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Alicain S. Carlson and John M. Dole

The effects of various postharvest treatments on cut stems of ‘Coral’ and ‘Sparkling Burgundy’ pineapple lily (Eucomis sp.) were evaluated to determine best postharvest handling practices. The use of a commercial hydrator, holding solution, or both significantly reduced vase life for ‘Coral’; the deionized (DI) water control had the longest vase life. ‘Sparkling Burgundy’ vase life was significantly reduced to 29.9 days when both a commercial hydrator and holding solution were used as compared with 50.3 days when DI water was the hydrator used with the commercial holding solution. The use of a bulb-specific preservative reduced vase life of ‘Coral’ to 43.8 days, while the DI water control had a vase life of 66.4 days, and commercial holding solution was intermediate at 56.8 days. A 10% sucrose pulse reduced vase life to 46.9 days compared with the 0% sucrose control (58.9 days) and the 20% sucrose concentration (62.5 days), which were not significantly different. The use of floral foam and/or 2% or 4% sucrose concentrations plus isothiazolinone reduced vase life significantly to an average of 11.1 days. The vase life of stems cold stored at 2 °C for 1 week (37.7 days) was not significantly different from the unstored stems (43.0 days), while longer storage times up to 3 weeks significantly reduced vase life. The use of hydrating solution pretreatments before and holding solution treatments during 4 days of cold storage had no significant effect on vase life. ‘Sparkling Burgundy’ stems harvested with 100% of the florets open had the longest vase life of 51.2 days compared with 38.4 days when 1% of the florets were open. Vase life was unaffected by exogenous ethylene exposure up to 1 ppm for 16 hours. For best postharvest quality, ‘Coral’ and ‘Sparkling Burgundy’ pineapple lily should be harvested when at least 50% of the florets are open, held in plain water without preservatives, and stored for no more than 1 week (wet or dry) at 2 °C.

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John M. Dole, Janet C. Cole and Randall M. Smith

Poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima 'Gutbier V-14 Glory'), chrysanthemums (Dendranthema grandiflora 'Tara') and geraniums (Pelargonium xhortorum 'Orbit') were grown using various ratios of controlled release:constant liquid fertilization as a percentage of recommended rates (%CRF:%CLF). While plants grown under the 100:0 CRF:CLF regime produced significantly less nitrates, phosphates and total soluble salts in the leachate than 0:100 or 50:50 CRF:CLF, quality rating, plant diameter, and leaf, bract and flower dry weight of poinsettias and chrysanthemums were reduced. Geraniums grown under 100:0, 50:50 or 0:100 CRF:CLF regimes were similar in quality rating, height, diameter, dry weights and days to anthesis. Poinsettias and chrysanthemums grown under 50:50 CRF:CLF were similar in height, days to anthesis, plant diameter, flower and stem dry weights and quality rating but produced less nitrates, phosphates and total soluble salts in the leachate than plants grown under 0:100 CRF:CLF. However, chrysanthemums grown under 50:50 CRF:CLF had lower leaf and root dry weights and poinsettias had lower leaf and bract dry weights than under 0:100 CRF:CLF regime.

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Todd J. Cavins, John M. Dole and Vicki Stamback

Anemone (Anemone coronaria L.), snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus L.), larkspur [Consolida ambigua (L.) P.W. Ball & Heyw.], delphinium (Delphinium ×cultorum Voss.), sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.), lupine (Lupinus hartwegii Lindl.), stock [Matthiola incana (L.) R. Br.], and pansy (Viola ×wittrockiana Gams.) were grown in raised sandy loam ground beds in double-layered polyethylene-covered greenhouses which were either unheated (ambient) or had a 55 °F (13 °C) minimum night temperature in year 1 and 36 or 50 °F (2 or 10 °C) minimum night temperature in year 2. Results were species specific; however, the extreme low temperatures [21 °F (-6 °C)] in the unheated house limited delphinium and lupine production. The warmest greenhouses (55 and 50 °F) reduced production time for anemone, delphinium, larkspur, lupine (year 2), snapdragon (year 2),stock, and sunflower. The coolest greenhouses (unheated and 36 °F) increased stem lengths for anemone (year 2), delphinium, larkspur (year 1), lupine (year 2), snapdragon, stock, and sunflower. The coolest green-houses also yielded a profit or lower net loss for all species except delphinium, lupine, and snapdragon (year 2) for which profits were highest or net losses were lowest in the warmest greenhouses.

