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  • Author or Editor: Yin-Tung Wang x
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Cuttings of a thornless mutation of Rosa odorata (RO) and R. multiflora (RM) were rooted in Feb., budded with Rosa `Queen Elizabeth' on 21 Apr. 1987, and planted in 2.6- or 5.2-liter containers. Five weeks after budding, over 50% of the buds on the thornless RO had developed into shoots, while only 4% of the buds on the RM were growing. After an additional 10 weeks, 80% and 60% of the buds on the thornless RO and RM, respectively, had development into shoots. Six months after budding, plants in the 5.2-liter pots produced 1 to 2 folds more flowers than those in 2.6-liter pots. Plants from all four production treatments were planted in a field with alkaline soil on 3 Nov. 1987. During the next four years, plants on RM showed severe chlorosis and had 5% and 45% survival for those produced in 2.6- and 5.2-liter pots, respectively. Those on the thornless RO had 85% and 100% survival when produced in 2.6- and 5.2-liter pots, respectively after four years. Leaves of plants on the thornless RO rootstock had higher concentrations of chlorophyll than those on the RM. However, analyses of leaves did not reveal differences in elemental concentrations among treatments.

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On 6 Sept. 1996, container-grown vegetatively propagated Phalaenopsis Atien Kaala `TSC22' plants were harvested and individually weighed. The bare-root plants were packed in cartons with shredded newspaper and placed in incubators at 15, 20, 25, or 30°C air temperature. Control plants were undisturbed. After 4, 7, or 14 days, one-third of the plants were removed from each temperature treatment, weighed, planted in pots, and then placed in a greenhouse. Mass loss (primarily water) increased with increasing air temperature and duration in storage. Symptoms of chilling injury (yellow blotches on leaves) were inversely related to 15 and 20°C storage temperatures. Chilling injury became more severe as storage duration increased. Plants had little or no chilling injury at 25 and 30°C, regardless of storage duration. Leaf loss was most severe on plants stored at 15°C for 7 or 14 days or at 30°C for 14 days. Increased storage duration up to 14 days did not affect the time of spiking (appearance of the flowering shoot) for plants stored between 15 and 25°C. Those kept at 30°C, regardless of the duration, spiked 5 to 8 days after the control. The results suggest that vegetative Phalaenopsis plants harvested in late summer should be stored and shipped at 25°C. Under such conditions, plants could lose 20% of the fresh mass between harvesting and planting without adversely affecting subsequent performance.

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An experiment was initiated to determine the effect of a low N, high P and K fertilizer applied during the flowering season on a hybrid moth orchid (Phalaenopsis TAM Butterfly Blume.). On 1 Sept., plants of flowering size receiving N, P, and K at 100, 44, and 83 mg·L–1, respectively, from a 20N–8.8P–16.6K soluble fertilizer were given N, P, and K, at 30, 398, and 506 mg·L–1 (high P), respectively, at each or every fourth irrigation. Control plants continued to receive the 20N–8.8P–16.6K fertilizer. The high P treatments, regardless of the frequency of application, had no effect on the date of emergence of the flowering stem (spiking), anthesis, or flower size. All plants treated with the high P fertilizer had fewer flowers (15 to 19) than the controls (24 flowers). Continuous application of adequate N appears to be more important than low N and increased P for optimal flowering. In a separate experiment using the same hybrid orchid, terminating fertilization completely on 1 Sept., 29 Sept., or 27 Oct. or when the flowering stems were emerging (1 Oct.) reduced flower count (≤19 vs. 24). Flower longevity was reduced by 12 d when fertilization was terminated on 1 Sept. Flower size was unaffected by any treatment in either experiment. Discontinuing fertilization prior to late November reduced flower count. Withholding fertilization for extended periods resulted in red leaves, loss of the lower leaves, and limited production of new leaves.

