Special Issue "A New Decade of Horticultural and Medicinal Plants Cultivation"

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395). This special issue belongs to the section "Horticultural and Floricultural Crops".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 May 2022.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Matteo Caser
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences - Ornamental & Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, University of Turin, Largo Paolo Braccini, 2, 10095 Grugliasco (TO), Italy
Interests: ornamental plants; MAPs; plant physiology; abiotic stress; plant biochemistry; nutraceutical properties; secondary metabolites

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Horticultural businesses, comprising ornamental and medicinal plants, always seek new, innovative trends and niches that would guide the product sale increases. New and innovative cultivation techniques are always developed via academic research and experimental trials. This Special Issue aims to record the most recent and novel findings for the development of horticultural cultivation in the new decade (2020–2030), both in open-field and greenhouse, with particular interest in sustainable production, propagation, irrigation, fertilization, biostimulants application, substrate mixtures, weed management, and plant protection.

Contributions to this Special Issue may focus on but are not be limited to four major topics: (1) sustainable and environmental friendly horticultural production (e.g., low CO2 footprints, life cycle assessments, etc); (2) propagation of horticultural plants (e.g., bulbs, in vitro technologies, etc.), (3) innovative cultivation practices and techniques (e.g., soilless, biostimulants application, irrigation, fertilization, pest management, etc.), and (4) new species for exploitation by the horticultural industry (e.g., biofuels, bioenergy, etc.).

Dr. Matteo Caser
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Agronomy is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • horticulture
  • ornamental plants
  • medicinal plants
  • sustainable cultivation
  • soilles cultivation
  • open-field cultivation
  • plant propagation
  • irrigation
  • fertilization
  • biostimulants
  • LCA
  • greenhouse cultivation
  • yield
  • substrates

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

Article
Growth and Flowering Characteristics of Oncidium Gower Ramsey Varieties under Various Fertilizer Management Treatments in Response to Light Intensities
Agronomy 2021, 11(12), 2549; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy11122549 - 15 Dec 2021
Viewed by 387
Abstract
Oncidium are grown worldwide and play important economic roles. The objective of this study was to investigate the pseudobulb growth and flowering characteristics of the two Oncidesa Gower Ramsey cultivars, ‘Honey Angel (HA)’ and ‘Golden Star (GS)’, cultivated under 3 kinds of fertilizer [...] Read more.
Oncidium are grown worldwide and play important economic roles. The objective of this study was to investigate the pseudobulb growth and flowering characteristics of the two Oncidesa Gower Ramsey cultivars, ‘Honey Angel (HA)’ and ‘Golden Star (GS)’, cultivated under 3 kinds of fertilizer treatments in response to 40% light intensity (LI-40) and 30% light intensity (LI-30, as control) photosynthetic photon flux density over a 5-month period. The conventional-fertilizer (CF) treatment, as a control, consisted of a liquid manure solution of N:K = 1:1.12, mixed with 7.8% N, 0.8% P2O5, 0.3% K2O, and 57.3% of organic matter that was foliage-applied to plants twice weekly. The stage-fertilizer (SF) treatment consisted of N:P:K = 1:1:5 foliage-applied to plants in an unsheathing pseudobulb stage until reaching inflorescence, followed by N:P:K = 1:1:1 application until the end of the experiment. The fortnight-fertilizer (FF) treatment consisted of N:P:K = 1:1:5 and N:P:K = 1:1:1 with interval-rotate foliage-application to plants weekly until the end of the experiment. Pseudobulb length (PL), pseudobulb major axis (PW), and pseudobulb minor axis (PT), and inflorescence length (FL), number of pedicel (FB), and floret numbers (FN) per plant were recorded and calculated from two months after pseudobulb maturity until the end of the five-month experimental period. The GS variety significantly increased PL when treated with CF and FF compared to HA, and GS treated with CF under LI-30 exhibited the longest PL at 81.65 mm. PW increased as LI increased under FF treatment, and the largest PW was observed in GS treated with FF under LI-40. A maximal and significant increase in PT occurred in LI-40 compared to LI-30 under the CF treatment. GS had a significantly higher FL compared to HA treated with CF, and the longest FL was detected in GS under LI-30. HA had a significantly higher FB and FN under LI-40 than under LI-30, and the highest number of FB and FN in HA occurred when it was treated with CF and SF, respectively. Precision management of fertilization treatments in response to LI can maximize pseudobulb growth, development, and flowering quality in Oncidesa species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A New Decade of Horticultural and Medicinal Plants Cultivation)
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Article
Mild Salinity Stimulates Biochemical Activities and Metabolites Associated with Anticancer Activities in Black Horehound (Ballota nigra L.)
