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Chin-Mu Chen, Tzu-Yao Wei, and Der-Ming Yeh

Periwinkle [ Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don.], a member of the Apocynaceae family, is endemic to Madagascar. This plant species is known for its production of terpenoid indole alkaloids that may be used to treat cardiac diseases and certain tumors

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Paul A. Thomas and Joyce G. Latimer

Annual vinca [Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don] is intolerant of high fertility, cool temperatures, and wet soil conditions, making vinca difficult for growers to produce alongside other, more tolerant bedding plants. Our objective was to develop better recommendations for producers. Growth of `Grape Cooler' vinca was compared using different production inputs, including type of media (with or without bark), form of micronutrient source, and form of N. Optimal root and shoot dry weights occurred in peat-lite media with either sulfated or chelated micronutrients adjusted to pH 5.5. Root and shoot dry weights were greatest when high nitrate-N to ammonium-N ratio fertilizers were used. Root and shoot dry weights were negatively affected by high levels of ammonium-N in the fertilizer solution. Root development is the critical factor in the production of high-quality vinca. Our data suggest that root development may be optimized by using fertilizer products that have a high nitrate to ammoniacal nitrogen ratio. Micronutrients in the sulfate form also seem to enhance growth when medium pH is maintained near 5.5. Use of high-porosity, peat-based mixes appears to provide an optimal root growth environment.

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Andrea Swanberg and Wenhao Dai

Periwinkle ( Catharanthus roseus ), a member of the Apocynaceae family, is highly valued in the horticultural industry. A native to Madagascar, this herbaceous plant grows to ≈80 cm high and blooms continuously year-round with pink, purple, or

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Brent M. Chapman, James E. Barrett, and Terril A. Nell

Catharanthus roseus `Cooler Peppermint' were grown under four different watering regimes [well-watered (WW), wilt plus 1 day (W+1), wilt plus 3 days (W+3), and wilt plus 1 day during the last 2 weeks only (L W+1)] and two different light levels [1100 and 750 μmol·m–2·s–1]. Stress treatments affected finished plant size and leaf area as well as stomatal conductance, water potential and time to wilt during two dry-down periods imposed at the end of an 8-week production cycle. W+3 plants were 50% smaller with 50% less leaf area compared to WW plants. During the second dry-down period, WW plants in high light wilted in 2 days vs 4 days for the W+3 plants. Similarly, WW plants in low light wilted in 3 days vs 6 days for the W+3 plants. The W+3 plants maintained significantly higher water potentials and greater stomatal conductances than the other treatments throughout both dry-down periods.

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G.C. Elliott, R.J. McAvoy, and M. Abbott

Seedlings of Catharanthus roseus “Grape Cooler” was transplanted to cell packs of media: peat-vermiculite-perlite (MM220), peat-hydrophilic rockwool (ABS), and peat-hydrophobic rockwool (REP) and grown in subirrigation trays using 20N-4.4P-17K fertilizer at 50, 150 or 250 ppm N applied at each irrigation. Shoots of four plants in each of two replications were harvested 2, 3, 4 and 5 after transplant. Leaf samples from the third harvest were analyzed for essential elements. Electrical conductivity (EC) was measured in saturated media extracts at each harvest. Significant media by fertilizer interactions were obtained for fresh weight and leaf area at the final harvest. Greatest growth was obtained with 50 ppm N in ABS, but with 150 ppm N in MM 220 and REP. In tehse, growth was similar at 50 and 150 ppm N, but less growth REP than MM220 at 250 ppm. More growth was produced with ABS at 50 ppm N, but less at 150 or 250 ppm N. Leaf tissue N increased 38.5 to 54.5 mg g-1 dry wt. as fertilized increased 50 to 150 ppm, while other nutrients were not significantly affected. Media EC increased with time and fertilizer concentration, with EC in all media fertilized with 250 ppm N exceeding 4.5 dS m-1 at the final harvest.

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Chin-Mu Chen and Der-Ming Yeh

Periwinkle [ Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don.], a member of the Apocynaceae family, is endemic to Madagascar. This herbaceous plant grows to 80 cm high and blooms continuously year-round with pink, purple, or white flowers ( Hogan, 2003 ). A

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Jonathan M. Frantz

Two warm-season bedding plant species, zinnia (Zinnia elegans) and vinca (Catharanthus roseus), were used to determine if phosphorus (P) supply should be adjusted with light supply, and if deficiency and/or oversupply symptoms were apparent at different P rates when growth rates were altered by light levels. An additional goal was to determine the influence of P and light on overall P uptake efficiencies and water use efficiencies. Plants were grown in a greenhouse with or without shade over portions of the bench and supplied 0.1, 0.2, 0.5, 1, 2, or 4 mm P along with complete nutrient solution as needed with no leaching fraction. Optimum plant growth and flower development rate occurred at a P supply of 0.5 mm regardless of the light supply. Plant growth was greatly reduced by P supply below 0.5 mm regardless of shade conditions. Tissue P concentration was not influenced by light, but overall P content (mg P per plant) was higher when plants were grown without shading as a result of larger plants in higher light environments. The appearance or severity of deficiency symptoms also was not influenced by light. Water use efficiency was maximized when growth was not limited by P supply (at or above 0.5 mm). One hundred percent recovery of applied P was obtained at the 0.5 mm P supply in vinca, whereas recovery was less at the same P supply in zinnia. These results indicate no benefit for plant growth and flowering to P supply above 0.5 mm and illustrate how P content is demand-driven. However, there was no induction or delay of nutrient stress symptoms as a result of different plant growth rates in the different light differences environments.

