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Barbara C. Poole, Terril A. Nell, and James E. Barrett

Premature flower bud abscission imposes a serious limitation on longevity of potted Hibiscus in interiorscape situations, Ethylene is known to be one causative factor. Past research has suggested that carbohydrate depletion of buds may also be involved,

A series of experiments was conducted to examine the relationship between carbohydrate levels and ethylene sensitivity of flower buds under low irradiance levels. Two cultivars were used: `Pink Versicolor', which is very susceptible to bud abscission, and the more resistant `Vista', In the first experiment, plants were harvested twice weekly after placement in interiorscape rooms (8.5 μmol m-2 s-1 for 12 hrs per day; 26.5°C day/night) until all buds had abscissed. At each harvest, buds from four size groups were collected for analysis. In the second experiment, source/sink strength of buds was manipulated by selective daily removal of certain sized buds. Remaining buds were collected just prior to abscission for analysis. In two additional experiments, `Pink Versicolor' plants were treated with either silver thiosulfate or ethephon prior to placement in interiorscape rooms. Plants were harvested twice weekly and buds collected. For all experiments, bud dry wt, total soluble sugars and starch content were determined.

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Terril A. Nell, Ria T. Leonard, and James E. Barrett

Postproduction characteristics of the new poinsettia cultivar `Freedom', as influenced by production and postproduction treatments, were evaluated. In one study, plants were grown under three production irradiance levels consisting of 450, 675 or 900 μmol s-1m-2 at 18/24C or 22/28C night/day temperatures and moved at anthesis to postproduction conditions (10 μmol s-1m-2 for 12 hr/day, 21±2C). Anthesis was delayed, plant height and diameter decreased, and a reduction in the number and development of cyathia occurred when maintained at low production temperature and irradiance. Leaf drop, which was minimal after 30 days postproduction (< 25%), was unaffected by production treatments, while cyathia drop was accelerated by low production irradiance and temperature, but not reduced after 30 days.

Leaf retention and quality in postproduction conditions are excellent. Cyathia drop averages 40 to 50% after 2 weeks in postproduction conditions. Bracts and leaves maintain their color well, with only slight fading after 30 days. Plants exhibit slight epinasty after shipping, but recover within a couple of days. These characteristics of `Freedom' make it a promising variety for the future.

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Ria T. Leonard, Amy M. Alexander, and Terril A. Nell

This study examined three transport systems used to transport fresh, non-stored cut flowers from Bogotá, Colombia, to the United States on a monthly basis for 1 year. Five cultivars of cut rose (Rosa hybrida), alstroemeria (Alstroemeria peruviana), carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus), and gerbera (Gerbera jamesonii) were commercially transported using a 7-day conventional distribution system with temperature controls and two rapid transport systems (3-day or 24-hour) with little or no temperature controls, respectively. Temperatures during the 24-hour transport system increased steadily and temperatures were at or above 10 °C for ≈18 h, with half of that time above 15 °C for all shipments. The 3- and 7-day systems had temperature fluctuations ranging from 3 to 24 °C and 3 to 19 °C, respectively. Flowers transported using the rapid transport systems had a significantly longer vase life compared with the 7-day transport in 83% of the shipments of alstroemeria and roses, in 58% of the shipments of carnations, and in 50% of the shipments of gerberas. Vase life increased 5.6% to 17.1% (0.7 to 2.1 days) for roses, 3.2% to 16.7% (0.5 to 2.7 days) for alstroemerias, 12.8% to 34.6% (1.1 to 6.2 days) for gerberas, and 4.6% to 8.8% (1.1 to 2.3 days) for carnations when using the rapid transport systems compared with the 7-day transport system. Some cultivars were more tolerant of the longer transport. The results show that when using fresh, non-stored flowers, the rapid transport systems had equal or longer vase life than the 7-day transport system in the majority of shipments for each flower species. Results also demonstrate that better temperature management during transport is a critical issue in the floral industry that needs to be improved upon.

