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Richard O. Kelly, Zhanao Deng, and Brent K. Harbaugh

Florida is one of the top wholesale producers of bedding plants, and in 2003 was ranked fourth in the United States in annual bedding plant production and fifth in potted pansy (Viola ×wittrockiana) and viola (V. cornuta) production. Evaluation of viola cultivars is vital for continued growth of the industry. We evaluated 66 viola cultivars in replicated class tests at the University of Florida's Gulf Coast Research and Education Center at Bradenton from 2000-04 and determined the best-of-class for use in future trials to compare against new entries in the same class. In this report, we provide objective plant measurements of vegetative and floral characteristics as well as subjective performance ratings. Viola cultivars were grouped into classes based on growth habit (standard vs. creeping), flower color, and flower color pattern, and the best cultivar in each class was determined. Cultivars with an outstanding overall performance rating (combined foliage, flower, arthropod feeding symptom, and disease symptom ratings ≥5.5 out of a 7 high scale) for best-of-class selections were: (standard black class) `Sorbet Black Delight'; (standard cream class) `Velour Cream Splash'; (standard mix class) `Babyface Mixture'; (standard orange with purple, red-violet cap class) `Penny Orange Jump-Up'; [standard purple (dark), blue-violet with dark eye and light cap class] `Angel Violet Blotch'; (standard white class) `Penny White'; [standard white face with purple (dark), red-violet cap class] `Skippy White With Violet Wing'; (standard yellow class) `Jewel Lemon Yellow'; (standard yellow with blotch class) `Babyface Yellow'; [standard yellow/white face with purple (dark), blue-violet cap class] `Penny Classic Jump-Up'. Solitary cultivar entries (without comparison) with outstanding performance were: `Angel Frosted Yellow Blotch', `Angel Violet Duet', `Babyface White', `Eryln Purple Yellow', `Four Seasons Yellow With Pink Wing', `Gem Antique Apricot', `Gem Antique Pink', `Gem Antique Lavender', `Hobbit Bilbo Baggins', `Jewel Deep Blue', `Penny Azure Twilight', `Penny Beaconsfield', `Penny Cream', `Penny Orange', `Penny Orchid Frost', `Penny Purple', `Penny Yellow Jump-Up', `Princess Lavender and Yellow', `Princess Purple and Gold', `Rebel Yellow', `Sorbet Coconut Swirl', `Sorbet Icy Blue', `Sorbet Lemon Swirl', `Sparkler Purple Orange Face', and `Sparkler Purple Wing'. These cultivars would likely perform well in the southern U.S. or areas of the world with similar heat and cold hardiness zones.

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Allen D. Owings

The LSU Agricultural Center and Louisiana Association of Nurserymen initiated an ornamental plant promotion and recommendation program in 1996. Called `Louisiana Select', this program is intended to actively promote outstanding ornamental plants to Louisiana's gardening consumers. Plants are promoted in the spring and fall of each year and have included `New Orleans Red' coleus, mayhaw, `Henry's Garnet' Virginia willow, `Homestead Purple' verbena, `Watchet' azalea, `Telstar' dianthus, bald cypress, `New Wonder' scaevola, “Fall is for Planting Native Trees”, and lantana (`New Gold', `Dallas Red', `Confetti', `Trailing Purple', and `Silver Mound'). Point of purchase signs and banners promoting the `Louisiana Select' program and individual plants are provided to retail garden centers. Significant sales increases ranging from 300% to 2500% have been reported for the selected plants, with annual bedding plants and perennial flowers enjoying the greater sales increases. Plants for promotion are selected by a committee of wholesale greenhouse producers, retailers, landscape contractors, and cooperative extension service personnel.

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Thomas H. Boyle

The effects of temperature and clonal genotype on flowering of Easter cactus (Rhipsalidopsis Britton & Rose) were investigated in two experiments. Plants of `Crimson Giant', `Evita', `Purple Pride', and `Red Pride' were exposed to 6 weeks of either 10C or 18C night temperature (NT) under 9- to 9.5-hour natural daylengths (ND), and afterwards were forced at 18C NT and long days (LD). All clones produced fewer flowers when exposed to 18C and ND as compared with 10C and ND; however, the clones varied significantly in their flowering responses. Relative to 10C NT and ND, exposure to 18C NT and ND resulted in an 84% to 95% decrease in the number of flower buds for `Evita', `Purple Pride', and `Red Pride', but only a 50% decrease in the number of flower buds for `Crimson Giant'. In another experiment, 23 clones were exposed to 18C NT and 8-hour short days for 6 weeks, then forced at 18C NT and LD. The clones exhibited differences in percentage of plants flowering, days to flowering, percentage of apical phylloclades flowering, and number of flower buds. `Crimson Giant' outperformed all other clones. Further breeding and selection may yield genotypes that flower more prolifically at 18C minimum than current cultivars.

