Managing Air Temperatures For Basil Growth And Development

Understanding how different basil species respond to air temperatures can help increase cropping efficiency
Understanding how different basil species respond to air temperatures can help increase cropping efficiency. Photo courtesy of Snap/Flickr.

When it comes to speeding up or slowing down crops, temperature is the primary factor driving the rate of growth and development of greenhouse crops. Understanding how different species respond to temperatures can help greenhouse growers increase cropping efficiency.

In the past, we have reported on how cultivars, hydroponic systems, planting density, nutrient solutions, and light affect the growth and development of hydroponically produced basil. For this final article in our four-part series focusing on basil production, we would like to discuss how air temperature influences basil growth.

Four Basil Cultivars Evaluated

We grew seedlings of ‘Nufar’ sweet basil, ‘Holy’ basil, and ‘Sweet Dani’ and ‘Lime’ lemon basil in 288-cell plug trays filled with germination mix. Three weeks after sowing seeds, seedlings were transplanted into 4-inch plastic containers filled with a commercial soilless substrate comprised of peat and perlite. After transplanting, 10 plants of each cultivar were placed into one of five environmental growth chambers maintained at 52°F, 63°F, 73°F, 84°F, or 95°F.

Plants were fertilized thoroughly once per week with a solution containing 200 ppm nitrogen from a 15-5-15 fertilizer containing micronutrients. In between fertilizations, plants were irrigated with clear water without leaching. Fluorescent lights inside of the growth chamber provided light for 16 hours per day. Three weeks after transplanting, we counted the number of plants with flowers and measured height, node, and branch number. Additionally, we measured fresh and dry mass of the basil shoots.

Increasing Air Temperature Enhances Basil Growth

The rate of growth, or increase in weight, increased as temperature increased for all four of the basil cultivars used in our study. For example, at the end of the experiment, sweet basil grown at 84°F weighed an ounce more than plants grown at 52°F. Similarly, the rate of increase in fresh mass for sweet basil increased by 0.05 ounces per day as temperature increased from 52°F to 84°F. All the cultivars had a similar response to sweet basil, with growth increasing as temperature increased. However, for all cultivars, both the final weight and rate (ounces per day) decreased as temperatures went from 84°F to 95°F.

While not of primary interest to herb producers, we did notice some variation in flowering across the different basil cultivars. Sweet basil did not flower in our experiment in any of the temperature treatments. Holy basil and ‘Lime’ lemon basil were flowering by the end of the study in some, but not all, of the temperature treatments. There was little to no sign of flowering at 52°F, and we attribute this to slow development rates due to low temperatures. As temperatures increased, flowering increased to nearly 100% at 73°F and 84°F. As temperature increased above 85°F, we saw delayed or no flowering (see Figure 1) as a result of heat delay.

Figure 1 'Holy' Basil
Figure 1. ‘Holy’ basil grown at constant air temperatures ranging from 52°F to 95°F in environmental growth chambers. This photo was taken three weeks after placing plants into treatments.

 

 

 

Plant height was also affected by temperature. The height for all four cultivars increased with temperature up to 84°F. Plants grown at 95°F were slightly shorter. There are two different factors that contribute to the change in height — node number and internode length. As temperatures increase, more nodes are formed, therefore increasing plant height. In addition to recording height and node number, we also calculated internode length. Internode length increased as temperature increased from 52°F to 73°F or 84°F, depending on the cultivar.

Keep Basil Warm

How can our results help with your production? First, for all of the basil cultivars utilized in our study, plant growth (weight) and height increased with temperature in a linear relationship between 52°F to 84°F. This linear relationship means that the effect of changing the average daily air temperature should result in predictable effects on growth, as long as the temperatures remain in the linear range.

Another clear result of our study is that basil grows well at warm temperatures. As temperature increased from 84°F to 95°F, growth started to decline, though not severely. Although greenhouse producers will likely not increase their temperatures to the warmer temperatures used in our study during the late fall, winter, and early spring (the heating season), our results support the potential for increasing basil production during the summer months, when warm greenhouse temperatures may diminish the growth of some crops — but not basil.

On the other end of the temperature spectrum, avoid low temperatures when growing basil. First, the growth of all four cultivars used in this study was minimal at 52°F. At low temperatures, the slow growth would increase crop time and reduce profitability due to increased production time. Additionally, plants were stressed, and with some plants, there was visible damage from the cold temperatures, which would decrease yields.

Page 2 – Take-Home Messages For Basil Production

Topics: ,

Leave a Reply

One comment on “Managing Air Temperatures For Basil Growth And Development

More From Crop Inputs...
steve-larson-bayer

September 23, 2016

Bayer Continues Its Shift Into The Ornamentals Market

The company has announced its 12 distributor partners, and also recently named Steve Larson — formerly with Color Spot Nurseries — as its ornamental specialist.

