Effects of Night-Interrupted Lighting on Growth and Flowering Duration of Herbaceous Perennials Grown Under Nursery Conditions in the Southern United States
Journal of environmental horticulture
Staggered starting dates for night-interrupted lighting (NIL) were evaluated for accelerated sequential flowering of herbaceous perennials with different photoperiod requirements outdoors in a southern nursery setting. Plants evaluated were black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida 'Goldsturm'), an obligate long-day (LD) plant; obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana 'Miss Manners'), a facultative LD plant; and Stokes' aster (Stokesia laevis 'Peachie's Pick'), a facultative intermediate-day plant.
... all species, the dates of first flower and maximum flower number occurred sooner under LDs from incandescent (INC) and fluorescent (FLU) lamps than under natural photoperiod (NP). Mean and maximum flower numbers were greater under NIL than under NP for black-eyed Susan and Stokes' aster but not for obedient plant. Time in flower increased in Stokes' aster, but either decreased or was not affected by NIL for black-eyed Susan and obedient plant. Flowering periods of black-eyed Susan and obedient plant exposed to different NIL timings overlapped extensively while leaving a gap in flowering between plants exposed to NIL and those under NP. This gap in flowering suggests that the intervals between NIL start dates could be longer to lessen the flowering overlap of plants under NIL, and that the interval between the start of the last NIL treatment and the onset of an inductive photoperiod be reduced to maintain sequential peak flowering until the natural flowering period. With Stokes' aster, flowering overlapped for plants in the different NIL timings and under NP, resulting in continuous sequential blooms from first flowering of plants under NIL until the plants' natural flowering period under NP in late May. Flowering periods of Stokes' aster exposed to NIL beginning on different dates overlapped extensively, suggesting that at least one NIL start date could be omitted and the intervals between the start of NIL increased without sacrificing continuous sequential peak flowering. NIL from INC and FLU lamps promoted growth in plant height compared to that of plants under NP, although the increase in plant height was less under FLU lamps.