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Alicain S. Carlson, John M. Dole and Brian E. Whipker

Plant growth regulators (PGRs) are used to control excessive plant growth in potted crops to improve quality and compactness for shipping and display. Pineapple lily (Eucomis sp.), a recent introduction to the potted crop market, can have excessive foliage growth and inflorescence height making the use of PGRs desirable. Bulbs of ‘Leia’ pineapple lily were forced in the greenhouse and drenched at leaf whorl emergence with three PGRs at five different concentrations: 1) flurprimidol (0.25, 0.5, 1.0, 2.0, and 4.0 mg per 6.5-inch pot), 2) uniconazole (0.25, 0.5, 1.0, 2.0, and 4.0 mg/pot), or 3) paclobutrazol (0.5, 1.0, 2.0, 4.0 and 8.0 mg/pot) and an untreated control. As concentration increased, days to anthesis increased and foliage height decreased for each PGR. Paclobutrazol (4.0 and 8.0 mg/pot), uniconazole (4.0 mg/pot), and flurprimidol (2.0 and 4.0 mg/pot) treatments resulted in excessive stunting with none of the plants being marketable. Flurprimidol had the greatest influence on plant growth among all the PGRs. Acceptable concentrations for each PGR are paclobutrazol at 0.5 to 2.0 mg/pot, uniconazole at 0.25 to 2.0 mg/pot, and flurprimidol at 0.5 to 1.0 mg/pot based on percentage of marketable plants and foliage and inflorescence height suppression without excessively increasing the number of days to anthesis.

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John M. Dole, Zenaida Viloria, Frankie L. Fanelli and William Fonteno

Vase life of ‘Karma Thalia’ dahlia (Dahlia ×hybrida), ‘Lace Violet’ linaria (Linaria maroccana), ‘Sunrise’ lupine (Lupinus hartwegii ssp. cruickshankii), ‘Temptress’ poppy (Papaver nudicaule), ‘Indian Summer’ rudbeckia (Rudbeckia ×hybrida), ‘Jemmy Royal Purple’ trachelium (Trachelium caeruleum), and ‘Benary's Giant Scarlet’ and ‘Sun Gold’ zinnias (Zinnia elegans) was determined after being subjected to postharvest handling procedures. Cut dahlia, lupine, poppy, rudbeckia, trachelium, and ‘Sun Gold’ and ‘Benary's Giant Scarlet’ zinnia flowers could be held in unamended tap or deionized (DI) water with no effect on vase life. Vase life of linaria was longest when placed in DI water with 8-hydroxyquinoline citrate and a solution pH of 3.5. A vase solution of 2% sucrose without foam extended consumer vase lives for linaria, trachelium, and ‘Benary's Giant Scarlet’ zinnia. Floral foam or 2% or 4% sucrose had no effect on the consumer vase life of dahlia, lupine, rudbeckia, and poppy. Trachelium and rudbeckia did not tolerate a 20% sucrose treatment for 24 h, whereas linaria and ‘Benary's Giant Scarlet’ zinnia had a longer vase life with a 10% sucrose pulse than a water-only pulse. For trachelium, the longest (17.5 days) consumer vase life occurred when the Chrysal Professional 2 Processing solution (CP2) was used after pretreatment with DI water. Either of two commercial holding solutions, CP2 or Floralife Professional (FLP), similarly extended the vase life of linaria. The use of FLP or CP2 improved consumer vase life of dahlia, lupine, and poppy compared with DI water. Dahlia, trachelium, and zinnia flowers could not be cold stored at 2 °C. Lupine and poppy could be stored at 2 °C wet or dry for 2 weeks. Linaria and rudbeckia could be cold stored for 3 weeks. Lupine and trachelium were susceptible to 1 μL·L−1 exogenous ethylene, which induced floret abscission in lupine and stopped floret opening in trachelium. 1-Methylcyclopropene and silver thiosulfate similarly suppressed the ethylene effect. Cut linaria, zinnia, dahlia, rudbeckia, and poppy flowers were unaffected by exogenous ethylene.

