An energy-balance model is described that predicts vinca (Catharanthus roseus L.) shoot-tip temperature using four environmental measurements: solar radiation and dry bulb, wet bulb, and glazing material temperature. The time and magnitude of the differences between shoot-tip and air temperature were determined in greenhouses maintained at air temperatures of 15, 20, 25, 30, or 35 °C. At night, shoot-tip temperature was always below air temperature. Shoot-tip temperature decreased from 0.5 to 5 °C below air temperature as greenhouse glass temperature decreased from 2 to 15 °C below air temperature. During the photoperiod under low vapor-pressure deficit (VPD) and low air temperature, shoot-tip temperature increased ≈4 °C as solar radiation increased from 0 to 600 W·m-2. Under high VPD and high air temperature, shoot-tip temperature initially decreased 1 to 2 °C at sunrise, then increased later in the morning as solar radiation increased. The model predicted shoot-tip temperatures within ±1 °C of 81% of the observed 1-hour average shoot-tip temperatures. The model was used to simulate shoot-tip temperatures under different VPD, solar radiation, and air temperatures. Since the rate of leaf and flower development are influenced by the temperature of the meristematic tissues, a model of shoot-tip temperature will be a valuable tool to predict plant development in greenhouses and to control the greenhouse environment based on a plant temperature setpoint.
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