Far-red light filtering by plastic film, greenhouse-cladding materials: effects on growth and flowering in Petunia and Impatiens
Fletcher, J. M., Tatsiopoulou, A., Mpezamihigo, M., Carew, J. G., Henbest, R. G. C. and Hadley, P. (2005) Far-red light filtering by plastic film, greenhouse-cladding materials: effects on growth and flowering in Petunia and Impatiens. Journal of Horticultural Science & Biotechnology, 80 (3). pp. 303-306. ISSN 1462-0316
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Photoselective plastic films with low transmission to far-red (FR) light (700-800 nm) are now available so that plants grown in greenhouses clad with such plastics exhibit reduced stem extension and, consequently, plant height. Here we compare the action of three FR-absorbing polythene films on extension growth of Petunia (Petunia X hybrida) cv. 'Express Blue' and Impatiens walleriana cv. 'Accent Deep Pink' with plants grown under a control polythene film (standard UVI/EVA film). Half of the plants under the control film were treated with a chemical plant growth regulator (PGR; diaminozide, B-Nine) and half were sprayed with water alone. Possible negative effects of such film plastics on flowering, and on fresh and dry weight accumulation, were also quantified. Plants were harvested destructively when all plants in each treatment had reached the first open flower stage. In Petunia, plant height was reduced by all three FR-filtering films and by PGR-treatment. The FR-filtering films giving the highest R:FR ratios also reduced plant height in Impatiens. Leaf number, leaf area and total dry Weight in both species. were greatest in the controls and smallest under films with the lowest PAR transmission. The film giving the highest R:FR ratio and PAR transmission also produced the most compact Petunia plants;, while the film. with. the lowest PAR transmission produced the least compact plants in both species. There was no significant effect of treatments on time to first flower in Impatiens. However, Petunia plants under low PAR transmission films took longer to flower. Plastic-films which filter out FR light to increase the R:FR ratio, combined With high PAR transmission, can therefore be used as an alternative to conventional PGRs.