Conditioning treatments were evaluated for effects on growth of bedding plants during greenhouse production and carryover effects on plant performance in the landscape. Treatments included two fertilization regimes using a complete water soluble fertilizer applied three times/week at 500 ppm N, designated ‘high N’, or at 50 ppm N, designated the ‘low N’ treatment. Other treatments included: ebb and flow irrigation, drought stress for up to 2 h wilt/day, 5000 ppm B-Nine (daminozide), 45 ppm Bonzi (paclobutrazol; 180 ppm on columbine), and brushing (40 strokes twice daily). Unless otherwise noted all plants, including controls, were maintained well-irrigated and fertilized with 250 ppm N three times/week. Marigolds and New Guinea impatiens grown under low N during greenhouse production exhibited reduced plant height and width relative to control plants at 4 weeks after planting (WAP) in the landscape. Plant quality ratings of all species conditioned with low N were lower than those of controls 2 and 4 WAP. Plant height of New Guinea impatiens conditioned with high N was greater than that of controls 4 WAP in the landscape. Marigolds subjected to drought in the greenhouse were still shorter than controls 2 and 4 WAP. Persistent height reductions in the landscape in response to B-Nine were observed in ageratum 2 and 4 WAP and to Bonzi in New Guinea impatiens through 8 WAP. Brushing reduced the height of all species except ageratum in the greenhouse, but had no carryover effect on plant growth in the landscape. At 4 weeks after treatment, plant height of columbine treated with low or high N, drought, brushing, or B-Nine was reduced relative to controls, but all plants were similar in size in the landscape.
3Professor, Department of Entomology.