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Alicain S. Carlson and John M. Dole

Pineapple lily (Eucomis hybrids) has long, striking inflorescences that work well as a cut flower, but information is needed on proper production methods and postharvest handling protocols. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of bulb storage temperature and duration, production environment, planting density, and forcing temperatures on cut flower production of ‘Coral’, ‘Cream’, ‘Lavender’, and ‘Sparkling Burgundy’ pineapple lily. Stem length was greater in the greenhouse than the field and at the low planting density. Plants in the field at the low planting density had the shortest stem length for ‘Coral’ and ‘Cream’, but still produced marketable lengths of at least 30 cm. Planting density did not affect ‘Lavender’ and ‘Sparkling Burgundy’ stem length or number of marketable stems. The productivity (number of marketable stems per bulb) was affected only by planting density for ‘Coral’ and planting environment for ‘Cream’. Differences in stem quality and productivity differed for each cultivar and planting density over the next two seasons. The productivity of ‘Coral’ increased significantly from year to year, while the productivity of ‘Cream’ only significantly increased between the first and second years. The low planting density resulted in slightly more stems per bulb for ‘Coral’ over the next two seasons. Emergence after bulb storage treatments was highest in treatments where the bulbs were not lifted from the substrate and were subsequently grown at 18 °C. Bulbs grown in the warmest (18 °C) production temperature flowered soonest and had shorter stem lengths. For earliest flowering, bulbs should be stored in substrate in cool temperatures of at least 13 °C and forced at warm temperatures of at least 18 °C.

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John M. Dole, Janet C. Cole, and Randall M. Smith

Poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima 'Gutbier V-14 Glory'), chrysanthemums (Dendranthema grandiflora 'Tara') and geraniums (Pelargonium xhortorum 'Orbit') were grown using various ratios of controlled release:constant liquid fertilization as a percentage of recommended rates (%CRF:%CLF). While plants grown under the 100:0 CRF:CLF regime produced significantly less nitrates, phosphates and total soluble salts in the leachate than 0:100 or 50:50 CRF:CLF, quality rating, plant diameter, and leaf, bract and flower dry weight of poinsettias and chrysanthemums were reduced. Geraniums grown under 100:0, 50:50 or 0:100 CRF:CLF regimes were similar in quality rating, height, diameter, dry weights and days to anthesis. Poinsettias and chrysanthemums grown under 50:50 CRF:CLF were similar in height, days to anthesis, plant diameter, flower and stem dry weights and quality rating but produced less nitrates, phosphates and total soluble salts in the leachate than plants grown under 0:100 CRF:CLF. However, chrysanthemums grown under 50:50 CRF:CLF had lower leaf and root dry weights and poinsettias had lower leaf and bract dry weights than under 0:100 CRF:CLF regime.

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Alicain S. Carlson, John M. Dole, and Brian E. Whipker

Plant growth regulators (PGRs) are used to control excessive plant growth in potted crops to improve quality and compactness for shipping and display. Pineapple lily (Eucomis sp.), a recent introduction to the potted crop market, can have excessive foliage growth and inflorescence height making the use of PGRs desirable. Bulbs of ‘Leia’ pineapple lily were forced in the greenhouse and drenched at leaf whorl emergence with three PGRs at five different concentrations: 1) flurprimidol (0.25, 0.5, 1.0, 2.0, and 4.0 mg per 6.5-inch pot), 2) uniconazole (0.25, 0.5, 1.0, 2.0, and 4.0 mg/pot), or 3) paclobutrazol (0.5, 1.0, 2.0, 4.0 and 8.0 mg/pot) and an untreated control. As concentration increased, days to anthesis increased and foliage height decreased for each PGR. Paclobutrazol (4.0 and 8.0 mg/pot), uniconazole (4.0 mg/pot), and flurprimidol (2.0 and 4.0 mg/pot) treatments resulted in excessive stunting with none of the plants being marketable. Flurprimidol had the greatest influence on plant growth among all the PGRs. Acceptable concentrations for each PGR are paclobutrazol at 0.5 to 2.0 mg/pot, uniconazole at 0.25 to 2.0 mg/pot, and flurprimidol at 0.5 to 1.0 mg/pot based on percentage of marketable plants and foliage and inflorescence height suppression without excessively increasing the number of days to anthesis.

