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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Poplarville, Mississippi » Southern Horticultural Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #170348


item Pounders Jr, Cecil

Submitted to: Journal of Environmental Horticulture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/30/2004
Publication Date: 3/1/2005
Citation: Pounders Jr, C.T., Nyochembeng, L. 2005. Evaluation of clones, container types and tissue culture media for production of calla lilies as a nursery crop. Journal of Environmental Horticulture. pgs. 42-46

Interpretive Summary: Production of traditional floricultural crops without cover may reduce production costs but exposes crops to seasonal fluctuations in rainfall and temperature which often dictates modifications in cultural regimes developed for greenhouse production. Studies revealed calla cultivars developed for dual culture as cut flowers or flowering pot plants generally had shorter flowering cycles than cultivars selected specifically for pot plant production. 'Pink Persuasion' and 'Garnet Glow' were determined to be the best cultivars evaluated in terms of flower production, duration of flowering cycle and disease resistance. Fiber and tall plastic containers generally did not improve production as compared to traditional pots used for woody ornamental production. Higher sugar levels during tissue culture increased yield of larger clean tubers for production. Quality flowering pot plants of calla can be produced outside in the spring in the lower South (Zone 8B) without additional modification of established greenhouse cultural regimens.

Technical Abstract: Studies were designed to determine if colored callas can be successfully grown as a spring color crop under field conditions in the South without substantial modification of greenhouse culture protocols and if yield of clean stock from tissue culture can be improved. Results indicate colored calla lily (Zantedeschia sp.) production in containers as an outside spring crop in hardiness Zone 8B can be successful without making significant modifications to either existing greenhouse production guidelines or the environment used for woody plant container culture. Neither fiber nor deeper containers improved overall calla performance over traditional plastic pots. 'Garnet Glow' and 'Pink Persuasion' produced the most blooms over 6 weeks of evaluation and would be better adapted for the spring color market than 'Florex Gold' or 'Mango' which bloomed heavily for only two weeks. The disease index developed for this study indicated 'Mango', 'Florex Gold', 'Rubylite Pink Ice' and 'Majestic Red' suffered the most tuber soft rot damage while 'Pink Persuasion', 'Garnet Glow' and 'Pot of Gold' had the least when using field grown tubers. Tissue culture propagation efficiency was improved by increasing sucrose levels in production media from 30 g/L up to 120 g/L thus lowering liner production costs for clean propagation stock. Proper cultivar selection and strict adherence to a disease control program, as in greenhouse production, allow production of high-quality colored callas in the South as an outside container crop for the spring color market.