A study was conducted in a plastic greenhouse at Freesia Ethiopia PLC Sululta located in the central highlands of Ethiopia with the objective of determining the effect of cultivar, planting density and their interaction effect with reference to yield and quality of Statice.The experiment was laid out in a 3 x 4 factorial arrangement using a Randomized Complete Block Design (RCBD) with three replications. The treatments consisted of three cultivars (‘Amazon Bird’, ‘Giant Blue Bird’ and ‘Yellow Sun Bird’) and four different planting densities (4, 6, 8, and 10 plants per m2). Data were collected on parameters pertaining to growth, yield and quality of Statice. The results of the study indicate a trend of rise in the number of marketable and unmarketable flowering stems per plot as the plant density increased from 4 to 10 plants per m2. Conversely, flowers’ vase life significantly (P<0.01) decreased when planted densely. In addition, the fresh weight of the marketable stems significantly (P<0.01) decreased as planting density increased. Among the cultivars, ‘Yellow Sun Bird’ was found to be more productive in terms of marketable stems followed by ‘Giant Blue Bird’ and ‘Amazon’. In terms of stem length, ‘Yellow Sun Bird’ was found to be higher but was not statistically different from ‘Giant Blue Bird’. With regards to vase life quality, the best result was obtained from ‘Amazon Bird’ cultivar. Overall, the study reveals that planting density and varietal differences had valid effects on the yield and quality of Statice. Cultivars ‘Giant Blue Bird’ and ‘Yellow Sun Bird’ had better performance in many of the parameters than the ‘Amazon Bird’ cultivar. The highest planting density (10 plants per m2) demonstrated a positive influence on most of the evaluated parameters and therefore can be recommended for use by commercial growers in Ethiopia. However, further investigation is imperative on issues pertaining to the determination of nutrient supply for regulating the fresh weight of the product and other economic related topics.
Key words: Statice, Limonium sinuatum, planting density, Cultivar
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