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Ben A. Bergmann, John M. Dole, and Ingram McCall

Responses of 14 to 20 poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) cultivars were assessed following exposure to environmental stressors common in the crop’s postproduction supply chain and consumer environment: low light levels, low temperatures, and low substrate moisture. As indicated by number of days to unacceptable appearance, 14 cultivars tolerated three low light levels (10, 20, and 40 µmol·m–2·s–1) well, with all individuals of six of the cultivars exhibiting an acceptable appearance at 7 weeks when the experiment ended. An experiment with 20 cultivars showed them to be surprisingly tolerant of low temperatures for a short duration, with no differences found when averaging across cultivars among plants exposed to 2, 5, or 20 °C for 2 days. However, all cultivars exposed to 5 °C for 10 days performed poorly. Cultivars differed markedly in response to low substrate moisture, with frequency of unacceptable plants before 4 weeks across all treatments ranging from 0% to 87% among the 14 cultivars tested. Across 17 cultivars, acceptable plant appearance was extended from 23 days for plants that were never irrigated after 10 d in sleeves to 32 days for plants that received a single irrigation at unsleeving and not thereafter. The low temperatures and low substrate moisture experiments were conducted in 2 years, and years differed significantly for nearly all dependent variables assessed. The significant interaction between year and cultivar for all observed variables in those two experiments indicates the importance of conducting experiments such as these over 2 years or more. Potted plants of many of the poinsettia cultivars tested proved to be highly tolerant in terms of low light levels, low temperatures, and low substrate moisture. Three cultivars appeared to be most tolerant in two of the three experiments: Prestige Red (low light levels and low temperatures), Titan Red (low temperatures and low substrate moisture), and Whitestar (low light levels and low substrate moisture). Three cultivars were most tolerant to all three sources of postproduction plant stress: Christmas Day Red, Early Mars Red, and Titan White.

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Laurence C. Pallez, John M. Dole, and Brian E. Whipker

Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) has potential as a potted flowering plant due to short crop time, ease of propagation, and attractive flowers but postharvest life is short and plants can grow too tall. Days from sowing to anthesis differed significantly among six sunflower cultivars and ranged from 52 days for `Big Smile' to 86 days for `Elf' and `Pacino.' Height ranged from 6.0 inches (15.2 cm) for `Big Smile' to 14.9 inches (37.8 cm) for `Pacino', postproduction life ranged from 10 days for `Elf' and `Pacino' to 15 days for `Big Smile', and postproduction chlorosis ratings (1 to 5, with 5 the least) ranged from 5.0 for `Teddy Bear' to 4.4 for `Big Smile' after 5 days and 4.2 for `Teddy Bear' to 3.1 for `Sunspot' after 10 days. Promalin (a gibberellin and benzyladenine mixture) applied at 62.5 to 500 ppm (mg·L-1) was not commercially useful in extending postproduction life. Increasing pot size from 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) in diameter decreased postproduction life and plants in 5-inch-diameter (13 cm) pots were tallest. Pots with three plants flowered more quickly than those with one or five plants and pots with five plants had 1 day shorter postharvest life than those with one or three pots. All cultivars were facultative short-day plants, except for `Sundance Kid', which was day neutral. Storing potted sunflowers at 41 °F (5 °C) for 1 week did not reduce postproduction life, which was 11 to 12 d; however, 2 weeks of cold storage resulted in foliar damage. Three cultivars were found to be most suitable for pot production, `Elf', `Pacino' and `Teddy Bear', with one or three plants per 6-inch pot and sprayed with daminozide (B-Nine) at 8,000 ppm, or drenched with paclobutrazol (Bonzi) at 2 mg/pot (a.i.) (28,350 mg = 1.0 oz).

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Iftikhar Ahmad, John M. Dole, and Bruno T. Favero

Effects of pulsing with different concentrations of gibberellin plus benzyladenine (GA4+7 + BA), a proprietary mixture of GA4+7 plus BA in a commercial floral preservative (GA4+7 + BA + preservative), or a propriety mixture of sugar plus acidifier developed for bulbous flowers (floral bulb preservative) were studied on postharvest performance and quality of cut lily (Lilium hybrids) and gladiolus (Gladiolus hybrids) flowers. Pulsing of cut stems of lily with GA4+7 + BA at 5 or 2 mL·L−1 GA4+7 + BA + preservative for 20 hours at 3 ± 1 °C extended the vase life and controlled leaf chlorosis of ‘Cobra’ oriental lily and ‘Cappuccino’ and ‘Dot Com’ asiatic lily. Cut ‘Orange Art’ asiatic lily performed best when pulsed with GA4+7 + BA at 10 mg·L−1. For cut gladiolus, pulsing with GA4+7 + BA at 10 mg·L−1 extended the vase life of ‘Alice’, ‘Mammoth’, and ‘Passion’, while ‘Scarlet’ had the longest vase life when pulsed with 5 mg·L−1 GA4+7 + BA. GA4+7 + BA + preservative also extended the vase life and controlled leaf chlorosis, but the floral bulb preservative had no effect on vase life extension or preventing leaf chlorosis of lilies. Gladiolus cultivars had no or minor leaf chlorosis during vase period. Overall, overnight pulsing with GA4+7 + BA or GA4+7 + BA + preservative extended the vase life and prevented leaf chlorosis and can be used by growers and wholesalers for maintaining quality of cut stems.