Agronomy 2021, 11(12), 2538; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy11122538 - 14 Dec 2021
Viewed by 399
Abstract
Black horehound (Ballota nigra L.) is one of the most important medicinal plants, as a rich source of health-promoting essential oils and metabolites. Salinity stress affects plant development and alters antioxidant activity and plant metabolite composition. The present research aimed to study the [...] Read more.
Black horehound (Ballota nigra L.) is one of the most important medicinal plants, as a rich source of health-promoting essential oils and metabolites. Salinity stress affects plant development and alters antioxidant activity and plant metabolite composition. The present research aimed to study the effect of salinity on physiological and biochemical changes and metabolites of B. nigra under greenhouse and in vitro culture conditions. The plants were treated with different concentrations of NaCl (25, 50, 75, 100 mM), and morphological characteristics of the plant were measured. The growth-related traits and soil plant analysis development (SPAD) were decreased both in vivo and in vitro. Additionally, increased salt concentration negatively affected the cell membrane integrity. The total phenolic content and flavonoids of plants growing in the greenhouse increased by 21% at 50 mM of NaCl, but the amounts decreased significantly at higher stress levels (100 mM of NaCl). Antioxidant activity was also measured. Among the NaCl treatments, the most increased DPPH scavenging activities (IC50) under greenhouse and in vitro conditions were detected at mild salinity stress, but the activity significantly decreased in higher salinity treatments (i.e., 75 and 100 mM). In general, with increasing the salinity level to 75 mM, the activities of CAT and APX were significantly upregulated in both greenhouse and in vitro culture conditions. A correlation between total phenolics and flavonoids contents as well as antioxidant activity was obtained. Salinity level caused a shift in the metabolite expression. Mild salinity stress elevated the metabolites involved in anticancer and anti-inflammatory activities, such as β-ionone and caryophyllene oxide. However, the higher salt stress resulted in a significant reduction in their expression. Differential expression of metabolites to various levels of salt stress can be further exploited for the in vitro biosynthesis of metabolites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A New Decade of Horticultural and Medicinal Plants Cultivation)
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Article
Chemical Components and Biological Activities of Essential Oils of Mentha × piperita L. from Field-Grown and Field-Acclimated after In Vitro Propagation Plants
Agronomy 2021, 11(11), 2314; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy11112314 - 16 Nov 2021
Viewed by 518
Abstract
In this work, we studied in vitro propagation of three cultivars of Mentha × piperita L. Murashige and Skoog medium (MS) supplemented with 0.5 mg·L−1 BAP was the most optimal medium for micropropagation of the cultivars studied. The ability of peppermint plants [...] Read more.
In this work, we studied in vitro propagation of three cultivars of Mentha × piperita L. Murashige and Skoog medium (MS) supplemented with 0.5 mg·L−1 BAP was the most optimal medium for micropropagation of the cultivars studied. The ability of peppermint plants field-acclimated after in vitro micropropagation to produce essential oils (EOs) was investigated. EO was obtained by hydrodistillation from dried leaves and flowering shoots from control (field grown) plants and plants acclimated in field conditions after in vitro propagation. The samples were collected at the first and second year of vegetation, and their chemical composition was investigated using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Differences were observed in the yield, as well as in the quantitative and qualitative composition of the EOs extracted from the control plants and field-acclimated plants after in vitro propagation. Menthol was the main component of the EO in control plants, while pulegone and menthone were dominant in the EO pattern in field-acclimated in vitro regenerants in the first year of the growing season. However, in the second year of vegetation, the content of the main EO components in field-acclimated peppermint plants was approximately the same as in control plants. The antioxidant activity of EOs extracted from field-acclimated after in vitro micropropagation plants was found to be the same as in control field-grown M. × piperita plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A New Decade of Horticultural and Medicinal Plants Cultivation)
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Article
Modeling the Effect of Temperature on Ginger and Turmeric Rhizome Sprouting
Agronomy 2021, 11(10), 1931; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy11101931 - 26 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 589
Abstract
Ginger and turmeric are tropical plant species with medicinal, beverage, and edible uses. Both species are typically propagated using seed rhizomes that often lack uniformity when sprouting, ultimately affecting the transplant growth and quality. Our objectives were to (1) develop a model to [...] Read more.
