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Effects of two planting methods on vegetative and reproductive characteristics of tuberose (Polianthes tuberosa L.).


Tuberose (Plolianthes tuberosa L.), a member of Agavaceae family is an ornamental bulbous plant native to Mexico, and one of the most important cut flowers in tropical and subtropical areas (Benschop, 1993). This flower is also grown as a source of fragrant essence for perfume industry. Although, some different botanical terms such as tuberous rhizome and tuberous rootstock have been suggested for the underground storage organ of this flower, practically is called bulb (Bryan, 1989). Thus, accepting the bulb as the storage organ for it seems that BPM could affect the growth and development of this plant. Mugabe et al. (2005) investigated the effect of 7 planting techniques of Cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz.) cutting on crop establishment in Zimbabwae and concluded that, vertical planting leaving one-third above ground had significantly the highest crop establishment rate and the lowest crop establishment rate was obtained with horizontal planting method. As the bulb of this flower is planted manually in most major growing areas including, Dezful, Tehran, Mahallat and Shiraz in Iran and in this way the bulbs are usually placed horizontally (Fig. 1); it seems that the vertical planting method which is the same as the natural position of this plant bulbs inside the soil could result in better vegetative and reproductive growth. Since, there is no scientific report on planting method of tuberose and considering its popularity and importance as cut flower in Iran; this research was conducted to study the effects of BPM on vegetative and reproductive characteristics of tuberose.

Material and methods

The experiment was conducted at the Experimental Farm of the Department of Horticultural Science, College of Agriculture, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran, at Badjgah, 1810 m above the mean sea level, 52[degree] 32'E and 29[degree] 36'N, with Daneshkadeh soil series (fine, mixed, mesic, Calcixerollic, Xerochrepts, pH=8, EC=1.2). The bulbs were purchased from Dezful city (a main center for winter tuberose cut flower production in south of Iran). The bulbs were planted either vertically or horizontally on ridges (20'10 cm) at the depth of 5-7 cm (May 20, 2006). The experiment was performed in a complete randomized block design with two treatments (vertical vs. horizontal) and 4 replications in eight rows. After the appearance of flowering stem (September 20 to October 21, 2006), 20 flower stems were randomly selected from each treatment and height and diameter of flowering stem, floret number, number of leaves on flowering stem, quality index and fresh weight and dry weight of flowering stem were measured. Quality index (g [cm.sup.-1]) which was calculated based on the fresh weight of flowering stem divided by its height (Darlington et al. 1992). To measure the dry weight of flowering stem, the materials were kept in an Oven with the temperature of 75[degree]C for 48 hr. After leaves turned yellow (November 30, 2006), the mother bulbs with the attached bulblets were dug out and the number of bulblets were counted and mother bulbs and bulblet weights were measured. Data analysis was performed using MSTATC software and the means were compared at %5 level of probability using DNMRT.


Results and discussions


Leaf number and height and diameter of flowering stem The results of this study indicated that BPM had a significant effect on leaf number and flowering stem height, but not in the case of stem diameter (Table 1, Fig. 2).


Floret number, quality index and fresh and dry weight of flowering stem

The findings also indicated that planting method had a significant effect on floret number, quality index and fresh and dry weight of flowering stem (Table 1). Quality index was significantly affected by planting method (Table 1).

Bulblet number and mother bulb and bulblet weight

Results indicated that planting method had a significant effect on bulblet number, but the weight of mother bulb and bulblets was not affected significantly (Fig. 3, Fig. 4 and Fig. 5).





