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Christopher B. Cerveny and William B. Miller

Ethylene effects were investigated on two tulip (Tulipa gesneriana L.) cultivars, Markant and Carreria. Pre-cooled bulbs were treated with ethylene (flow-through) for 1 week at 0, 0.1, 1.0, or 10 μL·L−1 (± 10%) in a modified hydroponic system. After ethylene exposure, plants were either destructively harvested for root measurements or forced in a greenhouse for flower measurements. Ethylene exposure at concentrations as low as 1 μL·L−1 during the first week of growth reduced shoot and root elongation and subsequently increased flower bud abortion. At 10 μL·L−1, root growth was essentially eliminated. In a second experiment, bulbs were treated overnight with 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) before a 7-day exposure to 1 μL·L−1 ethylene. 1-MCP pretreatment eliminated the harmful effects of ethylene on root and shoot growth. This study illustrates the effects of ethylene exposure during hydroponic tulip production and demonstrates a potential benefit to treating bulbs with 1-MCP before planting.

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Christopher B. Cerveny and James L. Gibson

Bougainvillea glabra is a tropical species with reportedly difficulty to propagate. Previous research has shown the importance of talc-based rooting hormones when propagating Bougainvillea, yet little has been published on the efficacy of liquid-based formulations. Therefore, our objective was to determine the optimum concentration of indolebutyric acid potassium salt (KIBA) needed to effectively root semi-hardwood stem cuttings of Bougainvillea `California Gold' and `Helen Johnson'. Sub-terminal cuttings measuring 6.5 cm were harvested from stock plants of Bougainvillea on 3-week intervals from 6 June to 8 Aug. and repeated 6 Sept. to 8 Nov. 2005. Cuttings were dipped 0.5 cm in a solution of 0, 1500, 3000, or 6000 mg·L-1 KIBA or in a 1500-mg·L-1 solution containing indolebutyric acid (IBA) 1%: napthaleneacetic acid (NAA) 0.5% and propagated under mist. Cuttings were evaluated for percent survival, rooting quality (1 = poor; 5 = best), and number of primary and lateral roots 5 weeks after planting (WAP). Differences in `California Gold' for percent survival, average rank, and number of roots were determined not significant at P ≤ 0.05. However, application of rooting hormone to `Helen Johnson' increased rooting quality, number of primary roots, and number of lateral roots by up to 24%, 53%, and 50%, respectively. Results indicated rooting performance was generally improved with application of KIBA; therefore, cuttings of Bougainvillea may benefit from a 1500-mg·L-1 solution. KIBA was also found to be as effective as the industry standard liquid formulation. Growers will have to consider the availability and cost of KIBA when propagating Bougainvillea.

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Christopher B. Cerveny, William B. Miller, and Alan G. Taylor

Ranunculus asiaticus (L.) is an ornamental geophyte with some commercial production challenges presumed to be related to the storage of its desiccation tolerant tuberous roots (TRs). We investigated the influence of temperature and relative humidity during storage on viability of R. asiaticus TRs. The TRs were stored in specialized chambers for controlling relative humidity under flow-through or closed systems. In the flow-through system, air was bubbled through glycerol–water solutions to create relative humidities of 20%, 40%, 60%, 80%, or 100% and then passed through storage chambers held at 5, 20, or 35 °C for up to 20 weeks. In closed storage, tissue was equilibrated to a given moisture content (fresh basis) at 15 °C by suspending TRs over glycerol–water solutions (35%, 60%, or 85% relative humidity) with fans to circulate air. These containers were closed for 4 weeks and then tissue was transferred to sealed jars for up to 17 weeks at 5 or 25 °C. In both systems, TRs held with elevated temperature and relative humidity had the largest decrease in percent survival when planted after storage. Flow-through storage gave greater variability in TRs moisture content than closed storage. Tuberous roots at 25 °C had higher respiration rates than at 5 °C under closed storage; elevated moisture content also led to increased respiration. From these results it can be concluded that R. asiaticus dry TRs should be stored cool and dry for long-term viability.

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Christopher B. Cerveny, James L. Gibson, and James E. Barrett

Orange Jasmine (Murraya paniculata L. Jack) and Texas Star [Tecoma stans (L.) Juss.] are two tropical ornamentals which have become popular in the specialty floriculture crop market because of their outstanding flower characteristics. Unfortunately they are difficult to root and little has been published on how to propagate them effectively. Therefore, the objective of our experiment was to determine the optimum physiological age of stem tissue necessary to effectively root 2-node stem cuttings. Forty-five cm shoots of Murraya were harvested on 27 June and 7 Sept. 2005, and divided into 2-node stem cuttings representing the top, middle, and bottom sections of the stem (soft-wood, semi-hardwood, and hardwood, respectively). Cuttings were measured for stem length and diameter, dipped in a 1,500 mg·L–1 solution containing indolebutyric acid (IBA) 1%: napthaleneacetic acid (NAA) 0.5%, and propagated under mist for 10 weeks in a 4 perlite: 1 vermiculite substrate (by volume). Tecoma followed a similar regime but were harvested once on 13 Sept. and evaluated 4 weeks after planting. Both species were evaluated for percent survival and rooting quality on a 1 to 5 scale; 1 = poor, 5 = best. Stem quality differences in Tecoma cuttings were shown, but did not influence rooting performance or percent survival. Murrayacuttings indicated a similar trend suggesting that age of tissue is not an important factor when propagating these species. However, when comparing the two harvest dates, data from Murraya cuttings showed an increase in survival from 79% and 95% and an increase in rooting quality from 2.72 to 4.26 when harvested in June compared to Sept., respectively. Cuttings harvested in Sept. were also shown to be 17% shorter with a 126% larger diameter than those harvested in June. These data suggest a trend toward a seasonal effect when harvesting cuttings of Murraya paniculatain Florida. Further studies should be conducted to verify this trend and to identify the ideal season for propagation.

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Christopher B. Cerveny, William B. Miller, Thomas Björkman, and Neil S. Mattson

The published literature is inconsistent with recommendations for hydrating Ranunculus asiaticus (L.) dried tuberous roots, a common practice in commercial production systems for this ornamental geophyte. Imbibition rate increased with hydration temperature but to lower equilibrium moisture content than when hydrated at cooler temperatures. In the greenhouse, survival was predicted to be greatest when tubers were hydrated at 20 °C. Plant height, visual quality, and foliar dry weight followed a similar trend 4 weeks after planting. These results demonstrate that a hydration temperature between 15 and 25 °C is required to obtain good quality when growing R. asiaticus from its dried tuberous roots.