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Yin-Tung Wang

Vegetatively propagated liners of six hybrid anthurium cultivars (Anthurium Schott), `Pink Aristocrat', `Patty Anne', `Purple Viking', `Royal Pink', Royal Orange', and `Royal Red', were planted in pots and grown under warm [maximum 30 °C (86 °F)] or hot [maximum 35 °C or (95 °F)] conditions with or without a single foliar application of 500 mg·L-1 (ppm) GA3 and evaluated after 7, 9, and 13 months. GA3, when applied 7 months after planting, did not promote flower production or result in taller plants. Plants in warm and hot areas, except for `Pink Aristocrat', had similar degrees of foliage injury in April, but those in the warm environment had better quality in July than those in the hothouse. Yellow leaves and necrosis on leaf margins were apparent on plants in the hot area. `Pink Aristocrat' was the most (>20 flowers) and `Royal Red' was the least (2 flowers) floriferous after 1 year. Flower color of `Royal Red' was unaffected by high temperature, whereas flowers of the other cultivars faded under heat. Growing these anthurium cultivars at maximum 30 °C (86 °F) air temperatures is recommended for good quality and high flower count.

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Carol D. Robacker and Sloane M. Scheiber

Abelia ×grandiflora is a hardy shrub in the landscape, surviving heat and drought with few pest problems. However, improved cultivars with better form, the ability to retain foliage during drought, and unique flowering and foliage characteristics are in demand. `Plum Surprise' is a new cultivar of Abelia that was developed at the University of Georgia in response to these needs. `Plum Surprise' is a seedling selection from the cross `Edward Goucher' × `Francis Mason'. It forms an unusual weeping, spreading mound with fine-textured foliage. In March and April, foliage is yellow-green with scattered red/purple leaves. In late spring, the foliage becomes emerald green, changing to a lighter green throughout the summer. New stem growth is red. The most striking features of `Plum Surprise' are the fall and winter foliage color and the evergreen habit of the cultivar. As autumn progresses, the outer shoots and leaves transform to red/purple or crimson, while the inner foliage is bright emerald green. Foliage is glossy in the winter, and a deep purple or burgundy color. `Plum Surprise' is a relatively light bloomer, with flowers scattered individually or in pairs. The flowers appear white, but on close examination have a purple blush with a pale yellow throat. `Plum Surprise' is noteworthy for its heat and drought tolerance. In both the summers of 2002 and 2005, when check cultivars had lost 50% to 80% of their foliage, `Plum Surprise' exhibited little leaf drop. `Plum Surprise' performs well in a pot under nursery conditions. The foliage cascades down over the pot, making an attractive appearance in both form and color.

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Lian-wei Qu, Gui-mei Xing, Juan-juan Chen, Jia-jun Lei, and Yan-qiu Zhang

and red flowers, respectively. Pink purple and red colors are the symbols of luck and happiness in Chinese culture. The newly released pink purple–flowered (RHS 72B) tulip cultivar Purple Jade is the first Chinese tulip cultivar registered in 2015. The

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Allen D. Owings

The LSU Agricultural Center and Louisiana Nursery and Landscape Association initiated an ornamental plant promtion, marketing, and recommendation program in 1996. Called `Louisiana Select', this program is intended to actively promote outstanding ornamental plants to Louisiana's gardening consumers. In addition, it provides county agents and industry professionals information on plants that should be recommended. The selection committee consists of an extension horticulturist, two county agents, a landscape contractor, a wholesale greenhouse grower, a wholesale woody ornamental producer, and two representatives from retail garden centers. Plants are usually promoted in the spring and fall of each year. Plants previously named as Louisiana Select recipients include `New Orleans Red' (Red Ruffle) coleus, mayhaw, `Henry's Garnet' virginia sweetspire, `Homestead Purple' perennial verbena, `Telstar' dianthus, bald cypress, `New Gold' lantana, `Confetti' lantana, `Trailing Purple' lantana, `Dallas Red' lantana, `Silver Mound' lantana, `Lady in Red' salvia, `New Wonder' scaevola, `Goldsturm' rudbeckia, and `Foxy' fox-glove. A theme (“Fall is for Planting Native Trees”) has also been promoted. Point of purchase signs promoting the Louisiana Select program and individual plants are made available to garden centers. Significant sales increases ranging from 300% to 2500% have been reported for seelcted plants with annual bedding plants and perennial flowers enjoying the greater sales volume increases.

