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Jianjun Chen, Dennis B. McConnell, Cynthia A. Robinson, Russell D. Caldwell and Yingfeng Huang

Three composts, derived from municipal solid waste with biosolids, yard trimmings, and yard trimmings with biosolids, were mixed by volume with sphagnum peat and pine bark to formulate 12 substrates. After characterizing physical and chemical properties, the substrates, along with a control, were used for rooting single eye cuttings of pothos (Epipremnum aureum) and terminal cuttings of maranta (Maranta leuconeura) and schefflera (Schefflera arboricola) in enclosed polyethylene tents. All cuttings initiated roots with no significant difference in root numbers per cutting 14 days after sticking, but root lengths 21 days and root-ball coverage ratings 45 days after sticking were significantly affected by substrates. Five of 12 compost-formulated substrates resulted in root lengths of cuttings equal to or longer than the control. In addition to desirable physical properties such as bulk density, total porosity, and air space, common chemical characteristics of the five substrates included low concentration of mineral elements, initial electrical conductivity ≤3.0 dS·m-1 based on the pour through extraction method, and pH between 3.8 to 5.0. The five substrates were formulated by combining composted municipal solid waste with biosolids or yard trimmings with biosolids volumetrically at 20% or less or composted yard trimmings at 50% or less with equal volumes of sphagnum peat and pine bark.

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Jianjun Chen, Dennis B. McConnell, Richard J. Henny, Kelly Everitt and Russell D. Caldwell

Fire flash (Chlorophytum amaniense), a member of Liliaceae, is attracting considerable attention in the foliage plant industry as a new addition for interior plantscaping. Coral-colored petioles and midribs contrasting with dark green leaves make it a sought after specimen. Originally collected from rainforests of eastern Africa in 1902, it has remained largely obscure for a century. Recently, studies on fire flash's propagation, production, and interiorscape performance have been completed. This report presents relevant botanical information and the results of our 4-year evaluation of this plant. Fire flash can be propagated through seed, division, or tissue culture and produced as a potted foliage plant under light levels from 114 to 228 μmol·m–2·s–1 and temperatures from 18 to 32 °C. Finished plants after being placed in building interiors are able to maintain their aesthetic appearances under a light level as low as 8 μmol·m–2·s–1 for 8 months or longer.

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Jianjun Chen, Richard J. Henny, Pachanoor S. Devanand and Chih-Cheng T. Chao

Peace lily (Spathiphyllum Schott) is one of the most popular tropical ornamental foliage plants and is used worldwide for interiorscaping. However, little information is available on the genetic relationships of cultivars. Using amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) markers with near-infrared fluorescence-labeled primers, this study analyzed genetic relatedness of 63 commercial cultivars and breeding lines. Forty-eight EcoRI + 2/MseI + 3 primer set combinations were initially screened, from which six primer sets were selected and used in this investigation. All cultivars were clearly differentiated by their AFLP fingerprints, and the relationships were analyzed using the unweighted pair-group method of arithmetic average cluster analysis (UPGMA). The 63 cultivars were divided into four clusters. All commercial cultivars or breeding lines resulted from crosses of some of the cultivars, a total of 45, were positioned in cluster I with Jaccard's similarity coefficients between 0.61 and 0.88. There was only one cultivar in cluster II. Cluster III contained 16 cultivars; they are either species or breeding lines generated from interspecific hybridization. Cluster IV had one unknown species. This study provides genetic evidence as to why cultivars from cluster I and III are not readily crossable because the Jaccard's similarity coefficient between the two clusters was only 0.35. Results also indicate that commercial cultivars are genetically close. Strategies for increasing genetic diversity of cultivated peace lily should be sought for future breeding efforts.