Ginger and turmeric are tropical plant species with medicinal, beverage, and edible uses. Both species are typically propagated using seed rhizomes that often lack uniformity when sprouting, ultimately affecting the transplant growth and quality. Our objectives were to (1) develop a model to predict the effect of temperature on rhizome sprouting and transplant growth and (2) characterize the morphological factors affecting the sprouting of ginger and turmeric rhizomes. Two experiments were conducted where the rhizomes were placed in plastic bags with a moist substrate inside dark incubator chambers. Five temperature treatments (21, 25, 27, 30, and 32 °C) were used for calibrating the model, and six temperature treatments (14, 20, 25, 30, 35, and 40 °C) were used in the validation phase. The number of days for rhizomes to develop 1- and 5-cm sprouts were counted; after which, the total number of sprouts, total leaf length, and root quality were measured. A nonlinear regression analysis was used to develop temperature–response curves. Ginger and turmeric had optimal sprouting temperatures of 27.5 and 30.1 °C, respectively. Temperatures close to the optimal reduced the time to sprout and to subsequently reach the transplant stage. No sprouting was observed at 14 °C, and the minimum temperature to develop 5-cm sprouts was estimated at slightly above 17 °C in both species. Temperatures above 32 °C resulted in tissue damage and rhizome loss. The results from this study show the potential to produce uniform ginger and turmeric transplants using temperature treatments that accelerate sprouting. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A New Decade of Horticultural and Medicinal Plants Cultivation)
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Article
Dihydroisocoumarin Content and Phenotyping of Hydrangea macrophylla subsp. serrata Cultivars under Different Shading Regimes
Agronomy 2021, 11(9), 1743; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy11091743 - 30 Aug 2021
Viewed by 896
Abstract
Hortensias (Hydrangea macrophylla L.) are well known as ornamental plants with their impressive flowers. Besides being an ornamental plant, some hortensia species contain constituents of nutritional and pharmaceutical interest. In this context, H. macrophylla subsp. serrata contains dihydroisocoumarins (DHCs), in particular hydrangenol [...] Read more.
Hortensias (Hydrangea macrophylla L.) are well known as ornamental plants with their impressive flowers. Besides being an ornamental plant, some hortensia species contain constituents of nutritional and pharmaceutical interest. In this context, H. macrophylla subsp. serrata contains dihydroisocoumarins (DHCs), in particular hydrangenol (HG) and phyllodulcin (PD), which determine produce quality. For the successful cultivation of H. macrophylla subsp. serrata, shading may be required. The response of H. macrophylla subsp. serrata as a source for DHCs was investigated in two growing seasons using three different cultivars (‘Amagi Amacha’, ‘Oamacha’ and ‘Odoriko Amacha’) under three different light conditions: no shade (100% photosynthetic active radiation, PAR), partial (72% PAR) and full shading (36% PAR). The shading regimes had no significant effect on dihydroisocoumarin content in leaf dry matter in each single cultivar. However, ‘Amagi Amacha’ and ‘Oamacha’ yielded significantly higher PD content in comparison to ‘Odoriko Amacha’, which showed, in contrast, the significantly highest HG content. The total biomass was not significantly affected by the shading regime, but slightly higher biomass was observed under partially shaded and full-shade conditions. Hyperspectral vegetation indices (VIs) and color measurements indicate less vital plants under no shade conditions. While lighting is an important growth factor for hortensia production, DHC is cultivar dependent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A New Decade of Horticultural and Medicinal Plants Cultivation)
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Article
Effect of the Carbon Source and Plant Growth Regulators (PGRs) in the Induction and Maintenance of an In Vitro Callus Culture of Taraxacum officinale (L) Weber Ex F.H. Wigg
Agronomy 2021, 11(6), 1181; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy11061181 - 10 Jun 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 800
Abstract
Taraxacum officinale (L.) Weber ex F.H. Wigg, commonly known as dandelion, is a cosmopolitan and perennial weed, which has medicinal properties. In vitro propagation methods are widely used on plants that have difficulties in cultivation and, consequently, low extraction yields of active metabolites. [...] Read more.
