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Fred D. Rauch and Paul K. Murakami

Several trials have been conducted to determine the optimum amendment level for the production of container foliage plants in a 1:1, V:V, peat:perlite potting mix.

Experiments with various controlled-release fertilizers have shown superior growth and quality with resin coated products in an artificial mix. This appears to correspond to the nitrogen source with those containing nitrate and ammonium nitrogen giving better results than those with other nitrogen sources, such as IBDU or urea.

Trials with variable rates of dolomitic lime resulted in better or equal growth and quality of a variety of foliage plants without added lime even at pH levels of 4.0.

These results suggest the recommendations for the production of container plants in mixes without soil need to be reviewed and perhaps revised.

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Eisuke Matsuo

Japanese people offer a great variety of cut flowers at their ancestors' tombs during four major events each year. In Kagoshima, however, they offer cut flowers throughout the year. Their basic offering combines cut-foliage plants, e.g., Eurya japonica Thunb. and colorful plants like chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum morifolium Ramat.). Frequently used plant types have good keeping quality and are quite colorful and economical. Cultural and religious differences in the areas influence local use patterns.

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J.M. Sarracino, R. Merritt, and C.K. Chin

Two foliage plant species, Leea coccinia L. and Leea rubra L., exhibited lower light compensation points and faster rates of acclimatization than Ficus benjamina L. when moved from full sun to dense shade, i.e., from 15.7 to 0.26 or 0.09 mol·m·-2day-1. Light compensation points were reduced up to 75% for L. coccinia and 71% for L. rubra after 25 days under these conditions. Uptake of CO2 increased from 65% to 179% and 34% to 118% for L. coccinia and L. rubra, respectively, while respiration rates were reduced from 73% and 76% to 59% to 68%, respectively. Ficus benjamina plants died under similar conditions.

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Bodie V. Pennisi

Geogenanthus Ínca' is a new cultivar introduced the foliage plant industry which shows promise in interior plantscaping. The objectives of this study were twofold; to examine the effects of ancymidol and flurprimidol on G. `Inca' growth and determine if plant growth retardant (PGR) application could improve postharvest performance. Four weeks before attaining marketable sizes, the plants were drenched with ancymidol or flurprimidol at 0.0, 0.5, 1.0, or 1.5 mg (a.i.). Plants were then placed in interior-evaluation rooms under 12 μmol·m–2·s–1. Ancymidol or flurprimidol reduced plant height, width, growth index and total leaf area, total dry weight and shoot to root ratio of Geogenathus `Inca'. Flurprimidol increased the deposition of insoluble carbohydrates (starch) and altered the pattern of starch deposition; higher starch content was found in stem tissue compared to foliage tissue. The effects of ancymidol or flurprimidol persisted in the postharvest environment. After 4 months under low irradiance, PGR-treated plants exhibited higher quality, i.e., compact stature and reduced leaf and shoot necrosis. This research has potential significance for the foliage plant industry and it showed that a single drench application at label recommended rates of ancymidol or flurprimidol late in the production cycle can produce desired growth control of Geogenanthus `Inca' in the postharvest environment. Plants retain aesthetic characteristics for extended period thus necessitating lower replacement rate.

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Jianjun Chen, R.W. Henley, R.J. Henny, C.A. Robinson, and R.D. Caldwell

Aglaonema is among the most popular tropical ornamental foliage plants used indoors because of its bright foliar variegation, low light and humidity tolerance, and few pests. Aglaonema, however, has been labeled as one of the most chilling-sensitive foliage plants. The dark, greasy-appearing patches on leaves injured by chilling can result in completely unsalable plants. With recent breeding activity, more and more Aglaonema cultivars have been developed and released. How new cultivars respond to chilling temperatures is, however, mostly unclear. This study was undertaken to evaluate cultivar chilling responses to identify chilling-resistant cultivars. Twenty cultivars were chilled at 1.7, 4.4, 7.2, 10, and 12.7 °C for 24 h using a detached single-leaf method and also whole-plant assay. Results indicate that great genetic variation exists among the cultivars, ranging from no injury at 1.7 °C to severe injury at 12.7 °C. A popular cultivar, Silver Queen, is the most sensitive, while the cultivar Stars is the most resistant. There was also a chilling response difference based on leaf maturity. Young leaves showed less injury than did either mature or old leaves. In addition, there was a significant correlation between the single-leaf and whole-plant assay for chilling resistance in Aglaonema'; the single leaf assay could be particularly useful for a quick test.

