The effects of day temperature (DT), night temperature (NT), and night length (NL) were evaluated on the flowering responses of heat-tolerant and heat-sensitive poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. ex Klotzsch) cultivars Orion Red and Prestige Red, respectively. Plants were placed under 60 DT × NT × NL treatments that consisted of three DT (20, 24, 28 °C), four NT (16, 20, 24, 28 °C), and five NL for the first 17 days of the experiment. After 17 days, all plants were consolidated to one greenhouse with an inductive environment and the timing of the first color, visible bud, and anthesis were recorded. ‘Orion Red’ reached anthesis 8 to 10 days faster than ‘Prestige Red’ across all NLs; however, in both cultivars, days to anthesis decreased in a sigmoidal pattern as NL increased.
The relative rate of progress to anthesis (1/days to anthesis) under a 12-hour NL was approximately half that of plants grown at a 13- or 14-hour NL. At a 12-hour NL, the relative rate of progress to anthesis decreased linearly as DT increased for both cultivars. At 13- to 14-hour NL, DT had relatively little effect on the relative rate of progress to anthesis. Thus, high DT delayed flowering of both heat-tolerant and heat-sensitive cultivars when flower initiation occurred under NL, typical of naturally occurring NLs in September and early October (i.e., 12-hour NL), whereas high DT did not delay flowering for either cultivar under a 14-hour NL, which is typically provided under black cloth systems. In contrast, the flowering responses to NT were quite different for the two cultivars. The heat-tolerant cultivar showed relatively little change in the relative rate of progress to anthesis as NT increased from 16 to 28 °C within each NL treatment; however, the heat-sensitive cultivar displayed a large decrease in the relative rate progress to anthesis as NT increased from 20 to 28 °C within each NL treatment.
Although the delayed flowering that occurred at 28 °C and 14-hour NL was significant, the relative rate of progress to anthesis at this treatment was significantly higher than the 28 °C and 12-hour NL treatment. This suggests that artificially shortening NL to 14 hours with a black cloth system does not prevent heat delay of poinsettia, but it allows for more rapid flowering than if flower initiation took place under natural NL (≈12 hours). To summarize, high DT affected flowering when flower initiation took place at 12-hour NL for heat-tolerant and heat-sensitive poinsettia cultivars, whereas high NT uniquely delayed flowering of the heat-sensitive cultivar at NL from 12 to 14 hours.
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Alden, Michael & Faust, James. (2021). Unravelling the Role of Temperature and Photoperiod on Poinsettia Heat Delay. HortScience. 1-7. 10.21273/HORTSCI15874-21.