Taraxacum officinale (L.) Weber ex F.H. Wigg, commonly known as dandelion, is a cosmopolitan and perennial weed, which has medicinal properties. In vitro propagation methods are widely used on plants that have difficulties in cultivation and, consequently, low extraction yields of active metabolites. Thus, callus culture has been considered to be useful for the accumulation of several metabolites. In this study, we aimed to establish an efficient protocol for callus induction and maintenance of T. officinale, for which explant type, carbon source, light conditions, and nine different combinations of plant growth regulators (PGRs), such as 1-naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA) (from 0.05 to 0.5 mg/L) and 6-benzylaminopurine acid (BAP) (from 0.5 to 3.0 mg/L), were evaluated. The results showed that hypocotyls and roots from sterile seedlings are the best sources for callus induction, with 100% of callogenesis at every condition tested, and more than 95% of viability and friability. Complete darkness and a medium supplemented with sucrose at 2.3% (w/v) and 0.5 mg/L of NAA and 0.5 mg/L of BAP were the best conditions for callus induction, showing callus with low organogenesis and high friability. This study provides a basis for future studies on improving large-scale callus propagation and further establishment of suspension culture systems for commercial purposes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A New Decade of Horticultural and Medicinal Plants Cultivation)
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Article
Improving Germination Rate of Coastal Glehnia by Cold Stratification and Pericarp Removal
Agronomy 2021, 11(5), 944; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy11050944 - 10 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 501
Abstract
The medicinal plant, coastal glehnia (Glehnia littoralis F. Schmidt ex Miq.), belongs to the Apiaceae, which is known to exhibit morpho-physiological seed dormancy (MPD). In this study, we aimed to determine the dormancy type of this plant, along with the conditions for [...] Read more.
The medicinal plant, coastal glehnia (Glehnia littoralis F. Schmidt ex Miq.), belongs to the Apiaceae, which is known to exhibit morpho-physiological seed dormancy (MPD). In this study, we aimed to determine the dormancy type of this plant, along with the conditions for breaking dormancy, and how to increase its germination rate for mass production. Initially, the seeds of coastal glehnia had undeveloped embryos, which gradually developed following cold (5 °C) stratification over eight weeks. The embryo to seed (E:S) ratio increased to 66.7%, confirming that the seeds had the MPD type. Coastal glehnia seeds with pericarp did not show inhibited water uptake, and the germination inhibitory chemicals were not detected. However, removal of the pericarp improved the final germination percentage, germination speed, and T50 of coastal glehnia seeds compared with those of seeds with pericarp at 20 °C, which showed the highest value compared with other temperature treatments. Thus, cold stratification at 5 °C for eight weeks and removing the pericarp of germinating seeds maintained at 20 °C is efficient ways to break dormancy and improve the germination rate for the mass production of coastal glehnia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A New Decade of Horticultural and Medicinal Plants Cultivation)
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Article
Yield and Quality of Inflorescences in the Zantedeschia albomaculata (Hook.) Baill. ‘Albomaculata’ after the Treatment with AMF and GA3
Agronomy 2021, 11(4), 644; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy11040644 - 27 Mar 2021
Viewed by 576
Abstract
This study was conducted to assess the influence of gibberellic acid (GA3) and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) on the flowering and quality of Zantedeschia albomaculata (Hook.) Baill ‘Albomaculata’ plants. Before planting, the rhizomes were soaked in water or an aqueous solution [...] Read more.
This study was conducted to assess the influence of gibberellic acid (GA3) and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) on the flowering and quality of Zantedeschia albomaculata (Hook.) Baill ‘Albomaculata’ plants. Before planting, the rhizomes were soaked in water or an aqueous solution of GA3 at a concentration of 150 mg dm−3 for 30 min. A mixture of AMF was applied to the rhizomes a week after planting. The AMF treatment increased the yield of inflorescences of the ‘Albomaculata’ cultivar by 100%. AMF and GA3 had a favourable effect on the quality of inflorescences, expressed by the length of peduncles, whereas AMF individually positively affected the length of the spathes. AMF and GA3 had no effect on the level of macroelements in calla lily leaves, with the exception of calcium (Ca). The leaves of mycorrhized plants had a high content of sodium (Na) and micronutrients, except for iron (Fe). The results of the study showed that GA3 could be replaced by mycorrhizal inoculation when applied to Zantedeschia plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A New Decade of Horticultural and Medicinal Plants Cultivation)
Article
Effective Propagation of Selaginella tamariscina through Optimized Medium Composition
Agronomy 2021, 11(3), 578; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy11030578 - 19 Mar 2021
Viewed by 764
Abstract
Selaginella tamariscina is a medicinal plant that contains a variety of plant secondary metabolites; however, it is currently being collected indiscriminately from its native habitats. Hence, we have developed an efficient propagation method for S. tamariscina. Explants grown in vitro were cultured [...] Read more.
