One of the problems associated with preplant bulb dips into plant growth regulator (PGR) solutions is the lack of knowledge of solution efficacy as an increasing number of bulbs are treated. We evaluated the effectiveness (“longevity”) of paclobutrazol (Bonzi) and uniconazole (Sumagic) solutions repeatedly used to dip hybrid lily (Lilium sp.) bulbs. Experiments were conducted over a 2-year period, using sequential 1-minute dips into paclobutrazol (100 or 200 mg·L–1) or uniconazole (2.5 mg·L–1). No difference in plant height occurred as the number of bulbs dipped into PGR solutions increased to at least 55 bulbs per liter. This was true whether bulbs were washed (with tap water to remove soil particles attached to the bulbs) or unwashed prior to the PGR dip. These findings have an important impact on cost effectiveness of bulb dips, as the more times the solution can be used, the lower the cost. Washed bulbs were taller than unwashed bulbs due to lower PGR liquid uptake in washed bulbs (about 1 mL less per bulb) compared to the unwashed bulbs. These results indicate that the hydration condition of bulbs prior to dipping can affect the amount of PGR liquid uptake and therefore final plant height.
We evaluated preplant bulb dips in three commercial plant growth retardants [ancymidol (A-Rest), paclobutrazol (Bonzi), and uniconazole (Sumagic)] for height control in seven oriental hybrid lily (Lilium) cultivars (Aubade, Berlin, Casa Blanca, Muscadet, Sissi, Star Gazer, and Tom Pouce), and seven LA-hybrid lily [hybrids resulting from crosses between easter lily (Lilium longiflorum) and Asiatic hybrids] cultivars (Aladdin's Dazzle, Best Seller, Cebeco Dazzle, Royal Dream, Royal Parade, Royal Perfume, and Salmon Classic) grown in containers. A 1-min dip into a range of concentrations of each product was used to determine the optimum concentrations for height control. The results indicate that bulb dips, especially with uniconazole and paclobutrazol, can be a highly effective means of height control in hybrid lilies. Cultivars varied in their response to growth retardant treatments. In general, LA-hybrid lilies were much more responsive to the growth retardant treatments than oriental hybrids and required lower rates for comparable height control. Delays in flowering, increased bud abortion and leaf yellowing were observed only with high concentrations of uniconazole or paclobutrazol where the height reduction was also too excessive for a commercially acceptable crop.