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J.E. Erwin, R. Warner, G.T. Smith, and R. Wagner

Petunia × hybrida Vilm. cvs. `Purple Wave', `Celebrity Burgundy', `Fantasy Pink Morn', and `Dreams Red' were treated with temperature and photoperiod treatments for different lengths of time at different stages of development during the first 6 weeks after germination. Plants were grown with ambient light (≈8–9 hr) at 16°C before and after treatments. Flowering was earliest and leaf number below the first flower was lowest when plants were grown under daylight plus 100 μmol·m–2·s–1 continuous light (high-pressure sodium lamps). Flowering did not occur when plants were grown under short-day treatment (8-hr daylight). Plants grown with night interruption lighting from 2200–0200 HR (2 μmol·m–2·s–1 from incandescent lamps) flowered earlier, and with a reduced leaf number compared to plants grown with daylight + a 3-hr day extension from 1700–2000 HR (100 μmol·m–2·s–1 using high-pressure sodium lamps). Plant height and internode elongation were greatest and least in night interruption and continuous light treatments, respectively. `Fantasy Pink Morn' and `Purple Wave' were the earliest and latest cultivars to flower, respectively. Flowering was hastened as temperature increased from 12 to 20°C, but not as temperature was further increased from 20 to 24°C. Branching increased as temperature decreased from 24 to 12°C. Implications of data with respect to classification of petunia flower induction and pre-fi nishing seedlings are discussed.

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J.C. Vlahos and M. Papadimitriou

Ebenus cretica, Leguminosae, is a perennial bush endemic to the island of Crete, and produces attractive pinky red or purple flowers on 15-cm long racemes. To study the possibility of its use as a cut flower, cut inflorescences on 40-cm-long spikes were taken from plants grown outdoors in the farm of the Technological Educati Institute and used to determine the postharvest characteristics of Ebenus flowers. Without any postharvest treatments, the inflorescences held in water had an average life of about 7 days. A solution of 100 ppm 8-hydroxyquinone sulfate (HQS) in DI water, supplemented with 5% Ca(NO)3 increased vase life for 2 days and improved the water potential without affecting transpiration, whereas the addition of 2% or 5% sucrose decreased vase life by 1 or 2 days respectively. Pulsing with 0.2 mm STS for 2 h improved flower quality and vase life. Addition of 6-BAP (2 ppm) or GA3 (3 ppm) in the preservative solution did not affect flower quality or vase life compared to control. These results indicate that inflorescences of Ebenus cretica may be used as cut flowers; however, further research is required to determine their sensitivity to ethylene as well as its storage capabilities.

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C. Catanzaro and S. Bhatti

Twenty-one cultivars of poinsettia [Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. Ex Klotzsch] were evaluated by respondents who voluntarily completed a paper survey (n=293) at TSU. Rooted cuttings from five major U.S. suppliers were potted and grown during the preceding 4 months according to standard industry practices. Cultivars were displayed without their names for the survey, and respondents were asked to rate each cultivar on a Likert-type scale, where 1=strongly dislike and 5=strongly like. The top eight rated cultivars (mean > 3.9) were all traditional red forms, which included the new cultivar `Red Dragon', followed in descending preference by `Christmas Spirit', `Freedom Red', `Cortez Electric Fire', `Prestige Red', `Premium Red', `Novia Red', and `Candlelight'. For each cultivar, the price respondents indicated they would be willing to pay was highly correlated with the Likert-type scale score. When asked about purchases in the prior year, 89% of respondents bought at least one red poinsettia. Retail outlets and prices paid varied among respondents. Color was by far the most popular criterion respondents used to determine whether they like or dislike a cultivar, followed by foliage and price. Consistent with recent trends for value-added products, consumers indicated that they would be willing to pay significantly more for a purple-painted plant with glitter than for a white-flowered plant that was otherwise of comparable quality. These results suggest that, while red poinsettias continue to dominate the poinsettia market, niche markets exist for unique flower and foliage traits created through breeding and through enhancements such as paint and glitter.