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Brian Whipker and P. Allen Hammer

Mini-poinsettias are a popular form of potted plant, but there is a need to control plant height because tall growing cultivars are used. A study was conducted to determine the suitability of paclobutrazol to control height of mini-poinsettias. Cuttings of poinsettia cultivars Freedom and Red Sails were taken on 10 Sept. 1993 and rooted under mist. On 11 Oct. when short days began, plant height was measured and 4 plant growth regulator (PGR) treatments were applied as foliar sprays using a volume of 204 ml·m-2: paclobutrazol at 15, 30, 45 and 60 mg·liter-1, plus an untreated control. At anthesis, plant height (pot rim to top of plant) and bract diameter (measured in 2 directions and averaged) were measured. Data for plant height gain (PHG), the difference between plant height at anthesis and when PGRs were applied, and bract diameter were analyzed statistically.

PHG was significantly different at the cultivar × treatment interaction. For `Red Sails' all paclobutrazol treatments significantly retarded PHG, but there were no significant differences in PHG with increased rates of application. For `Freedom' only paclobuuazol rates at 30 and 45 mg·liter-1 significantly retarded PHG. Bract diameter was significantly different at paclobunazol rates 30 mg·liter-1 or greater, with diameter decreasing as the rate of PGR applied increased

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Brian Whipker and P. Allen Hammer

Acidification of the irrigation water with phosphoric acid is a common practice to avoid nutrient deficiencies/toxicities from alkaline root media. It has been suggested high phosphorus levels could cause phosphorus toxicity.

Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. cultivars Supjibi and Celebrate 2 cuttings were potted on June 6, 1991 in a root medium of peat, perlite and soil (40:40:20 by volume) amended with N, K, Ca and micro-nutrients, plus six phosphorus (0-40-0) rates of .89, 1.78, 3.55, 7.11, 10.67, and 14.22 kg/meter3. Foliar samples were analyzed for NH4, P, and K every two weeks after the start of short days. Root media samples were also collected and analyzed pH, SS and NO3, P, K and NH4. Bract diameter, bract edge burn, days to anthesis, and plant height were recorded at anthesis.

Media P levels increased as the phosphorus rate increased, but a significant treatment*harvest interaction for media P was observed. There was decreased bract size and increased incidences of bract edge burn as phosphorus rate increased. Root media P levels did not affect the levels of other nutrient elements in the foliar samples. No visual symptoms of phosphorus toxicity was observed except for bract edge burn at anthesis.

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Brian E. Whipker and Shravan Dasoju

Plant growth retardant (PGR) foliar spray treatments (mg•liter–1) of daminozide at 1000 to 16,000; paclobutrazol from 5 to 80; and uniconazole from 2 to 32 were applied to `Pacino' pot sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) to compare their effectiveness at chemical height control. When the first inflorescence opened, the number of days from seeding until flowering, total plant height measured from the pot rim to the top of the inflorescence, inflorescence diameter, and plant diameter were recorded. Total plant height, plant diameter, inflorescence diameter, and days until flowering were significant for the PGR treatment interaction. Marketable-sized plants grown in the 1.2-liter pots were produced with uniconazole concentrations between 16 and 32 mg•liter–1 or with daminozide concentrations between 4000 and 8000 mg•liter–1. Paclobutrazol foliar sprays up to 80 mg•liter–1 had little effect and higher concentrations or medium drench treatments should be considered.

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Brian E. Whipker and Ingram McCall

Plant growth retardant (PGR) foliar sprays of daminozide at 4,000 or 8,000 mg·L-1 (ppm) and paclobutrazol drenches of 2 or 4 mg a.i. per pot were applied to `Big Smile', `Pacino', `Sundance Kid', `Sunspot', and `Teddy Bear' pot sunflowers (Helianthus annuus L.) to compare their chemical height control. Plant height varied among the cultivars due to genetic variation. The percentage reduction in plant height from the untreated control only was significant at the PGR level, indicating similar responses of all five cultivars to each PGR rate. Paclobutrazol drenches at 2 mg and daminozide foliar sprays at 4,000 or 8,000 mg·L-1 reduced plant height by about 24% when compared to the control. Paclobutrazol drenches at 4 mg produced plants that were 33% shorter than the control. Plant diameter of `Big Smile', `Pacino', or `Sundance Kid' was unaffected by daminozide, whereas `Sunspot' plants were smaller than the controls. Paclobutrazol drenches at 2 or 4 mg decreased plant diameter for all cultivars except `Teddy Bear', with the reduction being greater as paclobutrazol drench rates increased. The number of inflorescence buds increased by ≥18% with the use of daminozide sprays, while paclobutrazol drenches at 2 or 4 mg had no effect when compared to the untreated control. Paclobutrazol drenches of 2 or 4 mg offer the economic advantage to growers of increased plant density on greenhouse benches, while plants treated with daminozide had an increased bud count but would require a greater amount of bench space.

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Brian E. Whipker and Shravan Dasoju

Plant growth retardant (PGR) foliar sprays (in mg·L−1) of daminozide at concentrations from 1,000 to 16,000; paclobutrazol from 5 to 80; and uniconazole from 2 to 32 were applied to `Pacino' potted sunflowers (Helianthus annuus L.) to compare their effectiveness at chemical height control. Plants were grown in 650-mL or 1.2-L pots. When the first inflorescence started to shed pollen, number of days from seeding until anthesis, total plant height measured from the pot rim to the top of the inflorescence, inflorescence diameter, and plant diameter were recorded. There was no significant difference in plant height between `Pacino' plants grown in 650-mL or 1.2-L pots. Total plant height, plant diameter, inflorescence diameter, and days until flowering were significant for the PGR treatment main effect. Marketable-sized plants grown in the 1.2-L pots were produced with uniconazole concentrations from 16 to 32 mg·L−1 or with daminozide concentrations from 4,000 to 8,000 mg·L−1. Paclobutrazol foliar sprays up to 80 mg·L−1 had little effect, and higher foliar spray concentrations or substrate drench treatments may be needed to effectively control height.