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Jinggui Fang, Chih Cheng Chao, Richard J. Henny, and Jianjun Chen

Plant tissue culture can induce a variety of genetic and epigenetic changes in regenerated plantlets, a phenomenon known as somaclonal variation. Such variation has been widely used in the ornamental foliage plant industry as a source for selection of new cultivars. In ornamental aroids alone, at least 63 somaclonal-derived cultivars have been released. In addition to morphological differences, many somaclonal aroid cultivars can be distinguished by amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) analysis. However, a few cultivars have no detectable polymorphisms with their parents or close relatives by AFLP fingerprints. It is postulated that DNA methylation may be involved in the morphological changes of these cultivars. In this study, methylation-sensitive amplification polymorphism (MSAP) technique was used to study DNA methylation in selected somaclonal cultivars of Alocasia, Aglaonema, Anthurium, Dieffenbachia, Philodendron, and Syngonium. Results showed that polymorphisms were detected in the somaclonal cultivars, suggesting that DNA methylation polymorphisms may associate with tissue culture-induced mutation in ornamental aroids. This is the first study of methylation variation in somaclonal variants of ornamental foliage plants. The results clearly demonstrate that the MSAP technique is highly efficient in detecting DNA methylation events in somaclonal-derived cultivars.

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Virginia I. Lohr, Georgia K. Goodwin, and Caroline H. Pearson-Mims

Foliage plants were added to different environments, including an office and a computer lab. Relative humidity and air-borne particulate matter were monitored in the presence and absence of the plants. When the relative humidity was low, the addition of plants increased the relative humidity slightly, but significantly, over that when no plants were present. Particulate matter accumulation was not increased in the presence of plants. Some have hypothesized that the growing medium could be a source of increased particulates when plants are used indoors. Some of our experiments used self-watering containers, irrigated from below, resulting in very dusty conditions in the top of the container. If the growing medium could contribute to increases in particulate matter, we should have detected it in this study.

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Timothy K. Broschat

Ixoras (Ixora L.) growing in calcareous sandy soils are highly susceptible to a reddish leaf spot disorder. Symptoms appear on the oldest leaves of a shoot and consist of irregular diffuse brownish-red blotches on slightly chlorotic leaves. Symptoms of K deficiency, P deficiency, and both K and P deficiency were induced in container-grown Ixora `Nora Grant' by withholding the appropriate element from the fertilization regime. Potassium-deficient ixoras showed sharply delimited necrotic spotting on the oldest leaves, were stunted in overall size, and retained fewer leaves per shoot than control plants. Phosphorus-deficient plants showed no spotting, but had uniformly brownish-red older leaves and olive-green younger foliage. Plants deficient in both elements displayed symptoms similar to those observed on landscape plants. Symptomatic experimental and landscape ixoras all had low foliar concentrations of both K and P.

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A. Hagiladi and A.A. Watad

Potted Cordyline terminalis L. `Prins Albert', a foliage plant, was treated with foliar sprays or growth medium drenches of paclobutrazol for plant growth control. Paclobutrazol effectively reduced shoot length measured 4 months following application, the drench being more effective than the spray. Application of paclobutrazol at 200 ppm by either method gave a desirable compact and marketable product. Drench applications at 1000 ppm promoted side-shoot formation. Leaf morphology was altered from an elongated to a more oval form as the paclobutrazol concentration increased, but leaf count was not affected by paclobutrazol, except for the highest drench concentration, which reduced leaf count by 10%. Chemical name used: β– [(4-chlorophenyl)methyl] –α– (1,1-dimethylethyl)-1H-1,2,4-triazole-1-ethanol (paclobutrazol).

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Robert F. Bevacqua

Sugar cane and pineapple have dominated agriculture in Hawaii for more than 100 years. The plantation system that produced these agronomic crops is now in sharp decline, and a search is underway for horticultural crops, such as macadamia nut, papaya, and potted foliage plants, with which to diversify island agriculture. This paper, using the case study of potatoes and melons, describes the constraints encountered in establishing a 1000-acre farm enterprise on lands made available by the closing of Oahu Sugar Plantation in 1994. The major constraints were 1) a short-term lease with a clause for immediate revocation, 2) the reallocation of irrigation water from agricultural to conservation use, 3) the available plantation work force was ill-prepared for the varied tasks of horticultural production, 4) an irrigation infrastructure not compatible with vegetable production, 5) difficulty in expanding pesticide labels for local use, and 6) the absence of an institution to provide policy and technical assistance in addressing the above constraints.