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Several reports suggest that late-planted rhizomes of Curcuma alismatifolia produce their inflorescences in less time than those that have been planted earlier in the forcing season. Two cultivars of this ginger species were removed from the ground in late February following a lengthy dormancy period in the field. About 6 weeks later, after air drying, weekly plantings were initiated through the end of June. Five rhizomes per cultivar were planted singly in 15-cm pots in ProMix BX medium. All plants were forced outdoors under full sun conditions and an overhead spray stake irrigation system that delivered 200 ppm each of nitrogen and potassium with each watering. Cultivar differences were apparent. Plant-to-sprout days for the DP and LP cultivars ranged from 20–51 and 21–57 days, respectively, with means of 3 8 ± 9.2 and 44 ± 11.9 days, respectively, over the 10-week planting cycle. Sprout-to-flower days showed much less difference with ranges of 61–75 and 58–72 days for DP and LP and means of 69 ± 4.3 and 66 ± 4.0 days, respectively. Plant to flower times differed largely because of the length of time required for the rhizomes to sprout rather than for the amount of time spent in inflorescence initiation and development. Plant heights at flowering and inflorescence counts were not different within cultivars over the 10-week planting period. Degree days and solar integrals will be presented for the 10 growing periods.

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Research defining actual changes in weight gain of roots and shoots during growth episodes of woody ornamentals is limited. The objective of this study was to develop a better understanding of the patterns of root and shoot growth, nitrogen uptake, and changes in carbohydrate and protein content of Ligustrum japonicum, an episodic species. Shoot elongation and lateral root formation were synchronous. The greatest increase in shoot percent of whole plant fresh weight occurred after shoot elongation however, and the greatest increase in root percent of whole plant fresh weight occurred during shoot elongation. Nitrate uptake was highest during shoot elongation and lateral root formation. Carbohydrate and protein content also varied with each episode of growth.

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Many bedding plant cultivars struggle to survive in high temperatures during production. The objective of this research was to study how heat stress and preconditioning affects growth, physiology, and anatomy of the annual bedding plant Salvia splendens Ker Gawl. Heat preconditioning increased the quality and survival capacity of nonheat-tolerant ‘Sizzler Red’. Heat-tolerant traits of ‘Vista Red’ were enhanced with preconditioning. The higher tolerance levels with and without heat preconditioning for ‘Vista Red’ suggested that cultivars with thicker, broader leaves, and higher stomatal frequency had higher light interception, gas exchange, transpirational cooling, and CO2 fixation. These plants attained a more rapid canopy cover and maintained healthier leaves and supplied photoassimilates to reproductive development and root growth. Selecting for these characteristics could be used to help provide guidelines for breeding and selection of heat-tolerant salvia.

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Rhizomes of Curcuma alismatifolia Roxb. `Chiang Mai Pink', C. gracillima Roxb. `Violet', and C. thorelii Roxb. were soaked in gibberellin (GA4+7) at 0, 200, 400, or 600 mg·L-1 (ppm) and planted into 15.2-cm-diameter (6 inches) containers. The plants were grown in a greenhouse at 30 °C day/23 °C night (86.0/73.4 °F) temperatures. When shoot height was 10 cm (3.9 inches), the plants were drenched with 118 mL (3.9 fl oz) of paclobutrazol at 0, 2, 3, or 4 mg a.i. per 15.2-cm-diameter container. Gibberellin4+7 delayed shoot emergence and fl owering but did not affect the fl ower number. Paclobutrazol rates were not effective in controlling height of C. alismatifolia `Chiang Mai Pink' averaging 85 cm (33.5 inches), C. gracillima `Violet' averaging 25 cm (9.8 inches), or C. thorelii averaging 17 cm (6.7 inches). Curcuma alismatifolia `Chiang Mai Pink', C. gracillima `Violet', and C. thorelii had postproduction longevities of 4.6, 2.6 and 3.8 weeks respectively, making these three species of curcuma excellent candidates for use as fl owering pot plants.

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Rhizomes of Curcuma alismatifolia `Chiang Mai Pink' and tissue cultured plants of C. cordata, C. petiolata `Emperor', C. thorelii, Kaempferia sp. `Grande', Siphonichilus decora and S. kirkii were grown in a greenhouse under 8-, 12-, 16-, and 20-hour photoperiods. All plants grown under the 8-hour photoperiod became dormant over a 15 week time period. After 90 days, most ginger species grown under the 16- and 20-hour photoperiods were taller than those grown under 8 and 12 hours. A larger number of unfolded leaves was indicated for all ginger species grown under 16- and 20-hour photoperiods compared to those grown under 8- and 12-hour photoperiods except for C. thorelli. The percentage of unfolded leaves as determined by quartile indicated similar results. The number of underground rhizomes of C. alismatifolia, C. cordata, and C. petiolata increased when plants were grown at 16 and 20-hour photoperiods. The number of tuberous-roots (t-roots) increased as photoperiod decreased below 16 hours for C. alismatifolia, C. cordata, C. petiolata, Kaempferia sp. and S. kirkii. Siphonichilus decora produced no t-roots while C. thorelii produced the most t-roots at 16 hours. Vegetative growth of gingers grown in this study, except for C. thorelii, was maintained and increased at photoperiods of 16 and 20 hours.