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Iftikhar Ahmad, John M. Dole and Frank A. Blazich

Effects of harvest time (morning, noon, or afternoon) on water uptake, fresh weight changes, termination symptoms, leaf relative water content (LRWC), carbohydrate status, and vase life of cut ‘ABC Purple’ lisianthus (Eustoma grandiflorum Salisb.), ‘Double Eagle’ African Gold Coin Series marigold (Tagetes erecta L.), and ‘Deep Red’ Benary’s Giant Series zinnia (Zinnia elegans Jacq.) were studied. For stems of lisianthus harvested and then stored in the dark with the basal ends in water for 2 weeks at 3 ± 1 °C, those harvested at noon (1200 hr to 1300 hr) or in the afternoon (1700 hr to 1800 hr) had longer vase life compared with stems harvested in the morning (0700 hr to 0800 hr). However, stems of lisianthus evaluated without storage had no differences in vase life. Stems of marigold harvested in the afternoon had longer vase life than morning- or noon-harvested stems. Time of harvest had no effect on cut flower longevity of zinnia. However, vase life was considerably shorter for stems of all species when tested after 2 weeks storage compared with freshly harvested stems. Stems of zinnia harvested at noon had lower LRWC than morning- or afternoon-harvested stems. Marigold stems harvested in the afternoon and evaluated without storage had lowest LRWC on Day 7 of vase life. Harvest time or storage did not influence LRWC of lisianthus. Stems of marigold and lisianthus harvested at noon or in the afternoon had higher levels of carbohydrates compared with morning-harvested stems, whereas freshly harvested stems had higher concentrations of glucose and sucrose, which decreased during storage or the vase period. Sucrose concentrations varied more significantly among various tissues than other sugars presumably as a result of translocation during vase life. In summary, carbohydrate status of stems harvested at different times of the day varied greatly and affected postharvest longevity of cut marigold and lisianthus, but not zinnia.

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Ben A. Bergmann, John M. Dole and Ingram McCall

Increasing cut stem length and reducing crop production time are producers’ goals for numerous cut flower species. One or both of these aims was met in several field-grown cultivars through foliar application of gibberellic acid (GA3), but effectiveness varied by cultivar, application rate, and timing. Of the 13 cultivars tested, stem length was increased in nine cultivars [Toreador Red celosia (Celosia argentea), Camelot White foxglove (Digitalis purpurea), Imperial Giants Pink Perfection larkspur (Larkspur hybrids), Compliment mix lobelia (Lobelia hybrids), Nippon Taka ornamental pepper (Capsicum annuum), Amazon Neon Duo and Bouquet Purple sweet william (Dianthus hybrids), Summer Pastels yarrow (Achillea millefolium), and Benary’s Giant Scarlet zinnia (Zinnia elegans)], and time to harvest was decreased in four cultivars [High Tide White ageratum (Ageratum houstonianum), lobelia, ornamental pepper, and zinnia], when GA3 was applied as a foliar spray. Concentrations of 400, 800, and 1600 mg·L−1 GA3 were most effective. Application of GA3 resulted in malformed or smaller flowers or lighter green foliage in foxglove, lobelia, sweet william, and zinnia. In most cases, only one application was tested, and greatest response to GA3 was observed during 3–6 weeks post application. Gibberellic acid did not influence stem length in three cultivars [High Tide White ageratum, Aurora Deep Purple delphinium (Delphinium hybrids), and Column Lilac Lavender stock (Matthiola incana)], and decreased flower stem length in one cultivar (High Tide Blue ageratum). Four cultivars were identified as good candidates for further research given their promising responses to GA3 treatments.