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Jaime K. Morvant, John M. Dole, and Earl Allen

Pelargonium hortorum Bailey `Pinto Red' plants were grown with 220 mg·L−1 N (20N-4.4P-16.6K) using hand (HD), microtube (MT), ebb-and-flow (EF), and capillary mat (CM) irrigation systems. At harvest, root balls were sliced into three equal regions: top, middle, and bottom. A negative correlation existed between root medium electrical conductivity (EC) and N concentration to root number such that the best root growth was obtained with low medium EC and N concentrations. EF root numbers were greatest in the middle region. The two subirrigation systems (EF and CM) had higher average root numbers than the two surface-irrigation systems (HD and MT). For all irrigation systems, root numbers were lowest in the top region. In general, less difference in medium soluble salt and N concentrations existed between regions for surface-irrigated than for subirrigated root balls. Soluble salt concentration was lowest in the bottom and middle regions of EF and the bottom region of MT and CM. For subirrigation, the highest medium soluble salt and N concentration was in the top region. For all systems, pH was lowest in the bottom region. Plant growth for all irrigation systems was similar. EF and MT systems required the least water and EF resulted in the least runoff volume.

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John M. Dole, Janet C. Cole, and Vicki Stamback

Rooted cuttings of four woody cut species, Buddleia davidii `Black Knight' (butterfly bush), Forsythia × intermedia `Lynwood Gold', Salix chaenomeloides (Japanese pussywillow), and Salix matsudana `Tortuosa' (corkscrew willow) were planted outdoors in 23 Apr. 1992. During the next year, forsythia, pussywillow, and corkscrew willow plants were either unpruned or pruned to 30–45 cm above the ground: 1) during dormancy or immediately after harvest (winter); 2) 3 to 4 weeks after start of shoot growth (spring); or 3) in early June (summer), and number and length of stems harvested was recorded for three years. Butterfly bush was either unpruned or pruned to 8 cm above the ground during: 1) winter or 2) spring, and number and length of stems recorded for 2 years. Stem length and number increased each year for all four species, and all species produced harvestable stems within 1 year after planting. For forsythia, no differences due to treatment were found, although year by treatment interactions were noted. The unpruned control produced the longest and greatest number of stems for pussy willow. Winter or spring pruning produced the longest and greatest number of stems for corkscrew willow. For butterfly bush, spring or no pruning produced the greatest number of stems, and year by treatment interactions were noted.

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Jaime K. Morvant, John M. Dole, and Janet C. Cole

Euphorbia pulcherrima `Gutbier V-14 Glory' were grown with 220 mg·liter–1 N (20N–4.4P–16.6K) using ebb-and-flow (EF), capillary mat (CAP), microtube (MIC), and hand-watering (HAN) and were irrigated either daily (pulse - P) or as needed (regular - R). For all irrigation systems, pulse irrigation produced the greatest total dry weight. HAN-R produced lower total dry weight than all other irrigation systems and frequencies. Root dry weight was highest with pulse subirrigation (EF and CAP). MIC-P, EF-P, and EF-R were the most water-efficient treatments. The experiment was repeated twice with similar results. In a second experiment, Pelargonium ×hortorum `Pinto Red' root balls were sliced into three equal segments; top, middle, and bottom. For all irrigation systems, root counts were lowest in the top region. EF root counts were greatest in the middle region, while MIC root counts were greatest in the bottom region. The two subirrigation systems had higher average root counts than the two top-irrigated systems (HAN and MIC). In general, there was less difference in EC between regions for top-irrigated than for subirrigated root balls. The EC was lowest in the bottom and middle regions of EF and the bottom region of MIC and CAP. For subirrigation, the highest EC was in the top region. For all systems, pH was lowest in the bottom region.

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Laurence C. Pallez, John M. Dole, and Brian E. Whipker

Days from sowing to anthesis were significantly different among six sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) cultivars and ranged from 52 days for `Big Smile' to 87 days for `Pacino'. Height ranged from 13.5 cm for `Big Smile' to 37.3 cm for `Pacino'. Postproduction life ranged from 10 days for `Pacino' and `Elf' to 15 days for `Big Smile'. Postproduction quality ratings (1 to 5, with 5 the best) ranged from 3.9 to 5 after 5 days and 1 to 4.2 after 10 days. Quality ratings after 15 days were not significantly different among cultivars, because few plants were marketable at 15 days. Increasing the number of plants per pot from one to three or five reduced number of days to anthesis and postproduction life. Pot sizes of 10-, 13-, or 15-cm diameter, had no influence on production or postproduction characteristics. Promalin (62.5 to 500.0 mg·L–1) was not commercially useful in extending postproduction life. Two cultivars were found to be most suitable for pot production, `Pacino' and `Teddy Bear', with one plant per 15-cm pot and sprayed with B-Nine at 8000 mg·L–1.