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Jens J. Brøndum and Royal D. Heins

Effects of temperature and photoperiod on growth rates and morphological development of Dahlia pinnata Cav. `Royal Dahlietta Yellow' were determined by growing plants under 45 combinations of day and night temperatures (DT and NT, respectively, and photoperiod. DT and NT ranged from 10 to 30C and photoperiods from 10 to 24 hours·day-1. Photoperiod influenced vegetative development more than reproductive development as plants flowered in all photoperiods. Lateral shoot count and length decreased and tuberous root weight increased as photoperiod decreased from 16 to 10 hours. Temperature interacted with photoperiod to greatly increase tuberous root formation as temperature decreased from 25 to 15C. Increasing temperature from 20 to 30C increased the number of nodes below the first flower. Flower count and diameter decreased as average daily temperature increased. Nonlinear regression analysis was used to estimate the maximum rate and the minimum, optimum, and maximum temperatures for leaf-pair unfolding rate (0.29 leaf pair/day, 5.5, 24.6, and 34.9C, respectively), flower development rate from pinch to visible bud (0.07 flower/day, 2.4, 22.4, and 31.1C, respectively), and flower development rate from visible bud to flower (0.054 flowers/day, 5.2, 24.4, and 31.1C, respectively). The results collectively indicate a relatively narrow set of conditions for optimal `Royal Dahlietta Yellow' dahlia flowering, with optimal defined as fast-developing plants with many large flower buds and satisfactory plant height. These conditions were a 12- to 14-hour photoperiod and ≈ 20C.

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John E. Erwin and Royal D. Heins

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Keith A. Funnell and Royal D. Heins

The postharvest quality of potted Asiflorum lily `Donau' (Lilium hybrid) was evaluated after plants were sprayed with 0, 50, 250, or 500 mg·L-1 (BA equivalent) of Promalin (GA4+7 to BA ratio was 1:1) or Accel (GA4+7 to BA ratio 1:10) and stored at 2 to 3 °C for 0, 10, or 20 days. As storage was prolonged, more leaves senesced once plants were removed for evaluation. Leaf senescence declined with increasing concentrations of either Promalin or Accel, but Promalin was more effective. Application of 250 mg·L-1 Promalin completely eliminated leaf senescence over the 20-day shelf-life evaluation period, irrespective of duration of cold storage. The treatments did not affect flower bud opening or plant height. Chemical names used: gibberellin (GA4+7); benzyladenine (BA).

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Erik S. Runkle and Royal D. Heins

For many long-day plants (LDP), adding far red light (FR, 700 to 800 nm) to red light (R, 600 to 700 nm) to extend the day or interrupt the night promotes extension growth and flowering. Blue light (B, 400 to 500 nm) independently inhibits extension growth, but its effect on flowering is not well described. Here, we determined how R-, FR-, or B-deficient (Rd, FRd, or Bd, respectively) photoperiods influenced stem extension and flowering in five LDP species: Campanula carpatica Jacq., Coreopsi ×grandiflora Hogg ex Sweet, Lobelia ×speciosa Sweet, Pisum sativum L., and Viola ×wittrockiana Gams. Plants were exposed to Rd, FRd, Bd, or normal (control) 16-hour photoperiods, each of which had a similar photosynthetic (400 to 700 nm) photon flux. Compared with that of the control, the Rd environment promoted extension growth in C. carpatica (by 65%), C. ×grandiflora (by 26%), P. sativum (by 23%), and V. ×wittrockiana (by 31%). The FRd environment suppressed extension growth in C. ×grandiflora (by 21%), P. sativum (by 17%), and V. ×wittrockiana (by 14%). Independent of the R: FR ratio, the Bd environment promoted stem extension (by 10% to 100%) in all species, but there was little or no effect on flowering percentage and time to flower. Extension growth was generally linearly related to the incident wide band (100 nm) R: FR ratio or estimated phytochrome photoequilibrium except when B light was specifically reduced. A high R: FR ratio (i.e., under the FRd filter) delayed flower initiation (but not development) in C. carpatica and C.×grandiflora and inhibited flower development (but not initiation) in Vwittrockiana. Therefore, B light and the R: FR ratio independently regulate extension growth by varying magnitudes in LDP, and in some species, an FRd environment can suppress flower initiation or development.

