Submitted to: Helia
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/18/2008
Publication Date: 11/1/2008
Citation: Hu, J., Yue, B., Yuan, W., Vick, B.A. 2008. Growing sunflower plants from seed to seed in small pots in greenhouse. Helia. 31(48):119-126. Interpretive Summary: This paper reports a method of growing sunflower plants from seed to seed in small plastic pots (9.0 x 8.6 x 9.0 cm) filled with approximately a half liter of potting soil to increase greenhouse usage efficiency. In two consecutive experiments, sunflower plants in the small pots grew and developed normally and produced viable seeds. This method should be useful for generation advance of sunflower plants in the greenhouse for breeding and genetic studies.
Technical Abstract: This paper reports the results from two experiments growing sunflower plants from seed to seed in small pots to utilize greenhouse space efficiently. We used small plastic pots (9.0 x 8.6 x 9.0 cm) filled with approximately a half liter of potting soil in a temperature-controlled greenhouse with a light: dark cycle of 14:10 h. In the first experiment, 100 F2:5 plants were grown on a two-square-meter bench in the greenhouse during the winter of 2007. Ninety-eight of the 100 plants survived to maturity and produced an average of 62 viable seeds with a range of 36 to 102 seeds per plant. In comparison to the plants grown in the six-liter pots, we observed that all the plants grown in the small pots had a significant decrease in plant size such as height, head diameter, and number of seed per plant. The plants grown in the small pots averagely flowered 9 days later than those in the large pots. No significant difference was observed for germination rate between the seeds harvested from small and large pots. In the second experiment, two oilseed and two confection sunflower inbred lines were grown during the summer of 2007 to confirm the observations in the first experiment. The results were essentially the same as those observed in the first experiment. For number of seed produced per plant, an average of 13.0 to 42.2 seeds were obtained per head for each of the four lines grown in small pots, with no significant difference observed between oil and confection sunflower. Thus, our results suggest that it is possible to produce viable seeds from plants grown in small pots. This method should be useful for efficient line advancement in the greenhouse for breeding and genetic studies.