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Michael D. Frost, Janet C. Cole and John M. Dole

Improving the quality of water released from containerized production nurseries and greenhouse operations is an increasing concern in many areas of the United States. The potential pollution threat to our ground and potable water reservoirs via the horticultural industry needs to receive attention from growers and researchers alike. `Orbit Red' geraniums were grown in 3:1 peat:perlite medium with microtube irrigation to study the effect of fertilizer source on geranium growth, micronutrient leaching, and nutrient distribution. Manufacturer's recommended rates of controlled-release (CRF) and water-soluble fertilizers (WSF) were used to fulfill the micronutrient requirement of the plants. Minimal differences in all growth parameters measured between WSF and CRF were determined. A greater percentage of Fe was leached from the WSF than CRF. In contrast, CRF had a greater percentage of Mn leached from the system than WRF during the experiment. Also, regardless of treatment, the upper and middle regions of the growing medium had a higher nutrient concentration than the lower region of medium.

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Laurence C. Pallez, John M. Dole and Brian E. Whipker

Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) has potential as a potted flowering plant due to short crop time, ease of propagation, and attractive flowers but postharvest life is short and plants can grow too tall. Days from sowing to anthesis differed significantly among six sunflower cultivars and ranged from 52 days for `Big Smile' to 86 days for `Elf' and `Pacino.' Height ranged from 6.0 inches (15.2 cm) for `Big Smile' to 14.9 inches (37.8 cm) for `Pacino', postproduction life ranged from 10 days for `Elf' and `Pacino' to 15 days for `Big Smile', and postproduction chlorosis ratings (1 to 5, with 5 the least) ranged from 5.0 for `Teddy Bear' to 4.4 for `Big Smile' after 5 days and 4.2 for `Teddy Bear' to 3.1 for `Sunspot' after 10 days. Promalin (a gibberellin and benzyladenine mixture) applied at 62.5 to 500 ppm (mg·L-1) was not commercially useful in extending postproduction life. Increasing pot size from 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) in diameter decreased postproduction life and plants in 5-inch-diameter (13 cm) pots were tallest. Pots with three plants flowered more quickly than those with one or five plants and pots with five plants had 1 day shorter postharvest life than those with one or three pots. All cultivars were facultative short-day plants, except for `Sundance Kid', which was day neutral. Storing potted sunflowers at 41 °F (5 °C) for 1 week did not reduce postproduction life, which was 11 to 12 d; however, 2 weeks of cold storage resulted in foliar damage. Three cultivars were found to be most suitable for pot production, `Elf', `Pacino' and `Teddy Bear', with one or three plants per 6-inch pot and sprayed with daminozide (B-Nine) at 8,000 ppm, or drenched with paclobutrazol (Bonzi) at 2 mg/pot (a.i.) (28,350 mg = 1.0 oz).

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Jaime K. Morvant, John M. Dole and Earl Allen

Pelargonium hortorum Bailey `Pinto Red' plants were grown with 220 mg·L−1 N (20N-4.4P-16.6K) using hand (HD), microtube (MT), ebb-and-flow (EF), and capillary mat (CM) irrigation systems. At harvest, root balls were sliced into three equal regions: top, middle, and bottom. A negative correlation existed between root medium electrical conductivity (EC) and N concentration to root number such that the best root growth was obtained with low medium EC and N concentrations. EF root numbers were greatest in the middle region. The two subirrigation systems (EF and CM) had higher average root numbers than the two surface-irrigation systems (HD and MT). For all irrigation systems, root numbers were lowest in the top region. In general, less difference in medium soluble salt and N concentrations existed between regions for surface-irrigated than for subirrigated root balls. Soluble salt concentration was lowest in the bottom and middle regions of EF and the bottom region of MT and CM. For subirrigation, the highest medium soluble salt and N concentration was in the top region. For all systems, pH was lowest in the bottom region. Plant growth for all irrigation systems was similar. EF and MT systems required the least water and EF resulted in the least runoff volume.