Aglaonema is considered one of the most chilling sensitive tropical ornamental foliage plants. However, information on resistance of the ever-increasing number of new cultivars to chilling temperatures is not available. In this study, the chilling response of 12 Aglaonema cultivars was evaluated after exposure to 1.7, 7.2, or 12.8C (35, 45, or 55F) for 24 hours. Results showed that a high degree of genetic variation existed among the cultivars. The cultivar ‘Silver Queen’ demonstrated the greatest sensitivity to chilling with 30% of leaves injured at 12.8C (55F). In contrast, three new cultivars, ‘Emerald Star’, ‘Stars’, and ‘Jewel of India’, were the most resistant, each showing no visible injury at 1.7C (35F). Data also indicated that chilling injury to young leaves was much less pronounced than in either mature or old leaves. Additionally, chilling sensitivity of the cultivars was reduced by pre-exposure to cooler temperatures that were slightly above the chilling range.

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Author notes

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station Journal Series No. R–08155. The authors would like to thank Dr. Richard C. Beeson, Jr. for helpful discussions and critical reading of this manuscript. Appreciation is also extended to Sunshine Foliage World, Zolfo Springs, FL, and Butler's Nursery, Miami, FL, for providing initial plant materials.

2Assistant Professor, to whom all correspondence should be directed.

3Professor Emeritus.

4Professor.

5Biological Scientists.