High Temperatures Reduce Postharvest Flowering of Specialty Floral Crop Species

in HortTechnology
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  • 1 Dept. of Ornamental Horticulture and Landscape Design, Institute of Agriculture, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37901-1071.

The effect of increasing temperatures on the duration of postharvest flower development was determined for three specialty crop species: marguerite (Argyranthemum frutescens Webb ex Schultz-Bip.) `Butterfly' and `Sugar Baby'; swan river daisy (Brachycome hybrid Cass.) `Ultra'; and bacopa (Sutera cordata Roth.) `Snowflake'. Plants were grown in a greenhouse at 18 °C (65 °F) until flowering, and then transferred into a phytotron to determine heat tolerance. Plants were stored for 8 weeks at constant temperatures of 18, 23, 28, and 33 °C (65, 73, 82, and 91 °F) for 2-week intervals. Flower bud and flower number were recorded weekly. Sutera cordata `Snowflake' and B. hybrid `Ultra' had the greatest flower number at the 23 °C temperature, decreasing in the 28 °C environment. Argyranthemum frutescens `Butterfly' and `Sugar Baby' had greatest flower number at 28 °C, but flowers were of lower quality thanat 23 °C. Flower development of all cultivars ceased at 33 °C, at the end of 8 weeks at increasing temperatures, but when plants were returned to the 18 °C production greenhouse, flower development resumed. High temperatures (28 °C) reduce the postharvest performance of S. cordata, B. hybrid, and A. frutescens plants grown in hanging baskets; therefore, these species should be marketed as spring-flowering products since summer performance may be unsatisfactory in warm climates.

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