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Brian E. Whipker and P. Allen Hammer

Field studies were conducted on the potential of annual statice as an outdoor cut-flower crop for the Midwestern United States. Data was collected on seven cultivars in 1989 and 42 in 1990. In 1989, total fresh stem weight, stem count, and average stem weight differed significantly among cultivars. Yellow cultivars had more stems harvested than the rose, apricot, and blue cultivars, but stems of the yellow cultivars weighed less. The number of stems harvested over time tended to be concentrated in the first 8 weeks after flowering begins. In 1990, the average stem fresh weight was significantly different among the apricot, blue, and rose cultivars, but the number of stems harvested was significantly different only between the blue and rose cultivars.

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Brian E. Whipker and P. Allen Hammer

Chemical plant growth retardant (PGR) treatments (mg·liter–1) were applied as foliar sprays to three zonal geranium cultivars: chlormequat at 1500, applied two, three, and four times, a combination of chlormequat at 750 and daminozide at 1250, applied one and two times, and paclobutrazol applied once at 5, 10, 20, and 30; twice at 5, 10, and 15; and three times at 5, plus an untreated control. Two paclobutrazol drench treatments at 0.1 and 0.25 mg a.i. per pot were also applied. The results of the PGR applications were significant at the cultivar × treatment interaction for leaf canopy height and plant diameter. Paclobutrazol rates of 10 to 15 mg·liter–1 resulted in acceptable height control for `Medallion Dark Red' and `Aurora'. `Pink Satisfaction' is a less vigorous cultivar and lower paclobutrazol rates of 5 to 10 mg·liter–1 were more suitable. When the total concentration of the single and multiple applications were compared, no additional height control was realized with the multiple applications of paclobutrazol.

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Brian E. Whipker and P. Allen Hammer

Eight poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima Wind.) cultivars (`Angelika White', `Celebrate 2', `Dark Red Hegg', `Jingle Bells 3', `Pink Peppermint', `Red Sails', `Supjibi', and `V-14 Glory') were grown in root medium amended with six triple superphosphate rates of 0.39,0.78, 1.55,3.11,4.66, and 6.21 kg P/m3. Root medium and foliar samples of `Supjibi' and `Celebrate 2' were sampled every 4 weeks, starting with the beginning of short days. At flowering, all eight cultivars were measured for diameter of the two largest bracts, number of bracts with burn, and plant height. Foliar P levels increased over the growing season for `Supjibi' with a reading of 0.9% at anthesis, but for `Celebrate 2', levels peaked 4 weeks before anthesis (0.8%). At triple superphosphate rates > 3.11 kgP/m3, plant height decreased, and there was a significant cultivar × treatment interaction for descreased bract diameter. The eight cultivars exhibited varying degrees of susceptibilities to bract-edge burn as the amount of P applied to the root medium increased, with `Dark Red Hegg', `V-14 Glory', and `Red Sails' having the highest burn incidence.

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James L. Gibson and Brian E. Whipker

Twenty-six ornamental cabbage and kale (Brassica oleracea var. acephala L.) cultivars were transplanted into 20.8-cm (8-inch) pots in Fall 1998 to classify their foliage traits and determine their response to the plant growth regulator (PGR) daminozide. Daminozide foliar sprays were applied at 0, 2500, or 5000 mg·L–1 (ppm) 3 weeks after potting. Two cultivars treated with 2500 mg.L-1 and eight cultivars treated with 5000 mg·L–1 were significantly smaller in height when compared to the nontreated plants. Using the Range/lsd formula, the vigor of the cultivars was classified by height. Foliage characteristics were described and cultivars of ornamental cabbage, notched ornamental kale, and curly ornamental kale were selected based on the shortest number of days until a significant center color change and the largest center color diameter. In Fall 1999, recommended cultivars selected in 1998 were treated with daminozide at 5000 mg·L–1 or uniconazole at 5 mg·L–1 14 days after potting, plus a nontreated control. All cultivars responded similarly to the PGRs with greater control being observed with daminozide with a smaller plant height of 13% as compared to 6% for uniconazole. For effective height control, PGR applications to ornamental cabbage and kale should be applied 2 weeks after potting.

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Shravan K. Dasoju and Brian E. Whipker

Pot sunflowers (Helianthus annuus cv. `Pacino') were fertigated on ebband-fl ow benches with 100 or 200 mg·liter–1 of N to determine the influence of fertility level on plant growth and postharvest quality in interior conditions. The fertilization rates were held constant from potting until day 45, then the fertilization rates were continued, decreased, or ceased on day 45 and day 55, giving a combination of nine fertilization subtreatments. At bloom, the number of days from potting to flowering, plant height, plant diameter, flower diameter were recorded, and the root medium of five replicates per treatment were analyzed to determine the nutrient status. Five replicates of each treatments also were moved into interior conditions with artificial lighting and were graded 5, 10, and 15 days after moving to evaluate the postharvest quality. There was no significant difference among fertilizer treatments for the number of days to flower, plant height, or flower diameter. Plants fertilized with 100 mg·liter–1 N from potting until day 45, in combination with a ceasing of fertilization on day 55, had significantly better plant grades when compared to plants grown with 200 mg·liter–1 N. Plants fertigated with 100 mg·liter–1 N also had a longer postharvest life and the number of days before the flowers wilted were significantly longer. Good-quality plants with longer postharvest life were produced with 100 mg·liter–1 N and by terminating fertilization 55 days after potting.