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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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Amy Barker, Ingram McCall and Brian E. Whipker

Three plant growth regulators (PGRs) were applied as substrate drenches; paclobutrazol (1, 2, 4, or 8 mg/pot), flurprimidol (0.5, 1, 2, or 4 mg/pot), or ethephon (125, 250, 500, or 1000 mg·L−1), plus an untreated control, to determine the efficacy of controlling excessive growth of ‘Imperial Dark Blue’ plumbago (Plumbago auriculata). No delay in flowering occurred with any of the PGR drenches, as compared with the untreated control. Plumbagos were responsive to both paclobutrazol and flurprimidol drenches. Concentrations of paclobutrazol and flurprimidol ≥1 mg/pot resulted in shorter plant heights than the untreated control. For producers desiring a moderate to high degree of control, 1 mg/pot drenches of either PGR could be suitable. All flurprimidol and paclobutrazol concentrations greater than 1 mg/pot resulted in excessive stunting and should be avoided. All ethephon drench concentrations were more consistent in controlling diameter, and increasing branching and flowering than paclobutrazol or flurprimidol. Based on the results of this study, the growth suppression of ethephon drenches was gradual, limiting overdose risks. Although plant diameters were not as small as plants treated with paclobutrazol or flurprimidol, diameter control was still adequate, and plants treated with ethephon drenches had a higher aesthetic appeal due to a more full appearance and increased flowering. With the use of an ethephon drench at 125 to 250 mg·L−1, plumbago producers have another PGR available to control excessive stem elongation and improve the flowering of plumbago.

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Ben A. Bergmann, John M. Dole and Ingram McCall

Responses of 14 to 20 poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) cultivars were assessed following exposure to environmental stressors common in the crop’s postproduction supply chain and consumer environment: low light levels, low temperatures, and low substrate moisture. As indicated by number of days to unacceptable appearance, 14 cultivars tolerated three low light levels (10, 20, and 40 µmol·m–2·s–1) well, with all individuals of six of the cultivars exhibiting an acceptable appearance at 7 weeks when the experiment ended. An experiment with 20 cultivars showed them to be surprisingly tolerant of low temperatures for a short duration, with no differences found when averaging across cultivars among plants exposed to 2, 5, or 20 °C for 2 days. However, all cultivars exposed to 5 °C for 10 days performed poorly. Cultivars differed markedly in response to low substrate moisture, with frequency of unacceptable plants before 4 weeks across all treatments ranging from 0% to 87% among the 14 cultivars tested. Across 17 cultivars, acceptable plant appearance was extended from 23 days for plants that were never irrigated after 10 d in sleeves to 32 days for plants that received a single irrigation at unsleeving and not thereafter. The low temperatures and low substrate moisture experiments were conducted in 2 years, and years differed significantly for nearly all dependent variables assessed. The significant interaction between year and cultivar for all observed variables in those two experiments indicates the importance of conducting experiments such as these over 2 years or more. Potted plants of many of the poinsettia cultivars tested proved to be highly tolerant in terms of low light levels, low temperatures, and low substrate moisture. Three cultivars appeared to be most tolerant in two of the three experiments: Prestige Red (low light levels and low temperatures), Titan Red (low temperatures and low substrate moisture), and Whitestar (low light levels and low substrate moisture). Three cultivars were most tolerant to all three sources of postproduction plant stress: Christmas Day Red, Early Mars Red, and Titan White.

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Jared Barnes, Brian Whipker, Ingram McCall and Jonathan Frantz

To produce floriculture crops like mealy-cup sage (Salvia farinacea), growers must be equipped with cultural information including the ability to recognize and characterize nutrient disorders. ‘Evolution’ mealy-cup sage plants were grown in silica-sand culture to induce, describe, and photograph symptoms of nutritional disorders. Plants received a complete modified Hoagland's all-nitrate solution of (macronutrient concentrations in millimoles) 15 nitrate-nitrogen (N), 1.0 phosphorus (P), 6.0 potassium (K), 5.0 calcium (Ca), 2.0 magnesium (Mg), and 2.0 sulfur (S) plus (micronutrient concentrations in micromoles) 72 iron (Fe), 18 manganese (Mn), 3 copper (Cu), 3 zinc (Zn), 45 boron (B), and 0.1 molybdenum (Mo). Nutrient-deficient treatments were induced with a complete nutrient formula minus one of the nutrients. The B-toxicity treatment was induced by increasing the element 10-fold higher than the complete nutrient formula. Reagent-grade chemicals and deionized (DI) water of 18 million ohms per centimeter purity were used to formulate treatment solutions. We monitored plants daily to document and photograph sequential series of symptoms as they developed. Typical symptomology of nutrient disorders and corresponding tissue concentrations were determined. Out of 13 treatments, 12 exhibited symptomology; Mo was asymptomatic. Symptoms of N, P, S, Ca, and K deficiencies and B toxicity manifested early; therefore, these disorders may be more likely problems encountered by growers. Unique symptoms were observed on plants grown under N-, Cu-, and Zn-deficient conditions. Necrosis was a common symptom observed, but use of other diagnostic criteria about location on the plant and progression of the disorder can aid growers in diagnosing nutrient disorders of mealy-cup sage.

