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  • Author or Editor: Yin-Tung Wang x
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Seedling transplants produced for early fall and spring establishment of commercial vegetable crops in the Texas Lower Rio Grande Valley rapidly develop excessive shoot growth if field plantings are delayed. Therefore, several varieties of pepper, watermelon, muskmelon, and tomato transplants were treated at the 2-3 leaf stage by foliar spray with 0, 4, 8, or 12 ppm of the triazole growth retardant, uniconazole. The seedlings were field transplanted 3 weeks later. Total heights taken at the time of transplanting indicated significant varietal differences in responses to the treatments. After 60 days in the field, one of the 5 pepper varieties continued to express retarded growth. However, the uniconazole treatment stimulated early fruiting in 2 of the varieties. Tomato seedlings appeared to overcome the stunting within the first 60 days after transplanting while muskmelon and watermelon remained slightly dwarfed. Additional data on total growth and yield in response to the growth retarding treatments will be presented for each of the vegetable varieties.

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Sphagnum moss has been used as the major substrate for cultivating Phalaenopsis spp. in China, Japan, and Taiwan. With a lengthened duration of cultivation, the pH of the moss gradually declines. It is not understood what causes this decline in substrate pH. Using the vegetatively propagated Phal. Sogo Yukidian ‘V3’, this study investigated if substrate, fertilization, light, and plant roots could be the cause of pH decline in the substrate. The results showed that, although increasing fertilizer concentration resulted in a low initial pH (pH measured by the pour-through technique at first fertilization), fertilization itself was not the primary cause of the long-term pH decline. Regardless of whether the sphagnum moss was fertilized, the pH of the substrate without plants increased as time progressed, whereas the pH of the substrate in which living Phalaenopsis plants were growing declined with time. Although the magnitude and course of pH decline were different in various substrates, the pH of sphagnum moss, artificial textile fiber, and pine bark substrates in which living plants were growing declined with time. Whether the substrate was exposed to light (clear pots) or not (opaque pots) had no effect on substrate pH, indicating that algae were not a factor in pH decline. Therefore, the roots of Phalaenopsis may be the major contributor to substrate pH decline during production.

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Hybrids of Dendrobium nobile Lindl. have high potential to become a high-value pot plant, but detailed research to support the development of commercial production protocols was lacking. A 3 × 5 factorial experiment was conducted to investigate the effects of nutrient termination date (1 Aug., 1 Sept., or 1 Oct.) and nutrient reapplication time (at the beginning or in the middle of cooling, immediately after or 2 weeks after the completion of cooling, or no nutrient reapplication) on growth and flower development of Dendrobium Sea Mary ‘Snow King,’ a D. nobile hybrid. Interaction between nutrient termination date and reapplication time on growth and flowering was nonsignificant for all variables measured, and reapplication time had only a minor effect on leaves remaining. Regardless of nutrient reapplication time, delaying nutrient termination date resulted in improved growth and flowering. Nutrient termination on 1 Oct. resulted in taller plants with more nodes, leaves remaining, flowering nodes, and total flowers as well as fewer aborted flowers than an earlier termination date. Nutrient supply until 1 Oct. did not lead to differences in time required for anthesis but extended the time needed to reach full flowering by 1.5 d. The results suggest that flower development benefited more from the nutrients that were accumulated in mature pseudobulbs before nutrient termination rather than from those being taken from the reapplied fertilizers. Only lateral buds protruding 2 mm or more from the pseudobulb surface showed differentiated floral structures when examined histologically. The buds, excised 4 weeks after cooling treatments began, showed that nutrient termination on 1 Aug. resulted in larger flower primordia than those ended on 1 Oct., indicating an earlier or faster flower differentiation with earlier nutrient termination. No aerial shoot formation or reversion of reproductive to vegetative buds arose as a result of either late nutrient termination or resumption of nutrient application.

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Case-cooled bulbs of Lilium longiflorum `Nellie White' were forced to flowering. When the tepals on the first primary flower bud split, plants were placed at 2 °C in the dark for 0, 4, or 21 days. After storage, plants were placed in a postharvest evaluation room with constant 21 °C and 18 μmol·m-2·-1 cool-white fluorescent light. Lower leaves, upper leaves, and tepals of the first primary flower from a concurrent set of plants were harvested for carbohydrate analysis using HPLC. Storage time did not affect carbohydrate levels in the lower leaf or tepal samples, but sucrose and starch levels decreased while glucose and fructose levels increased in the upper leaf tissue with increasing storage time. These changes were correlated with a decrease in postharvest longevity for the first four primary flowers. Longevity of the fifth primary flower and total postharvest life of the five primary flowers was unaffected by storage.

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Abstract

Pot-grown ‘Angie Physic’ hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis L.) plants at the tight bud and blooming stages were stored in darkness for 3, 6, or 9 days at 4.5, 10.0, 15.5, 21.0, 26.5, or 32.0C, and then placed in a greenhouse for 21 days. Plants showed the least amount of damage at 10.0 or 15.5C or when stored for 3 days. Plants stored at 10.0 or 15.5C had delayed flowering, larger and more flowers, less flower bud and leaf abscission, and a higher plant quality. Storage for 6 or 9 days resulted in plants with smaller and fewer flowers, greater bud and leaf abscission, less fresh weight, and a lower quality.

Open Access

Abstract

Flowering performance of crossandra, a potted flowering plant rising in popularity, is not always satisfactory under low interior light levels. However, research has not been conducted to determine the response of this species to low light levels and lighting duration. The response of plants to light conditions is variable. Aphelandra plants were taller but had suppressed flowering under low light (5).

Open Access

The effects of cooling temperature [constant (10, 13, 15, or 18 °C, or 15, 18, or 21 °C)] and duration (2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 weeks, or 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 weeks) at two separate locations (College Station and Weslaco, TX) on growth and flowering of Dendrobium Sea Mary ‘Snow King’, a Dendrobium nobile Lindl. hybrid, were investigated and the cooling requirement for flowering was quantified. Interactions between temperature and cooling duration were significant on time required to reach anthesis from either the beginning or completion of cooling, average flower number per flowering node, and percentage of nodes with aborted buds. Increasing cooling duration from 2 to 6 or 3 to 7 weeks resulted in less time to reach anthesis after the completion of cooling. However, the increased cooling durations extended the time needed for producing a flowering crop. Plants cooled at a relatively higher temperature among 10, 13, and 15 °C required less time to reach anthesis after the completion of cooling. Plants had more flowering nodes and total flowers when cooled at 10, 13, or 15 °C than at 18 °C in College Station or at 15 or 18 °C than at 21 °C in Weslaco. The results suggest that 3 weeks at 13 °C has saturated the cooling requirement, and 3 weeks at 13 or 15 °C is a recommended cooling treatment that saves production cost without retarding flower development.

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