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It was unknown how prolonged periods of cool days and warm nights affect Phalaenopsis Blume hybrids, which perform crassulacean acid metabolism and absorb CO2 primarily at night. The ‘Lava Glow’ plants vegetatively propagated from a hybrid Doritaenopsis (Phalaenopsis Buddha's Treasure × Doritis pulcherrima Lindley*), 15 cm in leaf span, were grown at day/night (12 hours each daily) temperatures of 30/25, 25/30, 25/20, or 20/25 °C under 170 μmol·m−2·s−1 PPF. After 37 weeks, plants at the higher average daily temperature of 27.5 °C (ADT, 30/25 and 25/30 °C) produced more leaves than the lower 22.5 °C ADT. Those grown at 30/25 °C had the largest leaf span and combined length of the new leaves. Plants at 30/25, 25/30, 25/20, or 20/25 °C had 5.0, 4.7, 3.6, and 2.8 new leaves that were 72, 61, 44, and 29 cm in total length, respectively. Warmer nights than days resulted in a small leaf span, reduced leaf growth, and shorter leaves that were particularly noticeable at the 22.5 °C compared with 27.5 °C ADT. Leaves that emerged and grew at the lower ADT had a reduced length to width ratio and a more oval shape. The most striking effect of the 20/25 °C treatment was that 14 of 15 plants bloomed, whereas only five plants at 25/20 °C and none at 30/25 or 25/30 °C produced flowers. Similar results were obtained in a second experiment using 30/20, 20/30, 25/15, or 15/25 °C. After 29 weeks, all plants at 15/25 °C bloomed, whereas none in the other treatments had flowers. Long-term exposure to 15/25 °C resulted in slow leaf production and undesirable small leaves. These results suggest that day and night temperature may both affect growth and flowering of this orchid.

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Bare-root, vegetatively propagated plants (average 15-cm leaf spread) of a white-flowered Phalaenopsis Taisuco Kochdian clone were imported in late May and planted either in a mix consisting of three parts medium-grade douglas fir bark and one part each of perlite and coarse canadian sphagnum peat (by volume) or in chilean sphagnum moss. All plants were given 200 mg·L−1 each of nitrogen and phosphorus, 100 mg·L−1 calcium, and 50 mg·L−1 magnesium at each irrigation with 0, 50, 100, 200, 300, 400, or 500 mg·L−1 potassium (K). After 8 months, K concentration did not alter the number of new leaves on plants in either medium. Plants grown in moss produced four to five leaves, whereas those planted in the bark mix produced only two to three leaves. K concentration did not affect the length of the uppermost mature leaves when grown in the bark mix. However, in moss, plants had increasingly longer and wider top leaves as K concentration increased. The lower leaves on plants in the bark mix lacking or receiving 50 mg·L−1 K showed symptoms of yellowing, irregular purple spots, and necrosis after spiking and flowering, respectively. Yellowing and necrosis started from the leaf tip or margin and progressed basipetally. Symptoms became more severe during flower stem development and flowering. All of the plants lacking K were dead by the end of flowering. Leaf death originated from the lowest leaf and advanced to the upper leaves. K at 50 mg·L−1 greatly reduced and 100 mg·L−1 completely alleviated the symptoms of K deficiency at the time of flowering. However, by the end of flowering, plants receiving 50 or 100 mg·L−1 K had yellowing on one or two lower leaves. Plants grown in moss and lacking K showed limited signs of K deficiency. All plants in the bark mix bloomed, whereas none in sphagnum moss receiving 0 mg·L−1 K produced flowers. For both media, as K concentration increased, flower count and diameter increased. Flower stems on plants in either medium became longer and thicker with increasing K concentration. To obtain top-quality Phalaenopsis with the greatest leaf length, highest flower count, largest flowers, and longest inflorescences, it is recommended that 300 mg·L−1 K be applied under high N and high P conditions regardless of the medium.

