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  • Author or Editor: Gary J. Wilfret x
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Intact tubers of Caladium cv. Florida Elise were soaked for 30 min in water at 24 or 50 °C in l998 and manually cut into cubes with 2-cm sides. Propagules were planted on 15-cm centers in raised sand beds covered with white plastic. Tubers were harvested in 6 months, air-dried, cleaned, weighed, and graded. Yield of No. 2 tubers (>1.9 <3.8 cm diam) was increased 31%, total tuber weight was 13% greater, and the production index was 13% larger due to hot-water treatment. No differences were determined for other tuber sizes. Tubers harvested from both treatments were soaked for 30 min in 1999 in water at 24 or 50 °C or in water at 24 or 50 °C that contained the fungicide Systec 85WDG [thiophanate methyl(dimethyl{(1,2-phenylene)-bis(iminocarbonothioyl)}bis{carbamate}] at 33.6 g/20 L. Tubers were cut and planted as in l998 and harvested in 2000. Tuber yields and production indices were greater in all hot-water treatments, but were not increased by fungicides alone. Yields from tubers that were not hot-water treated in l998 but were soaked in hot water in l999 were similar to those tubers that were hot-water-treated in both years. Fungicides did not have an additive effect when hot-water was used.

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Production of stock plants is essential for the asexual propagation of poinsettia, but variability exists among cultigens in the development of axillary shoots under high day/night temperatures of central Florida. Thirty-eight and 44 cultigens were grown during 1995 and 1996, respectively, and were evaluated for cutting production and subsequent growth of harvested cuttings. Plants were pruned twice prior to cutting harvest, with a projected cutting number of 21 in 1995 and 27 in 1996. Cuttings were graded into three groups based upon stem caliper and overall quality: #1, #2, and cull. Number of #1 cuttings/plant in 1995 ranged from 3.4 to 18.6, represented by `Cortez' and `Ball 838', respectively; a majority of the cultigens produced between 14 and 16 cuttings in the top grade. Number of usable (#1 and #2) cuttings ranged from 4.9 to 30.0, represented by `Cortez' and `Jolly Red', respectively, with a mean of 20.2. Stem caliper of cuttings measured 7 cm from terminal apex ranged from 0.55 cm of `Mikkel 520' to 0.91 cm of `Ball 838'. Cuttings of `Cortez' and `Red Splendor' had poor lateral development. During 1996, number of #1 cuttings ranged from 9.8 (`Picacho') to 22.2 (`Freedom'), with a mean of 16.6. Number of usable cuttings ranged from 14.2 to 31.9, represented by `Cortez' and `Spotlight Dark Red', with a mean of 25.3. Stem caliper ranged from 0.55 cm (`Ball 865') to 0.79 cm (`Supjibi'). Cuttings taken from plants of the `Cortez' series produced few, if any, laterals, while `Marblestar' and `Jolly Red' had up to 50% aborted axillary buds.

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The concept of periodicity in the frequency of dividing cells has previously been reported for certain plants. Lewis (5) found that in roots of onion bulbs (Allium cepa) grown under natural environmental conditions there was a peak in the frequency of dividing cells about midnight, with a slight rise at noon. In 1904 Kellicott (4), using diurnal light and temperature on onion bulbs, found two maxima, 11:00 P.M. and 1:00 P.M.

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Gladiolus flowers comprise an important part of the total cut flower industry in the United States, with a wholesale value of $17.1 million in 1979 (3). Of the 130 million spikes sold that year, 77 million were grown in Florida where the major production time is from October through May. A successful cut flower cultivar in Florida must be consistent in growth during continuous weekly plantings from August 15 through February, must producet all (≥ 110 cm) straight spikes with at least 14 floral buds per rachis, and must open from the “tight bud” stage following 2-3 days of cold storage (5°C). The cultivar also should be highly tolerant of major fungal diseases, especially Fusarium corm and root rots incited by Fusarium oxysporum Schlecht. f. sp. gladioli (Massey) Snyd. & Hans. (4).

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‘Dr. Magie,’ a gladiolus (Gladiolus × hortulanus L.H. Bailey) with salmon-pink florets, was released in 1983 by the Univ. of Florida. It combines good cut-flower characteristics, such as straight spikes, floral bud count of 18-20, and the tendency to open from the “tight-bud” stage, with tolerance to Fusarium oxysporum Schlect. f. sp. gladioli Snyd. & Hans. Fusarium, expressed as either a corm or root rot, is one of the major diseases of gladiolus grown in Florida and has led to the demise of many successful gladiolus cultivars, including ‘Picardy,’ ‘Spic & Span,’ and ‘Friendship’. ‘Dr. Magie’ performed well in the North American Gladiolus Council trial gardens, which included 8 locations in the United States and 2 in Canada.

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Two lance-leaf caladium cultivars are to be released from the ornamental breeding program at the University of Florida. `Red Ruffles', whose pedigree is Red Frill × (`Red Frill' × `Candidum Jr.'), has elongated medium red leaves with ruffled green margins. Plants are upright with strong petioles, have leaf blades 25 cm long and 14 cm wide, and attain a height of 61 cm when grown in full sun in the field. Plants have more leaves and are more cold tolerant than `Red Frill', the major red lance-leaf cultivar of commerce. Tuber yields of `Red Ruffles' are similar to `Red Frill' but less than `Rosalie', with production indices of 95.0, 97.8, and 121.0, respectively. Foliage of `Red Ruffles' is more upright and less likely to elongate under reduced light than the other cultivars. `Irish Lace', an F2 selection from a cross of “Candidum Jr.' × “Red Frill', has elongated dark green leaves with heavily ruffled margins, which are etched with a thin red border. Leaf blades are 26 cm long and 8 cm wide and have heavy substance. Plant height is 65 cm in the field. Tuber yields of `Irish Lace' are greater than `White Wing', a major green/white cultivar. Use of a green caladium would be as a border or a mixture with red or white lance-leaf cultivars.

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