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  • Author or Editor: Donglin Zhang x
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Coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides) traditionally has been recommended as a shade plant, but many cultivars are also suitable for full sun. In regions of the country where light limits growth and photosynthesis, supplemental lights are used to increase daily light integral (DLI). Understanding the minimum DLI necessary to produce coleus would minimize supplemental lighting use, reducing costs and improving production sustainability. ‘Kong Red’ and ‘Wizard Coral Sunrise’ coleus were grown in a greenhouse under a 12-hour photoperiod and a mean DLI of 2.9, 3.8, 5.8, or 10.0 mol·m−2·d−1 to determine the lowest light level needed to produce high-quality plants. After 8 weeks, both cultivars had a 4.2-fold increase in shoot dry weight as DLI increased from 2.9 to 10.0 mol·m−2·d−1. Plants grown under 10.0 mol·m−2·d−1 were 22% to 25% taller and 18% to 21% wider compared with those grown under 2.9 mol·m−2·d−1. ‘Kong Red’ had 3.6 times as many branches and ‘Wizard Coral Sunrise’ had over twice as many branches when grown under 10.0 mol·m−2·d−1 compared with those grown under the lowest DLI. Leaf counts for both cultivars were 64% greater when grown under the highest DLI compared with those produced under the lowest DLI; leaf area for both cultivars was also positively correlated with DLI. Leaves of both cultivars had significantly more green area (i.e., less variegation) when grown under lower DLIs. Overall, both cultivars exhibited a more dense growth habit and greater degree of variegation when grown under the highest DLI. Therefore, we recommend growing ‘Kong Red’ and ‘Wizard Coral Sunrise’ coleus under a minimum DLI of 10.0 mol·m−2·d−1.

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