One of the most important factors in the successful marketing of cut flowers and potted plants is the constant supply of top quality produce possessing a long shelf life. A variety of methods can be used to achieve this and include: hormonal treatments, agro-technical (by planting date, pruning, pinching), irrigation, fertilisation, controlling the light intensity and CO2 to increase photosynthesis, control of temperature, humidity and photoperiodic lighting. The definition of photoperiodism is the response of plants to the relative lengths of day and night. Interactions between these factors promote plant growth and flowering.
This article will concentrate on controlling flowering using photoperiodic lighting. It is known that growth and flowering can be controlled by controlling the day length. There are plants that need short days (SD) and long nights to flower, those that require long days (LD), and others that need a combination of LD and SD like Chrysanthemum or Aster (LSDP- long short day plants). Other plants require different day lengths for their different growth stages, long or short days for flower induction, initiation, differentiation, and anthesis. In some cases day lengthening allows vegetative growth for cut foliage production as in Cotinus. Artificial lighting with different kinds of light bulbs can lengthen the day.
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