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William J. Foster, Dewayne L. Ingram, and Terril A. Nell

Rooted stem cuttings of Ilex crenata Thunb. `Rotundifolia' were grown in a controlled-environment growth chamber. Root-zone temperatures were controlled with an electric system. Shoot carbon exchange and root respiration rates were determined in response to root-zone temperatures of 28, 32, 36, and 40C for 6 hour·day–1 for 7 days. Photosynthesis was decreased by root zones ≥ 32C, while root respiration increased with increasing root-zone temperature. Decreased photosynthetic rates were not due to increased stomatal resistance.

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Nadia Roude, Terril A. Nell, and James E. Barrett

Chrysanthemums `Bright Golden Anne' and `Iridon' [Dendranthemum ×grandiflorum (Ramat.) Kitamura] were grown with N concentrations of 1.3, 2.6, or 5.2 kg N/m' of water during the crop cycle from either Osmocote slow-release 14N-6.2P-11.6K or 12.4N4.4P-14.lK or Peters soluble 20N-4.4P-16.6K. Plants were moved to simulated interior rooms at flowering to evaluate effects of the treatments on longevity. `Bright Golden Anne' longevity was not affected by fertilizer source, but `Iridon' longevity was reduced when Peters soluble fertilizer was applied at 2.6 and 5.2 kg N/m3 of water, whereas N concentration did not affect longevity when the slow-release Osmocote fertilizer was used. In an additional study, `Tip', `Copper Hostess', and `Iridon' were grown in three soil media using 1.3, 2.6, or 5.2 kg N/m' of water using Peters soluble 20N-4.4P-16.6K fertilizer from time of planting until flowering. Longevity increased as N concentration decreased when chrysanthemums were grown in Metro Mix 350, whereas N concentration had no significant effect on chrysanthemums grown in Vergro Klay Mix or a peat-perlite-sand mix. `Tip' showed significant in. creases in longevity as N concentration decreased.

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Andrew J. Macnish, Ria T. Leonard, and Terril A. Nell

The vase life of many cut flowers is often limited by bacterial occlusion of stem bases. In this study, we tested the efficacy of a novel antimicrobial agent, aqueous chlorine dioxide (ClO2), to extend the longevity of cut Gerbera flowers by reducing the number of bacteria in vase water. Commercially mature and freshly cut Gerbera jamesonii `Monarck' flowers were placed into clean vases containing deionized water and 0, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 μL·L-1 ClO2. Stems were then maintained in solutions at 21 ± 0.5 °C and 42 ± 11% relative humidity until the end of vase life. Inclusion of 2, 5, and 10 μL·L-1 ClO2 in vase water had beneficial effects on flower longevity. For instance, treatment with 5 and 10 μL·L-1 ClO2 extended flower longevity by 1.4-fold or 3.7 days, as compared to control flowers (0 μL·L-1 ClO2). In contrast, exposure to the higher concentrations of 20 and 50 μL·L-1 ClO2 did not extend flower vase life. Relative to control flowers, treatment with 10 μL·L-1 ClO2 delayed the onset of detectable bacterial colonization of vase solutions from day 3 to day 6 of vase life. However, this ClO2 treatment did not reduce the number of bacteria that subsequently accumulated in vase water as compared to control flowers. Treatment with 10 μL·L-1 ClO2 also increased rates of solution uptake by stems and reduced the loss of flower fresh weight over time. These results highlight the potential use of ClO2 treatments to extend the postharvest longevity of Gerbera flowers.

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Terril A. Nell, Ria T. Leonard, A.A. De Hertogh, and James E. Barrett

Potted Lilium Asiatic hybrids `Aristocrat', `Horizon', and `Polka' were evaluated following 3, 6, or 9 days of transport at 2, 7, or 13C. `Aristocrat' and `Horizon' withstood transport with little or no effect on floral bud opening. `Polka' was the most sensitive cultivar to transport, where bud opening decreased 33% when transported at 13C for 9 days. Most floral buds opened on `Aristocrat' (90% to 98%), while fewer buds opened on `Horizon' (37% to 56%) and `Polka' (52% to 90%). Individual flower longevity and diameters were largely unaffected by transport. Plant longevity was reduced 4 to 7 days when transported for 9 days at ≥7C or for >3 days at 13C. Plant longevity averaged 16 days for `Aristocrat' and `Polka' and 12 days for `Horizon'. `Aristocrat' and the Oriental potted hybrid lily `Star Gazer' were maintained at postproduction conditions of 18, 21, or 24C at 7 or 14 μmol·m–2·s–1 after being commercially transported for 4 days at 5 ± 2C. Postproduction conditions had no effect on floral bud opening of `Aristocrat' (98% to 99%), while bud opening of `Star Gazer' was reduced 17% at 24C compared to 18C. Plants lasted 4 and 9 days longer at 18C than at 21 or 24C, respectively. Foliar discoloration was greatest at 24C. Irradiance level had no effect on the variables evaluated.