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Barbara A. Fair, Brian Whipker,, Ingram McCall and Wayne Buhler

Sages (Salvia sp.) have long been popular as summer annuals, culinary herbs, and landscape perennials. We selected ‘Hot Lips’ hybrid sage [Salvia ×microphylla (Salvia greggii × S. microphylla)], a recently introduced perennial sage, to assess efficacy of the growth regulator flurprimidol for controlling height. Substrate drenches of flurprimidol at 0, 0.25, 0.50, 1.0, 2, and 4 mg per pot were applied using 240 mL of solution per pot on 17 June 2010. Plant height was recorded at treatment, 27 days after treatment (DAT), and 48 DAT. Flurprimidol drench concentrations of 0.25 mg per pot and higher controlled plant height by 20% to 41% 27 DAT and by 26% to 50% 48 DAT. While all treatments at 48 DAT produced a significantly shorter plant, concentrations between 0.25 to 1 mg would provide growers options for controlling plant growth by 26% to 44%. Using concentrations over 1.0 mg did not produce any additional control of height in hybrid sage.

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Jared Barnes, Brian Whipker, Wayne Buhler and Ingram McCall

Experiments were conducted to evaluate the appropriate concentration of flurprimidol for ‘Orange Tiger’ tiger lily (Lilium lancifolium), the persistence of residual effects the following year with ‘Orange Tiger’, and differences in flurprimidol’s effect between tiger lily cultivars. In Expt. 1 flurprimidol was applied as a preplant bulb soak to determine its efficacy on height control of ‘Orange Tiger’ tiger lily. Bulbs were hydrated in 17 °C water for 1 h, allowed to drain 1 h, given 10 min soaks of 0, 5, 10, 20, 40, 80, and 160 mg·L−1 flurprimidol, and then allowed to drain for 1 h before potting. In Expt. 2 ‘Orange Tiger’ tiger lilies from Expt. 1 were then planted into outdoor beds to evaluate residual carryover effects of flurprimidol. Expt. 3 involved comparison trials of ‘Pink Tiger’, ‘White Tiger’, and ‘Yellow Tiger’ tiger lilies to determine if cultivars responded differently to flurprimidol drenches. Flurprimidol at 10 to 20 mg·L−1 effectively controlled stem elongation of ‘Orange Tiger’. No residual effect of flurprimidol on ‘Orange Tiger’ plant growth was observed a year after application. Optimal concentrations of flurprimidol for ‘Pink Tiger’ and ‘White Tiger’ were 2 to 5 mg·L−1 and for ‘Yellow Tiger’ 20 to 30 mg·L−1. Results showed that preplant bulb soaks prevented excessive height and provided plants that were more suitable in height for retail sales. Differential responses of ‘Pink Tiger’, ‘White Tiger’, and ‘Yellow Tiger’ tiger lilies to flurprimidol indicate that trials are required to customize optimal concentrations for other cultivars.

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Josh B. Henry, Ingram McCall, Brian Jackson and Brian E. Whipker

A series of experiments investigated the effects of increasing phosphate–phosphorus (P) concentrations on the growth and development of four horticultural species. In experiment 1, petunia [Petunia atkinsiana (Sweet) D. Don ex W.H. Baxter] plants were grown using eight P concentrations, and we found that the upper bound for plant growth was at 8.72–9.08 mg·L−1 P, whereas concentrations ≤2.5 mg·L−1 P caused P deficiency symptoms. Experiment 2 investigated P growth response in two cultivars each of New Guinea impatiens (Impatiens hawkeri W. Bull) and vinca [Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don]. Growth for these plants was maximized with 6.43–12.42 mg·L−1 P. In experiment 3, ornamental peppers (Capsicum annuum L. ‘Tango Red’) were given an initial concentration of P for 6 weeks and then switched to 0 mg·L−1 P to observe whether plants could be supplied with sufficient levels of P, and finished without P to keep them compact. Plants switched to restricted P began developing P deficiency symptoms within 3 weeks; however, restricting P successfully limited plant growth. These experiments indicated that current P fertilization regimens exceed the P requirements of these bedding plants, and depending on species, concentrations of 5–15 mg·L−1 P maximize growth.

