The Test of TERRALYT PLUS® on the Growth and Development of Tagetes tenuifolia Cav. ´Gnome´ (T. signata Bart).

Mohammad Mehdi Fayyaz
Department of Botany, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706´

Signet Marigold is an trouble-free and charming annual that grows to 60 cm height. The leaves are pinnate (ferny foliage) and are very attractive. The flower heads are solitary, numerous and 5 cm across. The shape is cylindrical-widely flared and has few yellow ray flowers that are 1? cm long. The crown leafs are all oblong. This plant originated in Mexico and Central America. Signet Marigolds are very popular among European herbalists and English gardening enthusiasts. Greenhouse production of compact marigolds with attractive foliage and a profusion of flowers is a challenge without supplemental lighting under low light intensity during the winter months in Madison, Wisconsin. Preliminary experiments on a variety of plants under different stresses have proven that TERRALYT PLUS® will enhance better growth and earlier harvest. This preliminary investigation was undertaken to determine the effect of TERRALYT PLUS® on vegetative growth and flowering of ´Gnome` Marigold plants.

Materials and Methods
´Gnome´ Marigold seeds were sown 1/05/98 in jiffy mix in a 20 cm in diameter seed saucer. Germination occurred after 7 days at 22° ± 2° C. On 1/20/98, ninety seedlings of 5 cm in height were transplanted in 7,5 cm plastic pots containing Fafard mixture #2. On 2/10/98 the ninety marigold plants were transplanted in 12,5 cm standard plastic pots containing UW-Botany Greenhouse medium mix (2 parts soil, 2 parts mica, 2 parts peat moss and one part Rice Hull). To maintain uniformity, all plants were kept at 10 cm in height by pinching their terminal shoots. A dilution of 1:1000 TERRALYT PLUS® was applied to45 pots of marigold plants (Treated) with the other 45 being kept as control plants. The plants were watered every other day and temperature was kept at 24° ± 2° C. Shoot height, number of buds, and first flowering data was obtained.

Results and Discussion
The effect of TERRALYT PLUS® on shoot height, days from first bud initiation to first flower and number of flowers of marigold plants in comparison to control plants are shown in Figs. 1,2 and 3.

TERRALYT PLUS® had influential effect in more uniform growth and production of compact plants, inducing earlier flower bud initiation and number of flowers in comparison to the control plants.





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