The reduction in leaf number in horizontal BPM could be related to shortened flower stems. Ohyama et al. (1988) studied the carbohydrate changes in the scales of mother bulb and daughter bulblets in tulip (Tulipa gesneriana L.) and showed that in bulblet scales, carbohydrates were increased significantly after flowerings stem removal. As, in this research horizontal BMP resulted in shorted flower stems, it could be concluded that the increase of bulblet number (powerful sink) in this treatment resulted in a strong competition for photosythates, between flowering stem and bulblets, hence shorter flower stems. Considering floret number; it seems that lower bulblet production in vertical BPM, lead to a weaker competition with flowering stem competition between vegetative and reproductive phases); while in horizontal BPM the higher number of bulblets acted as a strong sink leading to decrease in flowering stem fresh and dry weight. In the plants with strong apical dominance, removal of the main shoots is often necessary to stimulate axillary growth. Hussey (1976) investigated this phenomenon in some members of bulbous plants included Narcissus, Iris, Amaryllis, Fritillaria, Freesia, Hippeastrum, Gladiolus and Sparaxis and reported that cytokinin application is necessary for in vitro proliferation of storage organs. In fruit trees, changing the shoot to more horizontal orientation decreases apical dominance and increases cytokinin content (Ito et al., 2005). It could be concluded that horizontal BPM may decrease the apical dominance due probably to ethylene or cytokinin production and consequently results in higher bulblet production which acts as a strong sink for carbohydrate pool compared to flower stem. Cline et al. (1997) illustrated that apical dominance is influenced by hormonal changes and when the ratio of auxin/cytokinin is decreased; lateral growth is promoted. In the case of horizontal BPM, competition between bulblets produced resulted in their smaller size, but as the number of bulblets was higher than vertical BPM, mean bulblet weight was not significantly different (Fig. 5 (right)).


According to the results of this investigation, if the more bulblets production is desired, it is suggested that the bulbs should be planted horizontally and flowering stems (as a sink) should be cut at the earlier stages of growth and if high quality flowering stems are desired, the bulbs should be planted vertically. Because carbohydrate and hormonal changes were not investigated in this study, further investigations are required to confirm the hypothesis presented here.


Benschop, M., 1993. Polianthes. In: De Hertogh, A., M. Le Nard (Eds.), The Physiology of Flowering Bulbs. Elsevier, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, pp: 589-601.

Bryan, J.E., 1989. Bulbs. Timber Press, Portland, Oregon, USA, pp: 451.

Cline, M., T. Wessel and H. Iwamura, 1997. Cytokinin/Auxin Control of Apical Dominance in Ipomea nil. Plant and Cell Physiol., 38(6): 659-667.

Darlington, A.B., M.A. Dixon and M.J. Tsujita, 1992. The influence of humidity control on the production of greenhouse roses (Rosa hybrida L.). Sci. Hort., 49(3-4): 291-303.

De Hertogh, A. and M. Le Nard, 1993. The Physiology of Flowering Bulbs. Elsevier, Amsterdam, The Netherlands., pp: 811.

Hussey, G., 1976. In vitro release of axillary shoots from apical dominance in monocotyledonous plantlets. An. Bot., 40(6): 1323-1325.

Ito, A., H. Yoshioka, H. Hayama and Y. Kashimura, 2004. Reorientation of shoot to horizontal position influences the sugar metabolism of lateral buds and shoot internodes in Japanese pear (Pyrus pyrifolia

(Burm.) Nak.). J. Hort. Sci. Biotechnol., 79(3): 416-422. Mugabe, F.T., G. Mtetwa and F. Murungu, 2005. Effect of planting technique on establishment of cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz.) in south-east Zimbabwe. Pakist. J. Biol. Sci., 8(2): 293-296.

Ohyama, T., T. Ikarashi and A. Baba, 1988. Behavior of carbohydrates in mother bulb of Tulips (Tulipa gesneriana L.). Soil Sci. Plant Nut., 34(3): 405-4015.

Corresponding Author: H. Salehi, Department of Horticultural Science, College of Agriculture, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran. E-mail address:

F. Nazari, H. Farahmand, M. Khosh-Khui and H. Salehi

Department of Horticultural Science, College of Agriculture, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran.

F. Nazari, H. Farahmand, M. Khosh-Khui and H. Salehi,: Effects of two planting methods on vegetative and reproductive characteristics of tuberose (Polianthes tuberosa L.).: Adv. in Nat. Appl. Sci., 1(1): 26-29, 2007
Table 1: The effect of two bulb planting methods on stem height,
quality index, fresh weight of flowering stem (FWFS), dry weight
of flowering stem (DWFS) and floret numbers.

 Flowering stem Quality index
Method of planting height (cm) (g [cm.sup.-1])

Vertical 63.95a 1.15a
Horizontal 62.99b 1.07b

Method of planting FW FS DWFS numbers

Vertical 73.82a 11.29a 34.40a
Horizontal 68.45b 10.12b 31.82b

[dagger] In each row means with the same letters are not
significantly different at 5% level of probability using DNMRT.
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Title Annotation:Original Article
Author:Nazari, F.; Farahmand, H.; Khosh-Khui, M.; Salehi, H.
Publication:Advances in Natural and Applied Sciences
Article Type:Report
Date:Sep 1, 2007
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