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Amanda Bayer, John Ruter and Marc W. van Iersel

Controlling the elongation of ornamental plants is commonly needed for shipping and aesthetic purposes. Drought stress can be used to limit elongation, and is an environmentally friendly alternative to plant growth regulators (PGRs). However, growers can be reluctant to expose plants to drought stress because they do not want to negatively affect overall plant quality and marketability. Knowing how and when stem elongation is affected by water availability will help to increase our understanding of how elongation can be controlled without reducing plant quality. Rooted Hibiscus acetosella Welw. ex Hiern. cuttings were grown in a growth chamber set to a 12-hour photoperiod at 25 °C. Two plants of similar size were used for each replication of the study to compare growth under well-watered and drought-stressed conditions. Time lapse photography was used to determine the diurnal patterns of elongation over the course of the replications. Evapotranspiration was measured using load cells. Well-watered and drought-stressed plants had similar diurnal patterns of elongation and evapotranspiration, demonstrating that both follow circadian rhythms and are not just responding to environmental conditions. Stem elongation was greatest at night and coincided with evapotranspiration decreases, with greatest elongation shortly after the onset of darkness. Elongation was minimal between 800 and 1000 hr when evapotranspiration increases. During the drought-stress portion of the replications, elongation of drought-stressed plants was 44% less than well-watered plants. Final plant height and shoot dry weight for the drought-stressed plants were 21% and 30% less than well-watered plants, respectively. Total leaf area, number of leaves, and number of new visible internodes were greater for well-watered plants than drought-stressed plants. Average length of visible internodes and leaf size were similar for drought-stressed and well-watered plants. If growers want to use drought stress for elongation control, they should ensure that plants are drought stressed before the onset of and during the dark period, when most elongation occurs.

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Brian W. Trader, Hope A. Gruszewski, Holly L. Scoggins and Richard E. Veilleux

Coreopsis species (tickseed) can be regenerated from leaf segments allowing the possibility to exploit somaclonal variation as a means to develop novel phenotypes. We used true leaf explants from in vitro seedlings of perennial C. grandiflora (A. Gray) Sherff `Domino' and `Sunray' grown on Murashige and Skoog (MS) basal medium. Two of ten seedlings of `Domino' regenerated freely and others were generally recalcitrant. From these two seedlings, designated E2 and H2, shoots were regenerated and acclimatized to the greenhouse. About 175 plants were established and vernalized from which somaclones were selected based on distinct differences in flower orientation and appearance. The selected somaclones were propagated by division and transplanted to the field in August 2001 in a randomized complete block design with three-plant plots and three replications to determine whether novel characteristics persisted through an additional propagation cycle. In the field, plant height, leaf dimension, flowering, and flower dimensions were scored in June and July 2003. Differences were found between somaclones and similarly propagated E2 and H2 for desirable (more petals per flower, greater flowering, shorter plants), undesirable (less flowering, smaller flowers), and neutral (narrower leaves, taller plants) traits. Open-pollinated (OP) seed was collected and germinated and the seedlings from somaclones that differed significantly from E2 and H2 were evaluated. These maternally selected seedlings were overwintered then planted in the field in May 2004. Most traits that differentiated somaclones from E2 and H2 did not persist in the OP seedling population; however variation that was likely introduced through outcrossing resulted in desirable phenotypes with potential for new cultivar development.

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Garry Legnani and William B. Miller

Experiments were conducted to evaluate effects of photoperiod on growth and dry-weight partitioning in Dahlia sp. `Sunny Rose' during both seedling (plug) production and subsequent production in 10-cm pots. Plugs were grown under short days [9-hour natural photosynthetic photon flux (PPF)] or long days (same 9-hour PPF plus a 4-hour night interruption with incandescent light). Total plant dry weight was unaffected by photoperiod; however, long days (LD) inhibited tuberous root development and increased shoot dry weight, fibrous root dry weight, leaf area, shoot length, and number of leaf pairs. Long days reduced plug production time by ≈1 week compared with short days (SD). Following transplanting to 10-cm pots, shoot growth and foliar development were superior under LD. There was no effect of photoperiod on foliar N concentration. The superior growth of LD plugs following transplanting can be attributed to the plant being in a physiological state conducive to shoot expansion instead of storage.

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Gwendolyn H. Pemberton and A.A. De Hertogh

Dutch-grown `Deutschland', `Fanal', and `Rheinland' Astilbe, harvested 1 Nov. 1992 and shipped to the United States, were dissected to determine the stage of floral development after 0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, or 15 weeks of 2C storage. Astilbe crowns were also planted after 15 weeks of 2C storage and floral development was determined after 1, 2, or 3 weeks of greenhouse forcing. On arrival, multiflower inflorescences were clearly visible. A pattern of abortion and reinitiation occurred during 2C storage. Floral development was markedly repressed when ecodormancy was imposed, but development resumed during greenhouse forcing. During the observational period, floral organ numbers were variable, and morphological abnormalities were observed. In a second experiment, physiological maturity of the crowns was evaluated by harvesting crowns of `Bumalda', `Europa', `Federsee', and `Rheinland' on 15 Sept., 1 Oct., 15 Oct., 1 Nov., and 15 Nov. in The Netherlands. Optimal harvest period was from 1 Oct. to 1 Nov., depending on the cultivar. Crowns harvested before this period were physiologically immature. Crowns harvested during the 4-week window produced the highest overall plant quality and performed as physiologically mature crowns. Astilbe crowns harvested after the 4-week window produced plants with lower forcing qualities and were determined to be beyond the optimal physiological state for forcing.

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Kimberly A. Moore, Amy L. Shober, Gitta S. Hasing, Christine L. Wiese, Geoffrey C. Denny and Gary W. Knox

to nitrogen (N) fertilizer rate for landscape-grown plants in west-central Florida (U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zone 9b). Three herbaceous perennials [blanket flower ( Gaillardia pulchella ), goldenrod ( Solidago chapmanii ), and mondo

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Benjamin L. Campbell and Charles R. Hall

plant sales, wholesale sales, exports, and pre-committed sales) on total gross firm sales as well as gross sales associated with several plant categories (trees, roses, shrubs and azaleas, herbaceous perennials, bedding plants, foliage, and potted

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Kimberly A. Moore, Amy L. Shober, Gitta Hasing, Christine Wiese and Nancy G. West

acceptable growth and quality of landscape-grown plants was 4 to 6 lb /1000 ft 2 N for warm- and cool-season annuals ( Shurberg et al., 2012b ), and 2 to 4 lb /1000 ft 2 N for herbaceous perennials ( Shurberg et al., 2012a ), shrubs ( Shober et al., 2013

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Janelle E. Glady, N. Suzanne Lang and Erik S. Runkle

The management of herbaceous perennial species as stock plants for asexual propagation can be economically beneficial to commercial growers. Uniform vegetative growth and production of numerous shoots for cuttings are ideal qualities for stock

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Beth A. Fausey and Arthur C. Cameron

, the optimum was 3.8 to 6.0 °C, and the maximum was 15.7 °C. Many herbaceous perennials are known to have a cold-requirement for flowering, and knowledge of the specific temperatures and durations for vernalization is of special concern during