Ethanol was demonstrated to reduce unwanted floral scape and leaf elongation of `Ziva' paperwhite narcissus (Narcissus tazetta) when plants were grown with traditional pebble culture. Root-zone ethanol concentrations of 1% to 5% (v/v) were effective in reducing height without visible phytotoxicity to the roots. Various ethanol sources, including gin, vodka, whiskey, schnapps, rum, and tequila, were equally effective in reducing growth when supplied at 4%; peppermint schnapps caused somewhat more growth inhibition, providing a safe, effective, and organic method for amateurs to control height of this popular flowering bulb. Beer and wine (white or red) were unsuitable for this use at 4% alcohol concentration.

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