Selaginella tamariscina is a medicinal plant that contains a variety of plant secondary metabolites; however, it is currently being collected indiscriminately from its native habitats. Hence, we have developed an efficient propagation method for S. tamariscina. Explants grown in vitro were cultured in Murashige and Skoog medium of various strengths (1/16–2x), and the highest number of sporophytes (65.7) were obtained with 1/4x MS medium. Culturing explants at various lengths (3–12 mm) for 12 weeks indicated 12 mm as the most appropriate size for sporophyte propagation. We then evaluated various concentrations of individual components, sucrose (0–5%), total nitrogen (7.5–30 mM), nitrogen ratio (3:0–0:3), and agar (0.6–0.8%), in the 1/4x MS medium for explant growth for 12 weeks. The maximum number of sporophytes were formed in media containing 3% sucrose, 15 mM nitrogen, and 0.6% agar, with a nitrogen ratio of 1:2. The propagated S. tamariscina was then acclimatized in a controlled environment to improve survival in an external environment. These results demonstrate the effective conditions for in vitro mass propagation of S. tamariscina, finding that methods utilizing sporophytes were more efficient than conventional propagation methods and yielded numerous plants in a short period. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A New Decade of Horticultural and Medicinal Plants Cultivation)
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Article
The Content of Biologically Active Substances in Crocosmia × crocosmiiflora ‘Lucifer’ Tubers after Treatment with GA3
Agronomy 2021, 11(3), 553; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy11030553 - 15 Mar 2021
Viewed by 663
Abstract
This study was conducted to assess the influence of gibberellic acid (GA3) on the content of biologically active substances in Crocosmia × crocosmiiflora ‘Lucifer’ tubers. These tubers are a promising source of potential antioxidants, and their extracts can be used in [...] Read more.
This study was conducted to assess the influence of gibberellic acid (GA3) on the content of biologically active substances in Crocosmia × crocosmiiflora ‘Lucifer’ tubers. These tubers are a promising source of potential antioxidants, and their extracts can be used in pharmaceutical industry, as well as in cosmetics products and antifungal and antibacterial substances. Four groups of biologically active substances were determined from tubers: saponins, phenolic acid, flavonoids and carotenoids. The antioxidant activity of the extracts from tubers increased proportionally to the GA3 concentrations. GA3 at concentrations of 200, 400 and 600 mg dm−3 increased the content of medicagenic acid by 42.9–57.1% and the content of polygalic acid by 50% without affecting the content of medicagenic acid 3-O-triglucoside. The GA3 concentrations used in the experiment positively influenced the accumulation of caffeic acid, p-coumaric acid and gallic acid. The highest content of caffeic acid was noted in the tubers soaked in GA3 concentrated at 400 and 600 mg dm−3. GA3 at a concentration used in the study stimulated the accumulation of kaempferol by 15%, quercetin by 7–8.2%, quercetin 3-O-glucoside by 1.8% (when GA3 was applied at a concentration of 200 mg·dm−3) and by 4.1% and 3.6% (when GA3 was applied at concentrations of 400 and 600 mg·dm−3) and kaempferol 3-O-rhamnosylglucoside by 1.5–3.4%. The soaking of the tubers in GA3 increased the content of β-carotene by 7.9%, 5.2% and 7.9%, respectively, without affecting the content of crocin. For soaking of Crocosmia tubers, it is recommended to use GA3 at a concentration of 400–600 mg·dm−3. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A New Decade of Horticultural and Medicinal Plants Cultivation)
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Article
The Morphological Responses of Calendula officinalis L. “Radio” to the Foliar Application of Benzyladenine and Different Light Spectra
Agronomy 2021, 11(3), 460; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy11030460 - 01 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 760
Abstract
Pot marigold is a valuable medicinal plant with great decorative value. Three combinations of light (white (W)—170 μmol m−2 s−1, white + blue (W+B)—230 μmol m−2 s−1, white + red (W+R)—230 μmol m−2 s−1) [...] Read more.
Pot marigold is a valuable medicinal plant with great decorative value. Three combinations of light (white (W)—170 μmol m−2 s−1, white + blue (W+B)—230 μmol m−2 s−1, white + red (W+R)—230 μmol m−2 s−1) were used to analyse the influence of a diversified light spectrum on the morphological traits and flowering of Calendula officinalis L. “Radio”. The effect of foliar treatment of the plants with 6-benzyladenine (BA) at concentrations of 100, 150 and 200 mg dm−3 at all the light spectrum combinations was analysed. BA had negative influence on the earliness of florescence and delayed it even by more than 10 days. W+B light intensified the delay, whereas red light partly reduced it. The BA treatment had the greatest influence on the biometric traits of the plants at the initial period of their development. W+B light significantly inhibited the growth of the plants. A high share of red light in the spectrum positively affected the Fv/Fm value, the relative chlorophyll content and the percentage of dry matter in the plants. When the amount of blue or red light in the spectrum increased, it was possible to obtain specific biometric traits of Calendula without the BA treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A New Decade of Horticultural and Medicinal Plants Cultivation)
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