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Terril A. Nell, Ria T. Leonard, A.A. De Hertogh, Lena Gallitano, and James E. Barret

Postproduction evaluations of two cultivars each of Amaryllis (Hippeastrum), calla lily, Freesia, lily, and paperwhite Narcissus were conducted under postproduction temperatures of 18, 21 and 24C and irradiance levels of 7 or 14 μmol·m-2·s-1. Amaryllis longevity ranged from 10 to 24 days, with an increase of 7 to 10 days at 18C. Excessive stem elongation occurred and was greatest at 24C. Calla lily longevity ranged from 33 to 68 days, with up to a 25-day increase at 18C and 14 μmol·m-2·s-1. Freesia lasted 24 to 33 days with an increase of 6 to 9 days at 18C. Leaf yellowing and stalk elongation was a common problem of Freesia, especially at 24C. Lilies lasted 17 to 31 days, with an increase of 9 to 11 days at 18C. Asiatic lilies were superior to Oriental lilies. Paperwhite Narcissus lasted 13 to 27 days, increasing up to 10 days at 18C. Cultivar differences in longevity and quality were observed. Optimum postproduction conditions ranged from 18 to 21C at an irradiance of 14 μmol·m-2·s-1 for best quality and longevity.

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Trinidad Reyes, Terril A. Nell, Charles A. Conover, and James E. Barrett

Effects of three light intensities (564, 306 and 162 μmol m-2 s-1) and three fertilizer rates (220, 440 and 880 mg/15 cm pot, weekly) were evaluated on acclimatization potential of Chamaedorea elegans. Treatments were applied during four months under greenhouse conditions after which plants were placed indoors (20 μmol m-2 s-1, 21±2C and 50% RH) for two months. Light compensation point (LCP) was significantly reduced by decreasing light intensity and increasing fertilizer rates. Leaf and root fresh and dry weights increased with irradiance while shoots were not affected. Chlorophyll a levels were higher in plants grown under the lowest light intensity. Carbohydrate content is being analyzed and anatomical examination of leaves studied. Plant performance indoors will be discussed. These studies demonstrate that Chamaedorea, a monocot, acclimatizes similarly to dicots.

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Trinidad Reyes, Terril A. Nell, James E. Barrett, and Charles A. Conover

The effect of irradiance and fertilizer level on the acclimatization of Chamaedorea elegans Mart. was studied. Chamaedorea elegans was grown for 4 months in 1.6-liter pots under 162, 306, or 564 μmol·m–2·s–1 and fertilized weekly with 20N–4.7P–16.6K soluble fertilizer at 220, 440, or 880 mg/pot. At the end of the production period, plants were moved to interior rooms and maintained for 2 months at 20 μmol·m–2·s–1 for 12 h daily at 21 ± 1C and a relative humidity of 50% ± 5%. At the end of the production phase, the light compensation point (LCP) and the concentration of nonstructural carbohydrates were lower, and chlorophyll concentration was higher the lower the irradiance level. Increasing fertilizer concentration decreased the number of fronds, LCP, and nonstructural carbohydrates. After 2 months in the interior environment, LCP and number of fronds of C. elegans did not differ among treatments. Chlorophyll concentration of plants grown under 564 μmol·m–2·s–1 had increased 61%, while starch in the stem had decreased 43% relative to the concentration found at the end of the production period. In C. elegans grown under 306 μmol·m–2·s–1, stem starch depletion was only 13% during the interior evaluation period. These results indicated that C. elegans grown under the highest irradiance level used reserved carbohydrates in the interior environment while adjusting to low light and producing new leaves. Chamaedorea elegans was best acclimatized at the intermediate irradiance and medium fertilizer concentration.