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Liu Yang, Zhongkui Xie, Zhijiang Wu, Yajun Wang, Zhihong Guo, Yubao Zhang, and Ruoyu Wang

The oriental hybrid lily (Lilium oriental cv. Sorbonne) is an economically important flower noted for its pink petals. Flower quality is determined by plant height, number of flowers per plant, and flower diameter. The commercial value can be increased by improving flower quality through cultural practices such as exogenous application of hormones; however, information on this practice is unavailable for this lily hybrid. In the present study, we soaked lily bulbs for 24 hours in one of four concentrations of abscisic acid (ABA) or one of three concentrations of the ABA biosynthesis inhibitor fluridone before subjecting the bulbs to a cold storage treatment at 4 °C. During cold storage, bulbs were sampled and buds were collected every 10 days for 80 days (that is, lasting eight times). The ABA and gibberellic acid 3 (GA3) contents of buds of treatments that showed a significant difference with the control were measured in a 10-day interval. Greenhouse experiments with different cold storage durations of bulbs that measured height, flower number per plant, and flower diameter were conducted. The interaction of hormone treatments and cold storage duration played nonsignificant roles in parameters of flower quality. Exogenous fluridone application to bulbs at 12 mg·L−1 improved flower quality: height and flower number increased significantly compared with the control, but flower diameter did not change. ABA had no effect on flower quality. Because the fluctuation of endogenous GA3 is more remarkable than ABA after the application of fluridone that led to the improvement of flower quality, it can be inferred that this influence on flower quality is achieved through fluridone’s regulation on the content of endogenous GA3. A low endogenous GA3/ABA ratio was associated with improved flower quality: 12 mg·L−1 fluridone decreased the GA3/ABA ratio in most times of the cold treatment. In addition, cold storage duration affected flower quality; the 50-day cold storage can achieve the highest height, the most flower number, and bigger flower diameter simultaneously. The results of the present study suggest that soaking bulbs in 12 mg·L−1 fluridone before cold treatment followed by 50 days of cold storage before planting will increase plant height and flower number per plant.