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Brian E. Whipker, Ingram McCall and Brian A. Krug

Flurprimidol was applied as a foliar spray (12.5, 25.0, 37.5, 50.0, or 62.5 mg·L-1) or as a substrate drench (0.015, 0.03, 0.06, 0.12, or 0.24 mg/pot a.i.) to determine its efficacy on `Blue Champion' exacum (Exacum affine). Flurprimidol substrate drenches were more consistent in controlling plant growth than foliar sprays. Substrate drenches of 0.03 mg/pot a.i. or foliar sprays ≥50 mg·L-1 resulted in smaller plant heights and diameters than the untreated control. With the use of flurprimidol, exacum growers have another plant growth regulator (PGR) available to control excessive growth.

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Brian A. Krug, Brian E. Whipker and Ingram McCall

Eight experiments were conducted to develop height control protocols for greenhouse-forced hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis) bulbs. `Pink Pearl' hyacinth bulbs were treated with flurprimidol preplant bulb soaks to determine optimal timing of treatment, soak duration, quantity of bulbs that could be treated before the solution lost efficacy, bulb location of solution uptake, and if higher concentrations of flurprimidol can be used to overcome stretch that occurs with extended cold treatment. No difference in height control occurred when bulbs were soaked in flurprimidol the day of, 1 day before, or 7 days before potting; therefore, growers can treat bulbs up to 1 week before potting with no difference in height control. All preplant bulb soak durations of 1, 5, 10, 20, or 40 min controlled plant height. Any soak durations ≥1.3 min resulted in similar height control, which would provide growers with a flexible time frame of 2 to 40 min in which to soak the bulbs. When 1 L of 20 mg·L-1 flurprimidol solution was used repeatedly over 20 batches of five bulbs, solution efficacy was similar from the first batch to the last batch, indicating the soak solution of flurprimidol can be used repeatedly without loss of efficacy. Soak solution temperature was also tested to determine its effect on flurprimidol and paclobutrazol uptake. Temperature of the soak solution (8, 16, or 24 °C) had no effect on flurprimidol and only at a temperature of 8 °C was the efficacy of paclobutrazol lower. Postharvest heights of `Pink Pearl' hyacinths were similar whether only the top, bottom, or the entire bulb was soaked. Control provided by flurprimidol, paclobutrazol, or uniconazole preplant bulb soaks varied among the three hyacinth cultivars Delft Blue, Jan Bos, and Pink Pearl, so growers will have to conduct their own trials to determine optimal cultivar response to preplant bulb soaks. Also, `Pacino' sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) were treated with residual soak solution of flurprimidol to determine if substrate drenches could be used as a disposal method. Fresh and residual solutions of flurprimidol (1.18, 2.37, or 4.73 mg/pot a.i.) applied to `Pacino' sunflowers were similar in their efficacy of controlling height, which would enable growers to avoid disposal problems of residual soak solutions.

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Brian A. Krug, Brian E. Whipker and Ingram McCall

Flurprimidol preplant soaks, foliar sprays, and substrate drenches were compared to commercially recommended concentrations of uniconazole as a preplant bulb soak and a foliar spray for height control of `Star Gazer' oriental lily (Lilium hybrids). Foliar sprays of uniconazole at 10 mg·L–1 (ppm) did not control plant height and foliar sprays of flurprimidol concentrations ≥80 mg·L–1 provided only minimal height control. Substrate drenches of flurprimidol at 0.5 mg/pot a.i. (28,350 mg = 1 oz) controlled plant height, resulting in plants 45.3 cm (17.83 inches) tall, which were 24% shorter than the untreated control. Uniconazole preplant bulb soaks of 5 and 10 mg·L–1 controlled plant height, resulting in plants 41.8 cm (16.46 inches) and 37.8 cm (14.88 inches), respectively. Preplant bulb soaks of flurprimidol (25 to 400 mg·L–1) were applied and a concentration of 25 mg·L–1 resulted in plants 47.7 cm (18.78 inches) tall, which were 23% shorter than the untreated control. Flurprimidol substrate drenches and preplant bulb soaks at concentrations of 0.5 mg/pot a.i. and 25 mg·L–1, respectively, were effective in controlling height in `Star Gazer' lily. In Expt. 2, flurprimidol substrate drenches were applied as either a single or two split applications. A one-time flurprimidol substrate drench of 0.5 mg/pot a.i. provided similar control as two split applications of 0.25 mg/pot a.i.