Many cool season garden crops, including Viola × wittrockiana Gams. (pansy), exhibit reduced flowering outdoors during the warm summer months. Twelve pansy cultivars varying in summer garden performance were grown under either 20 ± 1.5 or 30 ± 1 °C (air temperature) to determine growth and flowering responses to prolonged high-temperature exposure and to identify selection criteria to screen pansies for flowering heat tolerance. Increasing temperature from 20 to 30 °C increased leaf number below the first flower on 'Crystal Bowl Primrose' and 'Skyline White' only. Flower bud number reduction at 30 °C versus 20 °C varied from 20% for 'Crystal Bowl Purple' to 77% for 'Majestic Giants Red and Yellow'. Flower diameter reduction at 30 °C versus 20 °C ranged from 14% for 'Skyline Beaconsfield' to 44% for 'Super Majestic Giants Ocean'. The percentage reduction in total color (flower number × estimated flower area) ranged from 60% for 'Crystal Bowl Primrose' to 88% for 'Majestic Giants Rose Shades'. Based on a weighted base selection index, 'Super Majestic Giants Canary' and 'Delta Yellow' were identified as the most heat-tolerant cultivars, while 'Super Majestic Giants Ocean' and 'Majestic Giants Rose Shades' were identified as the most heat-sensitive. In a second experiment, root and shoot dry mass were determined after 10, 20, or 30 d when grown at 20 or 30 °C. Relative growth rate and root:shoot ratio were also calculated. After 30 d, 'Crystal Bowl Primrose', 'Crystal Bowl Sky Blue' and 'Skyline White' relative growth rates were lower at 30 °C versus 20 °C. Root:shoot ratio on day 30 was lower at 30 °C compared to 20 °C for six cultivars, but similar across temperature for five cultivars and higher for 'Crystal Bowl Primrose'. Flower bud number at first flower was positively correlated with branch number, shoot dry mass at flowering, but not correlated with root dry mass at flowering, and negatively correlated with flower diameter and root:shoot ratio (either at flowering, or after 10, 20 or 30 d at 30 °C), suggesting that these traits may be useful when screening pansies for flowering heat tolerance.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors thank Sakata Seeds America, Inc. and Syngenta Seeds, Inc. for donating seeds. We would also like to thank the Floriculture Industry Research and Scholarship Trust (FIRST), the Fred C. Gloeckner Foundation, the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association, the Richard E. Widmer Teaching and Research Fund, the Minnesota Extension Service and the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station for financial support.
- Dry mass
- Flower initiation
- Flower number
- Flower size
- High-temperature tolerance