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This is the first report on how leaf harvest techniques and sulfur may affect leaf initiation and yield of Aloe barbadensis Miller (syn. Aloe vera L.). Two long-term experiments were conducted to determine the effects of supplemental mineral nutrients, severity of harvest, and sulfur application on leaf yield of this species. Plants were each grown in a 38-L pot with or without monthly applications of a 20N–8.6P–16.6K water-soluble fertilizer. In the first experiment, beginning in June 1994 (7 months after initiation), the lower leaves were harvested every 3 months with 12, 15, or 18 leaves remaining per plant. All plants were harvested to 12 leaves at the final harvest in Mar. 1997. Fertilized plants that were harvested to 12 leaves produced 81 leaves each during the 3-year period, whereas those harvested to 15 or 18 leaves each produced 76 leaves. In contrast, each of the nonfertilized plants produced 36 leaves. Fertilization tripled the cumulative weight of harvested leaves over a 3-year period. The initial quarterly and cumulative leaf weights were higher in plants harvested to 12 leaves than those harvested to 15 or 18 leaves. However, this difference diminished and disappeared over time. Fertilized plants harvested to 18 or 15 leaves yielded over 10.8 kg annually, whereas nonfertilized plants with 12 leaves produced an average of 3.5 kg leaves per plant. In the second experiment (with or without fertilizer and micronutrient and 0, 25, 50, or 100 g/pot of powdered sulfur per year), plants responded similarly to fertilization as they did in the first experiment. The added micronutrients (25 g/pot per year) had no effect on plant growth. The highest rate of sulfur resulted in few leaves being harvested and reduced cumulative leaf weight in fertilized plants, but did not affect the number of harvestable leaves or their total weight in nonfertilized plants. Soil pH declined from 7.6 to 4.6 as a result of fertilization regardless of the amount of sulfur being applied. In both experiments, plants that received fertilizer had slight cold injury on the abaxial side of some south-facing leaves. The results suggest the importance of fertilizer application to enhance leaf initiation rate. Plants should be harvested to leave no fewer than 15 leaves, preferably 18, on the plant to maintain high leaf yield.

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Young, bare-root plants (three leaves, 15 cm in leaf spread) from a vegetatively propagated clone of Phalaenopsis Blume x Taisuco Kochdian were imported in late May and planted in a mix consisting of three parts medium-grade Douglas fir bark and one part each of perlite and coarse peat (by volume) or in pure Chilean sphagnum moss. All plants were given 221 N, 124 P, 515 K, 100 Ca, and 50 Mg (all in mg·L−1) when being irrigated. The total N varied from 0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, to 100% NO3-N with the balance being NH4-N. Plants were fertigated when the substrate became dry. For both substrates, as the percentage of NO3-N increased, plants produced slightly fewer leaves. Regardless of the NO3-N to NH4-N ratio, plants grown in moss produced one extra leaf than those planted in the bark mix during an 8-month period. There was a tendency of increasing top leaf length and width as well as the whole-plant leaf spread as NO3-N increased from 0% to 100% in either substrate. Plants receiving 50% or more NO3-N in either substrate spiked and flowered 2 weeks earlier than those given 25% or 0% NO3-N. When grown in the bark mix, flower count, flower diameter, and inflorescence length all increased as NO3-N increased from 0% to 75%. Flower stem (inflorescence, 5 cm from the base) became progressively thicker as NO3-N increased from 0% to 100%. Only two among the 24 plants grown in moss and receiving 100% NH4-N bloomed. These results suggest that Phalaenopsis does not grow well with 100% NH4-N and must be provided with NO3-N at no less than 50%, preferably 75%, of the total N for improved growth and flowering.