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Erik S. Runkle and Royal D. Heins

Environments with a low red (R, 600 to 700 nm) to far-red (FR, 700 to 800 nm) ratio (e.g., with high plant density) promote stem elongation, and a high R: FR suppresses it. While FR light promotes stem extension, it is also required for rapid, uniform flowering of many long-day plants. We investigated how a new FR filter [creating a FR-deficient (FRd) environment] influenced plug growth and subsequent flowering of pansy (Viola ×wittrockiana `Crystal Bowl Yellow'), petunia (Petunia ×hybrida `Carpet Pink'), impatiens (Impatiens wallerana `Accent Rose'), snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus `Liberty Scarlet'), and tomato (Solanum lycopersicon `Beefmaster'). One-week-old seedlings were placed under three filter treatments with 16-h photoperiods: the FRd filter, a neutral-density filter (N) that transmitted a similar PPF, and transferring plugs from the N to the FRd filter when leaves of each species began to touch (7 to 11 days later). The predicted phytochrome photoequilibria under the FRd and N filters was 0.80 and 0.72, respectively. After 25 to 35 days at 20 °C, node number and stem (or petiole for pansy) length were collected. Twenty plants of each species and filter treatment were then transferred to 4-inch pots and grown under natural photoperiods (14 to 15 h) at 20 °C until flowering. Compared to plants continually under the N filter, stem length under the FRd filter was significantly reduced in impatiens (by 11%), pansy (by 18%), petunia (by 34%), snapdragon (by 5%), and tomato (by 24%). Flowering of plants from plugs under the FRd filter was delayed by 2 to 3 days for snapdragon, petunia, and pansy. Filter treatment of plugs had no significant effect on flower number or plant height at flower.

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Erik S. Runkle and Royal D. Heins

Plastics that selectively reduce the transmission of far-red light (FR, 700 to 800 nm) reduce extension growth of many floricultural crops. However, FR-deficient (FRd) environments delay flowering in some long-day plants (LDPs), including `Crystal Bowl Yellow' pansy (Viola ×wittrockiana Gams). Our objective was to determine if FR light could be added to an otherwise FRd environment to facilitate flowering with minimal extension growth. In one experiment, plants were grown under a 16-hour FRd photoperiod, and FR-rich light was added during portions of the day or night. For comparison, plants were also grown with a 9-hour photoperiod [short-day (SD) control] or under a neutral (N) filter with a 16-hour photoperiod (long day control). Flowering was promoted most (i.e., percent of plants that flowered increased and time to flower decreased) when FR-rich light was added during the entire 16-hour photoperiod, during the last 4 hours of the photoperiod, or during the first or second 4 hours after the end of the photoperiod. In a separate experiment, pansy was grown under an FRd or N filter with a 9-hour photoperiod plus 0, 0.5, 1, 2, or 4 hours of night interruption (NI) lighting that delivered a red (R, 600 to 700 nm) to FR ratio of 0.56 (low), 1.28 (moderate), or 7.29 (high). Under the N filter, the minimum NI duration that increased percent flowering was 2 hours with a moderate or low R:FR and 4 hours with a high R:FR. Under the FRd filter, 2 or 4 hours of NI lighting with a moderate or low R:FR, respectively, was required to increase percent flowering, but a 4-hour NI with a high R:FR failed to promote flowering. Pansy appears to be day-neutral with respect to flower initiation and a quantitative LDP with respect to flower development. The promotion of reproductive development was related linearly to the promotion of extension growth. Therefore, it appears that in LDPs such as pansy, light duration and quality concomitantly promote extension growth and flowering, and cannot readily be separated with lighting strategies.

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Mark P. Kaczperski and Royal D. Heins

Plug-grown Pelargonium × hortorum `Pinto Red' seedlings were grown under natural daylight (average of 4.7 mol/day) or with supplemental irradiance from high-pressure sodium lamps. Seedlings were grown under 8-, 16-, or 24-h photoperiods with supplemental irradiances of 2.5, 3.75, or 5.0 mol/day at each photoperiod. Supplemental irradiance was provided for 7, 14, 21, and 28 days beginning 7, 14, 21, 28, and 35 days after sowing. Seedlings were transplanted 63 days after sowing to 8-cm containers (121 plants/m2) and grown to flower. Leaf number at time of transplant was not affected by photoperiod, but increased as daily irradiance and weeks of supplemental irradiance increased. Seedlings were more responsive to supplemental irradiance applications beginning 28 and 35 days than at 7 to 21 days after sowing. Ninety-two percent of seedlings receiving 28 days of 5.0 mol/day supplemental irradiance under a 24-h photoperiod starting 35 days after sowing had initiated flower buds at time of transplant; 75% of those receiving 3.75 mol/day were initiated. Plants receiving less than 3 weeks of supplemental irradiance or with an irradiance period beginning less than 28 days after sowing had not initiated flowers at transplant.

