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  Eur.J.Hortic.Sci. 80 (2) 56-61 | DOI: 10.17660/eJHS.2015/80.2.2
ISSN 1611-4426 print and 1611-4434 online | © ISHS 2015 | European Journal of Horticultural Science | Original article

Red light promotes compact growth of sunflowers

T. Schwend, D. Prucker and H. Mempel
University of Applied Sciences Weihenstephan-Triesdorf, Freising, Germany

SUMMARY
Light quality affects plant morphology. Hence, light quality is an important factor in the cultivation of ornamental plants. The recent advances in LED technology allow producers to adjust light quality to manipulate plant growth. For growers of ornamental plants the primary aim regarding plant morphology is to keep plants short and compact with attractive flowers. However, data on the effect of light quality on plant morphology are still sparse. This study provides data on the effect of different LED light regimes on height and fresh weight of shoot and flower, leaf area and compactness of the model plant Helianthus annuus. Regression analysis of these data shows that red light promotes compact growth.

Keywords growth retardation, photomorphogenesis, light emitting diodes, ornamental plants

Significance of this study

What is already known on this subject?

  • It has been shown previously that the ratio of blue to red and red to far-red light affects hypocotyl length. Much less is known about the effect of different light regimes on biomass distribution, a factor which affects the compactness of plants.
What are the new findings?
  • Our data show that the percentage of red light correlates with the ratio of weight/height of sunflowers. Therefore, sunflowers grown under red light appear more compact.
What is the expected impact on horticulture?
  • Chemical growth inhibitors are controversial. Hence new methods to promote compact growth are desired. Using red lighting to keep plants compact can be an interesting alternative.

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E-mail: heike.mempel@hswt.de  

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Received: 19 May 2014 | Revised: 19 December 2014 | Accepted: 3 March 2015 | Published: 22 April 2015 | Available online: 22 April 2015

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