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Grace M. Pietsch, William H. Carlson, Royal D. Heins, and James E. Faust

The effects of day and night temperatures (15 to 35C) and three irradiance levels [50% of ambient, ambient, and ambient plus 12 mol·m-2·day-1 of supplemental photosynthetic photon flux (PPF)] on development of Catharanthus roseus `Grape Cooler' were determined. Time to flower decreased by 30 days and leaf-pair unfolding rate (LUR) increased linearly as average daily temperature increased from 18 to 35C. Flower size was greatest when plants were grown at 25C. Supplemental light decreased days to flower and increased flower size. Flowering occurred when nine leaf pairs were present on the plant. Using the inverse of the LUR curve, i.e., days per leaf pair, the number of days to flower could be predicted at any time during plant development based on plant leaf number.

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Marc van Iersel

Uprooting and transplanting seedlings can cause root damage, which may reduce water and nutrient uptake. Initiation of new roots and rapid elongation of existing roots may help minimize the negative effects of transplant shock. In this study, seedlings with four true leaves were transplanted into diatomaceous earth and the plants were transferred to a growth chamber, where they were treated with NAA (0, 0.025, 0.25, and 2.5 mg·L-1; 36 mL/plant). The effects of drenches with various amounts of 1-naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA) on the posttransplant CO2 exchange rate of vinca [Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don] were quantified. Whole-plant CO2 exchange rate of the plants was measured once every 20 minutes for a 28 day period. Seedlings treated with 0.025 or 0.25 mg·L-1 recovered from transplant shock more quickly than plants in the 0 and 2.5 mg·L-1 treatments. Naphthaleneacetic acid drenches containing 0.025 or 0.25 mg·L-1 increased whole-plant net photosynthesis (Pnet) from 10 days, dark respiration (Rdark) from 12 days, and carbon use efficiency (CUE) from 11 days after transplanting until the end of the experiment. The increase in CUE seems to have been the result of the larger size of the plants in these two treatments, and thus an indirect effect of the NAA applications. These differences in CO2 metabolism among the treatments resulted in a 46% dry mass increase in the 0.025 mg·L-1 treatment compared to the control, but shoot-root ratio was not affected. The highest rate of NAA (2.5 mg·L-1) was slightly phytotoxic and reduced the growth rate of the plants.

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Glenn B. Fain and Charles H. Gilliam

The objective of this study was to evaluate the potential use of container substrates composed of whole pine trees. Three species [loblolly pine (Pinus taeda), slash pine (Pinus elliottii) and longleaf pine (Pinus palustris)] of 8–10 year old pine trees were harvested at ground level and the entire tree was chipped with a tree chipper. The chips from each tree species were then further processed with a hammer mill to pass a ½-inch screen. On 29 June 2005 these three substrates along with 100% pinebark were mixed with the addition per cubic yard of 9.49 kg·m–3 Polyon 18–6–12 (18N–2.6P–10K), 2.97 kg·m–3 dolomitic lime and 0.89 kg·m–3 Micromax. One gallon (3.8 L) containers were then filled and placed into full sun under overhead irrigation. Into these containers were planted 72 cell plugs of Catharanthus roseus`Little Blanche'. Data collected were pre-plant chemical and physical properties of substrates, as well as plant growth index (GI), plant top dry weight, root ratings, and plant tissue (leaves) nutrient analysis at 60 days after planting (DAP). The test was repeated on 27 Aug. 2005 with C. roseus Raspberry Red Cooler. Top dry weights were on average 15% greater for the 100% pinebark substrate over all others at 60 DAP. However there were non differences in plant GI for any substrate at 60 DAP. There were no differences in plant tissue macro nutrient content for any substrate. Tissue micronutrient content was similar and within ranges reported by Mills and Jones (1996, Plant Analysis Handbook II) with the exception of Manganese. Manganese was highest for slash and loblolly pine and well over reported ranges. There were no differences in root ratings. There were no differences in substrate physical properties between the three whole tree substrates. However the 100% pinebark substrate had on average 50% less air space and 25% greater water holding capacity than the other substrates. Physical properties of all substrates were within recommended ranges. Based on the results of this study substrates composed of whole pine trees have potential as an alternative sustainable source for a substrate used in producing short term nursery crops.