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Erik S. Runkle and Royal D. Heins

For many plants, light quality has a pronounced effect on plant morphology; light with a low red (R, 600 to 700 nm) to far-red (FR, 700 to 800 nm) ratio promotes stem elongation and a high R: FR, or blue light (B, 400 to 500 nm), suppresses it. In addition, FR light is required for rapid flowering in some species, particularly for long-day plants. Our objective was to quantify how flexible spectral filters, which selectively reduce FR, B, or R, influence plant height and flowering of the quantitative long-day plants Pisum sativum L. `Utrillo' and Viola ×wittrockiana Gams. `Crystal Bowl Yellow'. Plants were grown at 20 °C with reduced FR, B, or R environments or with a neutral density control (C) filter. Calculated phytochrome photoequilebria were 0.78, 0.73, 0.71, or 0.46 for the altered FR, B, C, or R environments, respectively. All filter treatments transmitted a similar photosynthetic photon flux. Sixteen-hour photoperiods were created with natural daylight supplemented with high-pressure sodium lamps positioned above filters. Viola grown under the FR filter never reached 100% flowering within 8 weeks, and visible bud appearance was delayed by at least 17 days compared to all other filters. The R and B filters enhanced peduncle length by at least 25% compared to the C or FR filters. In Pisum, average internode length was 2.2, 2.9, 3.4, and 3.7 cm under the FR, C, B, and R filters, respectively, all statistically different. Fresh and dry shoot weights were similar under the C and FR filters but were at least 35% greater under the B filter and 35% lower under the R filter.

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James E. Faust and Royal D. Heins

Poor lateral branching sometimes occurs when certain poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) cultivars are pinched. Two experiments were conducted to determine the effect of high temperatures on axillary bud development. In Expt. 1, `Red Sails' plants were grown in a high-temperature environment (HTE) of 27°C at night (8 hr) and 30°C (3 hr), 33°C (10 hr), and 30°C (3 hr) in the day for two months, then transferred to a 20°C environment. In Expt. 2, plants grown at 20°C were transferred into the same HTE described above for 0, 2, 4, 8, 16, or 32 days and were then moved back into the 20°C environment. Axillary buds were examined for viability at the end of each experiment. In Expt. 1, only 8% of the lateral buds forming in the HTE were viable, while 80% of the buds forming in leaf axils of leaves unfolding after the plants were transferred to the 20°C environment were viable. In Expt. 2, 80% of buds produced in axils of the first four leaves to unfold after the start of the experiment were viable in all the treatments. However, the percentage of viable buds in the axils of leaf numbers 5 to 8 was 100, 100, 100, 96, 56, and 0 for the plants placed in the HTE for 0, 2, 4, 8, 16, and 32 days, respectively. These data indicate day temperatures of 30 to 33°C adversely affect lateral shoot development of `Red Sails' poinsettia.

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John E. Erwin, Royal D. Heins, and James E. Faust

Nephrolepis exaltata (L.) Schott `Dallas Jewel' plants were grown for 92 days under 16 day/night temperature (DT/NT) regimes and two photoperiods for a total of 32 environments. Temperatures ranged from 15 to 30 ± 1.5C. Photoperiod was either 9 hours (short days) or 9 hours plus a 4-hour night interruption (long days) using incandescent lamps. Photoperiod had no significant effect on either morphology or development rate. Frond length and leaflet count per frond were highly correlated with the average daily temperature (ADT). Frond length increased from 9.3 to 21.9 cm and leaflet count increased from 21 to 42 leaflets per frond as ADT increased from 15 to 30C. Solon count and frond orientation were highly correlated with the weighted difference (WDIF) between DT and NT. The weighted difference between DT and NT was equal to: (DT × photoperiod) - (NT × scotoperiod). The scotoperiod was inclusive of the night interruption. Stolon count increased as the weighted NT increased relative to the weighted DT, i.e., as WDIF decreased. In contrast, frond angle relative to the soil surface, i.e., frond orientation, increased as WDIF increased. Frond unfolding rate and total plant dry weight increased as temperature increased to ≈ 25C, then decreased.