Flowering of Cold-treated Field-grown Astilbe

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  • 1 Graduate student, Department of Horticulture, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824.
  • 2 Professor, Department of Horticulture, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824.

In 1996 and 1997, eight cultivars of cold-treated field-grown Astilbe were grown in a 20 °C green-house with short days (SDs = 9-h natural days) or long days (LDs = 9-h natural days with night interruption with incandescent lamps from 2200 to 0200 hr) to determine how photoperiod influences flowering. Cultivars studied were Astilbe × arendsii Arends `Bridal Veil', `Cattleya', `Fanal', and `Spinell'; A. chinensis Franch. `Superba'; A. japonica A. Gray `Deutschland' and `Peach Blossom'; and A. thunbergii Miq. `Ostrich Plume'. Flowering percentage was highest (≥90%) for `Cattleya', `Deutschland', `Fanal', `Ostrich Plume', and `Peach Blossom', regardless of photoperiod. Photoperiod did not affect the time to visible inflorescence or flower number for any cultivar studied. The time from visible inflorescence to first flower took 27 to 36 days, irrespective of photoperiod. Time to flower varied by cultivar; `Deutschland' was the earliest to flower (31 to 41 days) and `Superba' was the last to flower (51 to 70 days). `Fanal' and `Ostrich Plume' flowered slightly but significantly faster (by 1 to 6 days) under LDs than SDs. For five cultivars, the inflorescence was taller under LDs than SDs. All cultivars reached visible inflorescence and flower significantly faster (by 1 to 15 days) in 1997 than in 1996.

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