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Jin Cui, Juanxu Liu, Min Deng, Jianjun Chen and Richard J. Henny

Syngonium podophyllum ‘White Butterfly’, one of the most popular ornamental foliage plants, is propagated almost exclusively through in vitro shoot culture. Ex vitro rooting, however, has been associated with severe Myrothecium leaf spot (Myrothecium roridum Tode ex Fr.). The objective of this study was to establish a method for regenerating well-rooted plantlets before ex vitro transplanting. Leaf and petiole explants were cultured on a Murashige and Skoog (MS) basal medium supplemented with N-(2-chloro-4-pyridyl)-N′-phenylurea (CPPU), N-phenyl-N′-1,2,3-thiadiazol-5-ylurea (TDZ), 6-benzyladenine (BA), or N-isopentenylaminopurine (2iP) with α-naphthalene acetic acid (NAA) and 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), respectively. Calli formed from leaf explants cultured on the basal medium supplemented with CPPU or TDZ with 2,4-D or with NAA as well as from petiole explants cultured on the medium supplemented with BA, CPPU, or TDZ with 2,4-D or NAA. The calli, however, failed to differentiate, and shoot organogenesis did not occur. Culture of nodal explants on the MS basal medium supplemented with 9.84 μm 2iP, 8.88 μm BA, 8.07 μm CPPU, or 9.08 μm TDZ with 2.26 μm 2,4-D resulted in the formation of protocorm-like bodies, adventitious shoots, and subsequently well-rooted plantlets. MS basal medium supplemented with 19.68 μm 2iP and 1.07 μm NAA resulted in the highest percentage (92.9%) of nodal explants producing protocorm-like bodies and an average of 16.9 well-rooted plantlets per nodal explant. Adventitious shoots were able to root in the initial induction medium, but better root development occurred after shoots with protocorm-like bodies were transferred onto MS basal medium supplemented with 9.84 μm 2iP and 2.69 μm NAA. Regenerated plantlets were stable and grew vigorously with 100% survival rates after ex vitro transplanting to a container substrate in a shaded greenhouse.

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Juanxu Liu, Min Deng, Richard J. Henny, Jianjun Chen and Jiahua Xie

This study established a method of regenerating Dracaena surculosa Lindl. ‘Florida Beauty’ through indirect shoot organogenesis. Bud, leaf, and stem explants were cultured on a Murashige and Skoog basal medium supplemented with N6-(2-isopentyl) adenine (2iP) at 12.3 and 24.6 μM with 3-indoleacetic acid (IAA) at 0, 1.1, and 2.3 μM, respectively, and 2iP at 36.9, 49.2, 61.5, and 73.8 μM with IAA at 1.1 and 2.3 μM, respectively. Calluses were induced from leaf explants but failed to produce adventitious shoots. Calluses were also induced from stem and bud explants cultured on the basal medium containing 12.3 μM 2iP and 2.3 μM IAA, 24.6 μM 2iP or higher with either 1.1 or 2.3 μM IAA. The highest callus induction frequency was 63.2% from stem explants and 69.6% from bud explants when they were cultured on the basal medium supplemented with 49.2 μM 2iP and 2.3 μM IAA. The highest shoot formation frequency was 65.7% from stem-derived callus cultured on the basal medium containing 61.5 μM 2iP and 1.1 μM IAA and 88% from bud-derived callus cultured with 49.2 μM 2iP and 1.1 μM IAA. The highest number of shoots per piece of stem- and bud-derived calluses was 3.8 and 6.7, respectively. Adventitious shoots developed better root systems in the basal medium supplemented with 2.0 μM IAA. Plantlets after transplantation into a soilless substrate grew vigorously in a shaded greenhouse under a maximum photosynthetic photon flux density of 300 μmol·m−2·s−1. Neither disease incidence nor somaclonal variants were observed in the regenerated population. This established method could be used for efficient micropropagation of D. surculosa, and the availability of tissue-cultured liners could reduce the dependency on imported cuttings, which often bring new or invasive pests into the United States.

