Author Archives: Matthew Blanchard

About Matthew Blanchard

Matthew Blanchard is a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Horticulture at Michigan State University. You can eMail him at

Energy-Efficient Annuals: Ageratum & Cosmos

Scheduling annual bedding plants in flower for specific market dates is of increasing importance to many greenhouse growers. During the past several years at Michigan State University (MSU), we have performed experiments with many seed propagated annuals to quantify how temperature and daily light integral (DLI) influence flowering time and plant quality. In the fifth

Energy-Efficient Annuals: Dianthus & Snapdragon

Energy-efficient greenhouse production requires information on how crops respond to average daily temperature and daily light integral (DLI) so they can be more precisely scheduled. At Michigan State University (MSU), we have performed experiments with many seed-propagated annuals to quantify the effects of temperature and DLI on flowering and the impacts of different cropping strategies

Energy-Efficient Annuals: Timing Marigolds

In the first article of this scheduling annuals series, we introduced the concepts of temperature and daily light integral (DLI) and how these factors influence crop timing and plant quality. In the second article, Virtual Grower software was presented as a tool to predict energy costs for greenhouse heating. In this article, we present crop

Energy-Efficient Annuals: Scheduling Bedding Plants

Examples of software interface panels of Virtual Grower. This program can be downloaded free at and can be used to estimate greenhouse energy costs throughout the United States. Desirable scheduling of garden plants includes producing a marketable crop for a specific date with the least amount of inputs as possible. A large contribution to

Energy-Efficient Annuals: Perfecting Temps & Light

Bedding and garden plants are the largest category of floriculture crops in the United States with a wholesale value of $1.76 billion in 2007. Scheduling these crops in flower for specific market dates, at different times of the year, can be a challenge. In addition, most bedding plants are produced when energy for heating a

Getting Results With A Liner Dip

Controlling plant height is a key factor in producing a quality crop and maximizing the number of plants that can be shipped per rack. Growers often use both chemical and non-chemical height control techniques to suppress stem elongation. Plant growth regulators (PGRs) are commonly applied as foliar sprays, media drenches or sprenches (high-volume spray with

Comparing PGRs

Figure 1. Celosia (Celosia plumosa ‘Fresh Look Red’) was sprayed with either Dazide (daminozide, Fine Americas), B-Nine (daminozide, OHP), Citadel (chlormequat chloride, Fine Americas) or Cycocel (chlormequat chloride, OHP) seven days after plugs were transplanted into 4½-inch pots and grown at 68°F. Controlling plant height is an essential aspect of producing greenhouse crops. Plant growth

Responses To Temperature & Light

Temperature and light are the two environmental factors that primarily influence production time and quality of both young and finish plants. Knowledge of how crops respond to changes in temperature and light can help growers predict crop timing in a variety of greenhouse environments. One of the questions we’ve been addressing is whether less energy is