In protected cultivation of short-day (SD) plants, flowering can be inhibited by lighting from incandescent (INC) lamps during the night. INC lamps are being phased out of production and replaced by light-emitting diodes (LEDs), but an effective spectrum to control flowering has not been thoroughly examined. We quantified how the red [R (600 to 700 nm)] to far red [FR (700 to 800 nm)] ratio (R:FR) of photoperiodic lighting from LEDs influenced flowering and extension growth of SD plants. Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum ×morifolium), dahlia (Dahlia hortensis), and african marigold (Tagetes erecta) were grown at 20 °C under a 9-hour day with or without a 4-hour night interruption (NI) treatment by INC lamps or LEDs with seven different R:FR ranging from all R to all FR. Flowering in the most sensitive species, chrysanthemum, was not inhibited by an R:FR of 0.28 or lower, whereas an R:FR of 0.66 or above reduced flowering percentage. Flowering in dahlia was incomplete under the FR-only NI and under SDs, but time to flower was similar under the remaining NI treatments. The least sensitive species, african marigold, flowered under all treatments, but flowering was most rapid under the FR-only NI and under SDs. For all species, stem length increased quadratically as the R:FR of the NI increased, reaching a maximum at R:FR of ≈0.66. We conclude that in these SD plants, a moderate to high R:FR (0.66 or greater) is most effective at interrupting the long night, blue light is not needed to interrupt the night, and FR light alone does not regulate flowering.
A technology for long-day (LD) lighting was evaluated for commercial production of ornamentals using a stationary high-pressure sodium (HPS) lamp with an oscillating aluminum parabolic reflector (rotating HPS lamp). We performed an experiment with four LD species (Campanula carpatica Jacq., Coreopsis grandiflora Hogg ex Sweet, Petunia ×hybrida Vilm.-Andr., and Rudbeckia hirta L.) to compare the efficacy of a rotating HPS lamp in promoting flowering with night-interruption (NI) lighting using incandescent (INC) lamps. Seedlings were grown under natural short-day (SD) photoperiods (12 h or less) and NI treatments were delivered from a 600-W rotating HPS lamp mounted at one gable end of the greenhouse or from INC lamps that were illuminated continuously for 4 h or cyclically for 6 min every 30 min for 4 h. Plants were grown at lateral distances of 1, 4, 7, 10, or 13 m from the rotating HPS lamp, which provided a maximum photosynthetic photon flux of 25.4 μmol·m−2·s−1 (at 1 m) to 0.3 μmol·m−2·s−1 (at 13 m). Control plants were grown under an uninterrupted 15-h skotoperiod. Within 16 weeks, 80% or greater of the plants within each species that received NI lighting had a macroscopic visible flower bud or inflorescence, whereas all species but Petunia ×hybrida remained vegetative under the SD. Flowering of all species grown at 13 m from the rotating HPS lamp was delayed by 14 to 31 d compared with those under continuous INC. The weekly operational costs to provide NI lighting to a 139-m2 greenhouse with one 600-W rotating HPS lamp or a standard cyclic INC lamp installation was estimated to be 80% to 83% lower compared with INC lighting for the entire 4-h NI. These results indicate that a rotating HPS lamp can be used to efficiently deliver LD lighting, but flowering time was delayed and flower number reduced in some species when the maximum NI light intensity was less than 2.4 μmol·m−2·s−1.
Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are of increasing interest in controlled environment plant production because of their increasing energy efficiency, long lifetime, and colors can be combined to elicit desirable plant responses. Red light (600–700 nm) is considered the most efficient wavelength for photosynthesis, but little research has compared growth responses under different wavelengths of red. We grew seedlings of impatiens (Impatiens walleriana), petunia (Petunia ×hybrida), tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), and marigold (Tagetes patula) or salvia (Salvia splendens) at 20 °C under six sole-source LED lighting treatments. In the first experiment, a photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) of 160 μmol·m−2·s–1 was provided for 18 h·d−1 by 10% blue (B; peak = 446 nm) and 10% green (G; peak = 516 nm) lights, with the remaining percentages consisting of orange (O; peak = 596 nm)–red (R; peak = 634 nm)–hyper red (HR; peak = 664 nm) of 20–30–30, 0–80–0, 0–60–20, 0–40–40, 0–20–60, and 0–0–80, respectively. There were no consistent effects of lighting treatment across species on any of the growth characteristics measured including leaf area, plant height, or shoot fresh weight. In a second experiment, seedlings were grown under two light intensities (low, 125 μmol·m−2·s–1 and high, 250 μmol·m−2·s–1) consisting of 10% B and 10% G light and the following percentages of R–HR: 0–80, 40–40, 80–0. Shoot fresh weight was similar in all light treatments, whereas shoot dry weight was often greater under the higher light intensity, especially under the 40–40 treatments. Leaf chlorophyll concentration under 40–40low, 80–0low, or both was often greater than that in plants under the high light treatments, indicating that plants acclimated to the lower light intensity to better use photons available for photosynthesis. We conclude that O, R, and HR light have generally similar effects on plant growth at the intensities tested when background G and B lights are provided and thus, selection of red LEDs for horticultural applications could be based on other factors such as economics and durability.
