Effect of daminozide, paclobutrazol and chlormequat on development and quality of potted 'persian carpet' zinnia
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In Brazil zinnias have good prospect for the flowering potted plant market, once consumers demand for new forms of products is stimulated by novelty. 'Persian Carpet' is a highly ornamental plant, with fast growth, minimal labor requirements and low cost seeds. The present study evaluated the effect of growth regulators on development and quality of 'Persian Carpet' grown as a potted plant. Growth regulators are commonly used to control growth and produce short and compact plants. Paclobutrazol (0.5, 0.75 and 1.0 mg a.i./pot) and chlormequat (1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 g. L-1) were applied as a single drench, and daminozide (2.5, 3.75 and 5.0 g. L-1) as a single foliar spray to runoff. Regulators were applied at apical flower bud stage. Daminozide (5.0 g. L-1), paclobutrazol (0.5, 0.75 and 1.0 mg a.i./pot) and chlormequat (1.0 g. L-1) significantly reduced plant height and side branches length compared to the control. Plant height showed a negative linear response to the increasing concentration of daminozide or paclobutrazol. Paclobutrazol (1.0 mg a.i./pot) and chlormequat (1.0 g. L-1) increased foliage and flowers harvest index. Plant spread diameter and canopy shape were improved with paclobutrazol (0.75 mg a.i./pot). Chlormequat (2.0 and 3.0 g. L-1) caused phytotoxicity symptoms, turning plants unsuitable for commercialization. Studied regulators concentrations did not affect flower diameter and production cycle. Although regulators controlled height and side branches growth significantly, plants were not short and compact enough to attend market quality.