Photoperiods of 8 and 12 hours induced dormancy and t-root production of most of these gingers.

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Irrigation water quality is an important factor in ornamental plant production; however, there is little information in this area. Saline (NaCl) and alkaline (NaHCO3) water have been shown to cause general chlorosis, tip burn, and defoliation of plants. The growing medium used in crop production may be an important factor when irrigating with saline and alkaline water. Our objectives were to determine the effects of increasing concentrations of NaCl: CaCl2 and NaHCO3 in irrigation water on growth and development of spring and fall bedding plants grown in peat, peat/pine bark, and pine bark media. Plant dry weight, height, and width were significantly lower at 300 and 400 ppm NaCl: CaCl2 and NaHCO3 levels. Early visible symptoms were necrosis of leaf tips, some leaf discoloration and finally plant death in the NaCl: CaCl2 experiment. The leaves of plants in the NaHCO3 experiment became water soaked and chlorotic, and some leaf abscission occurred. The best plant growth in the NaHCO3 experiment occurred in peat and the best plant growth in the NaCl: CaCl2 experiment occurred in pine bark. Decreased uptake of K+, Ca++, and Mg++ occurred when high levels of sodium were present.

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Eight bedding plant species were grown from plugs obtained from two sources. The plugs were transplanted into jumbo six packs and sprayed with a solution of chlormequat/daminozide with concentrations of 1000/800, 1250/1250, or 1500/5000 mg·L-1 when new growth was ≈5 cm in height or width. Three different species were grown in the fall (Dianthus chinensis L., `Telstar Mix', Petunia ×hybrida Hort. Vilm.-Andr., `Dreams Red', and Viola ×wittrockiana Gams., `Bingo Blue'), winter [Antirrhinum majus L., `Tahiti Mix', Matthiola incana (L.) R. Br., `Midget Red', and P. × hybrida, `Dreams Mix'], and spring [Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don, `Cooler Pink', Salvia splendens F. Sellow ex Roem. & Schult., `Empire Red', and Begonia ×semperflorens-cultorum Hort., `Cocktail Mix']. The treatments significantly reduced finished plant size of all species for each season. There was a significant difference in finish size between sources for Dianthus, Antirrhinum, Matthiola, Catharanthus, Salvia, and Begonia. The efficacy of chlormequat/daminozide also differed for each source of Dianthus, Matthiola, and Begonia, but the treatments minimized the differences in finish size between sources for Petunia and Viola. Chemical names used: (2-chlorethyl) trimethylammonium chloride (chlormequat); (N-dimethylaminosuccinamic acid) (daminozide).

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Ornamental gingers are popular cut flowers and have been promoted as a promising potted flower crop because of unique foliage, long-lasting colorful bracts, and few pest problems. Rhizomes are the primary means of propagation in late spring followed by shoot growth and flowering, and plants enter dormancy under short days in the fall. Termination of dormancy is important for greenhouse forcing and extending the growing season. Dormancy of storage organs can be terminated prematurely by temperature. Rhizomes of three ginger species (Curcuma alismatifolia Gagnep., C. cordata L., and Globba winittii C.H. Wright) were stored for 0,1, or 2 weeks at 10 or 15 °C followed by 0,1, or 2 weeks at 25, 30, or 35 °C to determine the effect on growth and flowering. Upon completion of treatment application, rhizomes were planted in a peat moss: bark: perlite mix and placed in a greenhouse with 25 °C day/21 °C night temperatures with 40% shade. Rhizome cold storage in combination with hot storage affected growth and development of ornamental gingers. Days to emergence (DTE) and days to flower (DTF) for Globba were hastened when rhizomes were stored for 3 weeks at 15 °C followed by 3 weeks at 30 °C. For C. alismatifolia, DTE and DTF were hastened when rhizomes were stored for 3 weeks at 10 °C followed by 3 weeks at 30 °C. For C. cordata, DTE and DTF were hastened with rhizome storage of 2 weeks at 10 °C followed by 3 weeks at 35 °C.

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Plug production has increased the finished quality and uniformity of bedding plants, making them one of the most important greenhouse crops grown. The wide range of cultural practices used by different growers to produce plugs, may influence the efficacy of plant growth regulators applied to the same crop in postplug production. Ten bedding plant species were grown from plugs obtained from two sources using different cultural practices. The plugs were transplanted to jumbo six packs and sprayed with either chlormequat/daminozide tank mix, ancymidol, or paclobutrazol at three concentrations at three times of year. The effect of each plant growth regulator varied by plant species and time of year applied. Source of plug material did have a significant effect on height and time of flowering of finished bedding plants and the use of plant growth regulators did not minimize the differences in height between sources in most cases.

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Tropical horticulture is a senior-level course in most horticulture curricula. A combination of notes, slides, and hands-on demonstration with tropical crop products is the traditional presentation format for this course. Our project integrated computer-based learning models in a comprehensive courseware package suitable for teaching an entire undergraduate tropical horticulture course covering 14 crops from the areas of fruits, vegetables, ornamentals, and floriculture. The user-friendly multimedia course includes hypertext class notes, animated graphics, videos, and pictures. The CD-ROM will be available and will be tested by students registered in the tropical horticulture class in Louisiana State Univ. and will also be translated to Spanish.

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