The photosynthetic daily light integral (DLI) dramatically increases during the spring when the majority of bedding plants are commercially produced. However, the effects of DLI on seedling growth and development have not been well characterized for most bedding plant species. Our objectives were to quantify the effects of DLI on growth and development of Celosia, Impatiens, Salvia, Tagetes, and Viola during the seedling stage and determine whether there were any residual effects of DLI on subsequent growth and development after transplant. Seedlings were grown in growth chambers for 18 to 26 days at 21 °C with a DLI ranging from 4.1 to 14.2 mol·m–2·d–1. Average seedling shoot dry weight per internode (a measure of quality) increased linearly 64%, 47%, 64%, and 68% within this DLI range in Celosia, Impatiens, Tagetes, and Viola, respectively. Seedlings were then transplanted to 10-cm containers and grown in a common environment (average daily temperature of 22 °C and DLI of 8.5 mol·m–2·d–1) to determine subsequent effects on plant growth and development. Flowering of Celosia, Impatiens, Salvia, Tagetes, and Viola occurred 10, 12, 11, 4, and 12 days earlier, respectively, when seedlings were previously grown under the highest DLI compared with the lowest. Except for Viola, earlier flowering corresponded with the development of fewer nodes below the first flower. Flower bud number and plant shoot dry weight at first flowering (plant quality parameters) decreased as the seedling DLI increased in all species except for flower number of Tagetes. Therefore, seedlings grown under a greater DLI flowered earlier, but plant quality at first flowering was generally reduced compared with that of seedlings grown under a lower DLI.
Miltoniopsis orchids have appealing potted-plant characteristics, including large, fragrant, and showy pansylike flowers that range from white and yellow to shades of red and purple. Scheduling orchid hybrids to flower on specific dates requires knowledge of how light and temperature regulate the flowering process. We performed experiments to determine whether a 9- or 16-h photoperiod [short day (SD) or long day (LD)] before vernalization and vernalization temperatures of 8, 11, 14, 17, 20, or 23 °C under SD or LD regulate flowering of potted Miltoniopsis orchids. Flowering of Miltoniopsis Augres `Trinity' was promoted most when plants were exposed to SD and then vernalized at 11 or 14 °C. Additional experiments were performed to determine how durations of prevernalization SD and vernalization at 14 °C influenced flowering of Miltoniopsis Augres `Trinity' and Eastern Bay `Russian'. Plants were placed under SD or LD at 20 °C for 0, 4, 8, 12, or 16 weeks and then transferred to 14 °C under SD for 8 weeks. Another set of plants was placed under SD or LD at 20 °C for 8 weeks and then transferred to 14 °C with SD for 0, 3, 6, 9, or 12 weeks. After treatments, plants were grown in a common environment at 20 °C with LD. Flowering of Miltoniopsis Augres `Trinity' was most complete and uniform (≥90%) when plants were exposed to SD for 4 or 8 weeks before 8 weeks of vernalization at 14 °C. Flowering percentage of Miltoniopsis Eastern Bay `Russian' was ≥80 regardless of prevernalization photoperiod or duration. This information could be used by greenhouse growers and orchid hobbyists to more reliably induce flowering of potted Miltoniopsis orchids.
Plant growth and architecture are regulated in part by light quality. We performed experiments to better understand how young plants acclimate to blue (B), green (G), and red (R) light and how those responses can be used to produce plants with desirable morphological characteristics. We grew seedlings of impatiens (Impatiens walleriana), salvia (Salvia splendens), petunia (Petunia ×hybrida), and tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) under six sole-source light-emitting diode (LED) treatments or one cool-white fluorescent treatment that each delivered a photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) of 160 µmol·m−2·s–1 for 18 h·d−1. Leaf number was similar among treatments, but plants grown under 25% or greater B light were 41% to 57% shorter than those under only R light. Plants under R light had 47% to 130% greater leaf area and 48% to 112% greater fresh shoot weight than plants grown under treatments with 25% or greater B. Plants grown under only R had a fresh shoot weight similar to that of those grown under fluorescent light for all species except tomato. In impatiens, flower bud number at harvest generally increased with B light, whereas in tomato, the number of leaflets with intumescences decreased with B light. This research discusses how light quality can be manipulated for desired growth characteristics of young plants, which is important in the production of specialty crops such as ornamentals, herbs, and microgreens.
