Growth chambers constructed of photoselective plastic films were used to investigate light quality effects on flowering and stem elongation of six flowering plant species under strongly inductive and weakly inductive photoperiods. Three films were used: a clear control film, a far red (FR) light absorbing (AFR) film and a red (R) light absorbing (AR) film. The AFR and AR films intercepted FR (700 to 800 nm) and R (600 to 700 nm) wavelengths with maximum interception at 730 and 690 nm, respectively. The phytochrome photoequilibrium estimates of transmitted light for the control, AFR, and AR films were 0.71, 0.77, and 0.67. The broad band R:FR ratios were 1.05, 1.51, and 0.77, respectively. The photosynthetic photon flux was adjusted with neutral density filters to provide similar light transmission among chambers. Zinnia elegans Jacq., Dendranthema×grandiflorum Kitam. (chrysanthemum), Cosmos bipinnatus Cav., and Petunia×hybrida Vilm.-Andr. plants grown under the AFR film were shorter than control plants. The AFR film had no effect on height of Antirrhinum majus L. (snapdragon) or Rosa×hybrida (miniature rose). Anthesis of zinnia, chrysanthemum, cosmos (short-day plants), and miniature rose (day-neutral plant) was not influenced by the AFR films. Anthesis of petunia and snapdragon (long-day plants) was delayed up to 13 days by AFR films under weakly inductive photoperiods. In petunia, initiation and development of floral structures were not affected by the AFR films during strongly inductive photoperiods. However, during weakly inductive photoperiods, initiation of the floral primordia was significantly delayed and overall development of the floral meristem was slower than control plants indicating that the AFR films could increase the production time if long-day plants were produced off-season. Daylength extension with electric light sources could overcome this delay in anthesis yet achieve the benefit of AFR films for height reduction without the use of chemical growth regulators.
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