Elongation characteristics of each internode on a lateral shoot of poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima Klotz) `Annette Hegg Dark Red' were determined from pinching through anthesis for plants grown with 36 day/night temperature (DT/NT) combinations between 16 and 30C. The Richards function was used to describe the elongation of each internode. The first internode developing on a lateral shoot was longer and matured faster than subsequent internodes. The length of the first internode was a function of the difference between day and night temperatures (DIF = DT - NT). Subsequent internodes elongated uniformly in the absence of flower initiation. In the absence of flower initiation, the length of an internode, after the first, was a function of DIF. Internodes were shorter as proximity to the inflorescence increased. Internode length after the start of short days was a function of DIF and the visible bud index where visible bud index = [(days from pinching to the day an internode began to elongate - days from pinching to the day of the start of flower initiation)/the number of days from pinching to visible bud]. A poinsettia lateral shoot elongation model was developed based on the derived functions for internode elongation. The model predicted lateral shoot length within one standard deviation of the mean for plants grown in a separate validation study with 16 combinations of DT/NT. The model allows the prediction of lateral shoot length on any day from pinching through anthesis based on temperature, the number of nodes on the lateral shoot, the time each internode on the lateral shoot began elongating, and the visible bud index at the start of elongation of each node.
Lateral shoot growth and plant morphology of poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd.) were influenced by the pinching technique used for apical meristem removal. Plants were pinched in one of four ways: 1) soft (removal of the apical meristem plus stem and leaf tissue associated with leaves ≤2 cm long); 2) medium (removal of the apical meristem plus stem and leaf tissue associated with leaves up to 7 cm long); 3) hard (removal of the apical meristem plus stem and leaf tissue associated with all immature leaves); and 4) leaf removal (LR; soft pinch as defined above plus removal of all immature leaves but not the associated stem tissue). Initial growth of lateral shoots on soft and some medium-pinched plants was less than initial growth of lateral shoots on hard- or LR-pinched plants. Shorter lateral shoots and longer primary stems at anthesis on soft-pinched plants resulted in vertical plant architecture. Hard- and LR-pinched plants had a more horizontal plant architecture. The average height : width ratio of soft-, hard-, and LR-pinched plants at anthesis was 0.77, 0.68, and 0.63, respectively. Of 10 commercial cultivars tested in 1987, 48% of the inflorescences of soft-pinched plants developed below the bract canopy, compared with 27% and 31% for hard- and LR-pinched plants, respectively. These results show that the use of a soft pinch to increase inflorescence number in the bract canopy is not productive if immature leaves are left on the plant when pinching.
The effects of photosynthetic photon flux (PPF), day temperature (DT) and night temperature (NT) on leaf number, leaf unfolding rate and shoot length were determined for chrysanthemum (Dendranthema grandiflora Tzvelev. ‘Bright Golden Anne’) grown under short day (SD) conditions. A functional relationship was first developed to predict if flower bud appearance would occur within 100 SD under a given set of environmental conditions. All combinations of DT and NT in the range from 10° to 30°C were predicted to result in flower bud appearance at higher PPF than 10.8 mol·day−1·m−2. The number of leaves formed below the flower increased quadratically as DT and/or NT increased from 10° to 30°. As PPF increased from 1.8 to 21.6 mol·day−1·m−2, one to two fewer leaves were formed per shoot. Rate of leaf unfolding increased linearly with increasing average daily temperature from 0.2 leaves/day at 10° to 0.5 leaves/day at 30°. Internode length was highly correlated with the difference between DT and NT (DIF = DT – NT) such that increasing DIF from –12° to 12° resulted in progressively longer internodes.