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Bare-root Phalaenopsis Blume orchids are frequently shipped by air freight intercontinentally. It was not known how temperature and duration in shipping affect their subsequent performance during greenhouse production. On 15 Sept., container-grown plants of vegetatively propagated Phalaenopsis (Atien Kaala Group) ‘TSC 22’ were removed from pots and individually weighed immediately. These bare-root plants were packed in cartons with shredded newspaper and placed in growth chambers at 15, 20, 25, or 30 °C in darkness. After 4, 7, and 14 days, one-third of the plants were removed from each temperature treatment, weighed, planted in pots, and then placed in a greenhouse. Weight loss increased with increasing air temperature and duration in storage. Chilling injury (CI) was more severe at 15 °C than 20 °C storage temperature and was progressively more severe as storage duration increased from 4 to 14 days. Plants had no sign of CI at 25 °C or 30 °C regardless of storage duration. Leaf loss was most severe on plants stored at 15 °C for 7 days (three leaves) or 14 days (five leaves) or at 30 °C for 14 days (three leaves). Storing plants 14 days or less between 15 °C and 25 °C did not affect the time of spiking (emergence of the flowering shoot), but at 30 °C, spiking was delayed by 5 to 8 days regardless of the duration. Storage resulted in reduced flower count, but not flower size, regardless of temperature and duration. In a second experiment, potted Phalaenopsis plants of the same clone were thermal-acclimatized in growth chambers in mid-September for 10 days at 25 °C followed by another 10 days at 20 °C before being stored in pots or bare-root at 15 °C, 20 °C, 25 °C, or 30 °C for 10 days. Thermal acclimatizing at 25 °C and 20 °C reduced the severity of CI and leaf loss after being stored for 10 days at 15 °C either bare-root or in pots, but did not reduce leaf loss resulting from heat at 30 °C. Repotting or storing bare-root plants did not affect spiking or flowering date under otherwise similar conditions. Nondisturbed plants in pots stored at temperatures between 20 °C and 30 °C for 10 d had higher flower count as compared with bare-root plants that were similarly stored. Spiking of nonacclimatized, bare-root plants was delayed after 10 days at either storage temperature, whereas flowering was delayed by 15 °C and 30 °C only. Bare-root Phalaenopsis orchids should be shipped near 25 °C during the warm period of the year and between 25 °C and 15 °C in the late fall through early spring to avoid CI or heat stress.

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Most Phalaenopsis (the moth orchid) species and hybrids start to produce flowering shoots in the fall, bloom in January or February, and become limited in supply by April when market demand is strong. Means to defer the onset of flowering were studied. Starting 15 Sept. 1994, seedlings of 2-year-old hybrid Phalaenopsis TAM Butterfly were exposed to repeated cycles of 1 d darkness/1 d light (natural photoperiod, 1D/1L); 4 d darkness/3 d light (4D/3L); 7 d darkness/7 d light (7D/7L); and the natural photoperiod control (0D/7L). The dark treatments were achieved by covering plants with black fabric or by placing them in a dark cage. Treatments were terminated on 16 Dec., and all plants were exposed to the natural photoperiod. The control plants bloomed on 20 Jan. 1995, whereas the 4D/3L plants did not reach anthesis until 14 Apr., nearly 3 months later. Flowering of the 1D/1L and 7D/7L plants was also deferred until early April. Regardless of treatments, flower count and size were unaffected. In another experiment, beginning 15 Sept. 1995, 3-year-old plants were exposed to repeated weekly cycles of 2D/5L, 3D/4L, 4D/3L, or 5D/2L until 22 Jan. 1996. The nontreated control plants bloomed on 8 Feb. 1996, whereas the 5D/2L did not reach anthesis until 6 May. The 4D/3L treatment was not as effective as it was in 1994 and resulted in anthesis only 4 weeks after the control. In the last experiment, starting on 22 Jan. 1996, plants were removed at 2-week intervals from a 5D/2L treatment that was initiated on 15 Sept. 1995 and exposed to the natural photoperiod. Staggered anthesis was achieved. However, plants that bloomed in May and June had reduced flower count but not flower size.

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Results of a series of experiments showed that the ground, noncomposted woody stem core of kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus L.) can be used successfully as a container medium amendment for producing potted tropical foliage and woody nursery crops. The growth of Brassaia actinophylla Endl., Hibiscus rosa-sinensis L. `Jane Cowl', and Pittosporum tobira (Thunb.) Ait. `Wheeler's Dwarf' in 70% or 80% kenaf (by volume, the balance being peatmoss or perlite or vermiculite and other nutrients) was similar to or greater than growth in two popular commercial mixes. Undesirable shrinkage of certain kenaf-amended media during plant production was reduced greatly by mixing it with at least 30% peatmoss or by using a coarser kenaf grind. As the portion of peatmoss increased from 0% to 30%, noncapillary porosity and water-holding capacity per container increased. A medium consisting of 50% kenaf, 40% peatmoss, and 10% vermiculite held as much water as a commercial medium. However, plants in most kenaf-amended media required more-frequent irrigation than those in the commercial media.

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