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Amy L. Shober, Christine Wiese, Geoffrey C. Denny, Craig D. Stanley, Brent K. Harbaugh and Jianjun Chen

Recent concerns over the environmental impact of peat harvesting have led to restrictions on the production of peat in Florida and other areas. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the use of composted dairy manure solids as a substitute for sphagnum or reed-sedge peat in container substrates on the growth of Solenostemon scutellarioides L. Codd ‘Wizard Velvet’, Tagetes patula L. ‘Safari Queen’, and Begonia ×hybrida ‘Dragon Wing Red’ and to examine the nutrient content in leachate from pots. Plants were grown for 5 weeks in a greenhouse in 15-cm plastic pots with seven substrates containing various proportions of sphagnum peat (S) or reed-sedge peat (R) and composted dairy manure solids (C), each with 20% vermiculite and 20% perlite. Substrate composition had no effect on plant quality ratings, number of flowers, or root dry mass for any of the plant species evaluated. Substrate composition did not affect the growth index (GI) or shoot dry mass of S. scutellarioides ‘Wizard Velvet’ or the GI of T. patula ‘Safari Queen’. However, growth of B. ×hybrida ‘Dragon Wing Red’ (GI and shoot dry mass) and T. patula ‘Safari Queen’ (shoot dry mass only) was highest in the 3S:0R:0C substrate. The substrates containing sphagnum peat and/or composted dairy manure solids (3S:0R:0C, 2S:0R:1C and 1S:0R:2C) had the highest NH4-N losses through the first 7 d of production. The 0S:3R:0C substrate had the highest initial leachate NO3+NO2-N losses and this trend persisted throughout most of the production cycle. Significantly more dissolved reactive phosphorus was leached from substrate mixes containing composted dairy manure solids than mixes containing only sphagnum or reed-sedge peat materials through 19 d after planting. All substrates tested as part of this study appeared to be commercially acceptable for production of container-grown bedding plant species based on plant growth and quality. However, nutrient losses from the containers differed depending on the peat or peat substitute used to formulate the substrates.

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Kaitlyn M. McBride, Richard J. Henny, Terri A. Mellich and Jianjun Chen

Adenium obesum (Forssk.), Roem. & Schult. has been increasingly produced as a flowering potted plant; however, there is no information regarding its tissue mineral composition. This study evaluated plant performance of A. obesum ‘Red’ grown in two container sizes and under four rates of a controlled-release fertilizer. Nutrient concentrations in flowers, leaves, stems, and roots were analyzed. Results showed that canopy height and width, stem caliper, top and root dry weights, and average flower count of A. obesum ‘Red’ increased linearly with the increased rate of fertilizer regardless of pot size. Tissue analysis indicated that nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) concentrations were lower in all organs compared with those reported for other ornamental potted plants such as Bouvardia Salisb., Euphorbia L., Rhododendron L., and Rosa L. The lower levels of tissue N and P accompanied with higher dry matter accumulation suggest that A. obesum ‘Red’ is efficient in use of N and P. The low tissue K levels were largely attributed to sodium (Na) substitution for K. Leaf K and Na concentrations were almost equal except at the highest fertilizer treatment in 1.25-L pots and the last two higher treatments in 3.0-L pots. The levels of other mineral elements were comparable to those of other reported ornamental potted plants. To produce high-quality plants in 1.25-L pots, Adenium ‘Red’ should be fertilized with 1.08 g N per liter of potting mix. For plants grown in 3.0-L pots, N rates of 0.36 g or 0.72 g per liter of potting mix would be recommended with a preference for 0.36 g.

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Xiaoming Wang, Jianjun Chen, Huijie Zeng, Zhongquan Qiao, Yongxin Li, Neng Cai and Xiangying Wang

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Jianjun Chen, Xiaoming Wang, Neng Cai, Yongxin Li, Huijie Zeng and Zhongquan Qiao

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Xiaoming Wang, Jianjun Chen, Yongxin Li, Huijie Zeng, Neng Cai and Zhongquan Qiao