Gladiolus tristis (ever-flowering gladiolus) was tested for its potential as a flowering potted plant, using the growth retardant paclobutrazol. The treatments included a control, 2, 4, 8 and 16 mg active ingredient (a.i.) per pot and were applied when the longest leaves reached 15 cm. All treatments reduced perpendicular leaf height. Inflorescence heights were significantly affected by paclobutrazol. The flower spikes of plants treated with 2, 4 and 8 mg a.i. per pot were only marginally shorter than the control, while the height of plants treated with 16 mg was significantly reduced. All plants reached first-flower anthesis within a month from 22 weeks after planting. Flowering was staggered throughout the month, from the control through to plants treated with 16 mg a.i., with the control flowering from 166 days after planting, gradually increasing to 178 for 2 mg, 181 for 4 mg, 183 for 8 mg, and 186 for 16 mg a.i./pot. The average number of flowers produced per pot significantly dropped with increasing strength of a.i. applied. The control produced an average of three flowers while plants treated with 16 mg a.i produced less than one.
Key words: Flower industry, flowering, growth retardant, leaf length, potted plants.
Abbreviations: a.i. = Active ingredient; paclobutrazol = (±) -(R*,R*)-b-[(4-chlorophenyl)methyl]-a-(1,1-dimethyl)-1H-1,2,4-triazole-1-ethanol.
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