Environments with a low red (R, 600 to 700 nm) to far-red (FR, 700 to 800 nm) ratio (e.g., with high plant density) promote stem elongation, and a high R: FR suppresses it. While FR light promotes stem extension, it is also required for rapid, uniform flowering of many long-day plants. We investigated how a new FR filter [creating a FR-deficient (FRd) environment] influenced plug growth and subsequent flowering of pansy (Viola ×wittrockiana `Crystal Bowl Yellow'), petunia (Petunia ×hybrida `Carpet Pink'), impatiens (Impatiens wallerana `Accent Rose'), snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus `Liberty Scarlet'), and tomato (Solanum lycopersicon `Beefmaster'). One-week-old seedlings were placed under three filter treatments with 16-h photoperiods: the FRd filter, a neutral-density filter (N) that transmitted a similar PPF, and transferring plugs from the N to the FRd filter when leaves of each species began to touch (7 to 11 days later). The predicted phytochrome photoequilibria under the FRd and N filters was 0.80 and 0.72, respectively. After 25 to 35 days at 20 °C, node number and stem (or petiole for pansy) length were collected. Twenty plants of each species and filter treatment were then transferred to 4-inch pots and grown under natural photoperiods (14 to 15 h) at 20 °C until flowering. Compared to plants continually under the N filter, stem length under the FRd filter was significantly reduced in impatiens (by 11%), pansy (by 18%), petunia (by 34%), snapdragon (by 5%), and tomato (by 24%). Flowering of plants from plugs under the FRd filter was delayed by 2 to 3 days for snapdragon, petunia, and pansy. Filter treatment of plugs had no significant effect on flower number or plant height at flower.
For many plants, light quality has a pronounced effect on plant morphology; light with a low red (R, 600 to 700 nm) to far-red (FR, 700 to 800 nm) ratio promotes stem elongation and a high R: FR, or blue light (B, 400 to 500 nm), suppresses it. In addition, FR light is required for rapid flowering in some species, particularly for long-day plants. Our objective was to quantify how flexible spectral filters, which selectively reduce FR, B, or R, influence plant height and flowering of the quantitative long-day plants Pisum sativum L. `Utrillo' and Viola ×wittrockiana Gams. `Crystal Bowl Yellow'. Plants were grown at 20 °C with reduced FR, B, or R environments or with a neutral density control (C) filter. Calculated phytochrome photoequilebria were 0.78, 0.73, 0.71, or 0.46 for the altered FR, B, C, or R environments, respectively. All filter treatments transmitted a similar photosynthetic photon flux. Sixteen-hour photoperiods were created with natural daylight supplemented with high-pressure sodium lamps positioned above filters. Viola grown under the FR filter never reached 100% flowering within 8 weeks, and visible bud appearance was delayed by at least 17 days compared to all other filters. The R and B filters enhanced peduncle length by at least 25% compared to the C or FR filters. In Pisum, average internode length was 2.2, 2.9, 3.4, and 3.7 cm under the FR, C, B, and R filters, respectively, all statistically different. Fresh and dry shoot weights were similar under the C and FR filters but were at least 35% greater under the B filter and 35% lower under the R filter.
The vegetatively propagated `Fire Kiss' clone of the hybrid Zygopetalum Redvale orchid has appealing potted-plant characteristics, including fragrant flowers that are waxy lime-green and dark maroon with a broad, three-lobed, magenta and white labellum. We performed experiments to quantify how temperature influenced leaf unfolding and expansion, time from visible inflorescence to flower, and longevity of individual flowers and inflorescences. Plants were grown in controlled-environment chambers with constant temperature set points of 14, 17, 20, 23, 26, and 29 °C and an irradiance of 150 μmol·m-2·s-1 for 9 h·d-1. As actual temperature increased from 14 to 25 °C, the time to produce one leaf decreased from 46 to 19 days. Individual plants were also transferred from a greenhouse to the chambers on the date that an inflorescence was first visible or the first flower of an inflorescence opened. Time from visible inflorescence to open flower decreased from 73 days at 14 °C to 30 days at 26 °C. As temperature increased from 14 to 29 °C, flower and inflorescence longevity decreased from 37 and 38 days to 13 and 15 days, respectively. Data were converted to rates, and thermal time models were developed to predict time to flower and senescence at different temperatures. The base temperature was estimated at 6.2 °C for leaf unfolding, 3.5 °C for time to flower, and 3.7 °C for flower longevity. These models could be used by greenhouse growers to more accurately schedule Zygopetalum flowering crops for particular market dates.
Flowering potted orchids has become one of the largest segments of floriculture worldwide. Large-scale production of cuts or potted plants exists in China, Germany, Japan, The Netherlands, Taiwan, Thailand, and the United States. Despite the value of orchids, the flowering physiology of most orchid genera is not well described. Therefore, scheduling flowering crops for specific market dates (such as Easter or Mother's Day) is not possible for most genera. This paper summarizes world orchid production and reviews how environmental factors regulate growth and flowering of several commercially important orchid genera: Cattleya, Cymbidium, Dendrobium, Miltoniopsis, Phalaenopsis, and Zygopetalum. These genera primarily flower in response to relatively low temperatures, and, for some species and hybrids, flowering is promoted when the plants are also exposed to short photoperiods. Effects of light and temperature on growth and development are summarized for these genera, and implications for controlled production are discussed.