Read More

September 21, 2016

Floriculture Industry Working To Solve The Whitefly Problem

This summer, the floriculture industry has been faced with a dangerous new development — the detection of the Q-Biotype whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) in outdoor landscapes. It’s the first time that the Q-Biotype has been found in the U.S., outside of a greenhouse or wholesale nursery, since the pest was first detected on an ornamental plant in an Arizona greenhouse in December 2004. This year in Florida, there have been 47 detections of the Q since April, in retail nurseries and residential landscapes in 10 counties in Florida, from Miami-Dade to Duval County, primarily on hibiscus. Other hosts involved are crossandra, eggplant transplants, lantana, ficus, and porter weed. The detections have been in 17 retail nurseries, eight wholesale nurseries, 10 residential landscapes, and two agricultural fields. Other states have reported Q-Biotype detections this year, as well. The discovery of Q-Biotype whitefly in the landscape is troubling for the entire ornamentals industry, […]

Read More
Biocontrols and beneficials absolutely can be used in outdoor production, with the use of banker plant systems

September 19, 2016

Learn About Biological Controls In The Greenhouse In A New Online Course

Michigan State University Extension (MSU) and Kansas State University Research and Extension are collaborating on a pre-recorded online course on “Biological Control for Greenhouse Growers.”

Read More
Latest Stories
steve-larson-bayer

September 23, 2016

Bayer Continues Its Shift Into The Ornamentals Market

The company has announced its 12 distributor partners, and also recently named Steve Larson — formerly with Color Spot Nurseries — as its ornamental specialist.

Read More
Biocontrols and beneficials absolutely can be used in outdoor production, with the use of banker plant systems

September 19, 2016

Learn About Biological Controls In The Greenhouse In A …

Michigan State University Extension (MSU) and Kansas State University Research and Extension are collaborating on a pre-recorded online course on “Biological Control for Greenhouse Growers.”

Read More
Bees And Pesticides

August 23, 2016

Studies Offer Conflicting Views On Neonic Effect On Bee…

How much exposure to neonicotinoids do bees need before their health becomes affected? That’s the question two research teams look to answer.

Read More
Chrysanthemum Aphid

August 22, 2016

How To ID And Manage Black Aphids In Chrysanthemums

Growers in Michigan have recently been reporting a higher presence of this pest. Here are some tips on how to control it.

Read More
Cannabis Crop Protection

August 22, 2016

Cannabis Group Stays Focused On Consistent Standards Fo…

The Foundation of Cannabis Unified Standards (FOCUS), is an independent, third-party, not-for-profit organization, is in the process of developing cannabis-specific standards for everything from cultivation and extraction to packaging and retail.

Read More
Leaf Septoria In Cannabis

August 21, 2016

Three Diseases To Watch For In Cannabis Production

The development of root rot, powdery mildew, and leaf septoria can damage cannabis to the point of complete crop loss.

Read More
Greenhouse Whitefly

August 18, 2016

Vestaron Planning For More Research And Development Of …

On the heels of launching Spear-T, its first bioinsecticide, Vestaron has received additional financing that will be used to develop new products with new modes of action.

Read More
BioWorks Mycotrol

August 17, 2016

New Organic Mycoinsecticide From BioWorks Now Registere…

BioWorks’ Mycotrol can be used to manage whitefly, thrips, aphids, and other insects in greenhouses and nurseries.

Read More
Downy mildew lesions on light coleus cultivars feature

August 12, 2016

How You Can Control Downy Mildew In Coleus, Roses, And …

Downy mildew diseases are potentially devastating to ornamental crops and at the very least can cause unsightly damage. Check out the latest research and recommendations for preventing it.

Read More
Jen Browning BASF

August 4, 2016

Horticulturist And Entomologist Jen Browning To Speak A…

Browning will discuss the use of nematodes in managing pests in greenhouses and nurseries.

Read More
Poinsettia, Heavy Whitefly Infestation -Lower Leaves, Insect - Feature

August 3, 2016

Tips For Successful Late-Season Whitefly Control

Managing late-season whiteflies successfully on poinsettia requires preventative measures put in to action early in the production cycle.

Read More
Cannabis Crop Protection

July 28, 2016

Solving The Cannabis Crop Protection Problem

A largely unregulated sector of the industry, state departments of agriculture, biocontrols companies, and other industry pros are dedicated to helping growers make the right pesticide decisions for their operations.

Read More
Aphids On Older Leaves

July 25, 2016

How You Can Stop Aphids By Understanding Their Interact…

Knowing which aphids target which crops and how aphids colonize and move on plants goes a long way toward setting up an effective management plan.

Read More
BASF Orkestra Intrinsic

June 21, 2016

New Mode Of Action From BASF Offers Deeper Disease Cont…

When it comes to disease control, you need all the help you can get. BASF recently hosted growers, Extension personnel, and trade media to present its newest fungicide with two active ingredients, offering dual modes of action.

Read More
Nematodes-feature

June 4, 2016

New Biocontrols Provide Effective Pest Control In Green…

Biological chemistry manufacturers have introduced several new products recently that offer a range of insect and disease management options. Here’s a look at some of them.

Read More
Whitefly

June 2, 2016

Breaking News: Florida Growers Reporting Major Whitefly…

Reports have come from the Florida Keys to Palm Beach County that whitefly populations in landscapes are reaching unprecedented levels and are not responding to pesticide applications. Biotype-Q has been found in four different communities. University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Science researchers are working with USDA-APHIS, USDA-ARS, the Florida Department of Agriculture, and growers and landscape professionals to manage the developing problem.

Read More
Triathlon BA container shot

May 24, 2016

OHP’s Triathlon Biofungicide Now Listed By The Organic …

Triathlon BA is a broad-spectrum preventative biofungicide that provides control of many foliar and soilborne diseases in ornamentals and herbs.

Read More
Two-spotted spider mites, adults and eggs

May 11, 2016

SePRO Launches Summer Insecticide Management Program Fo…

The program is designed to help growers use SePRO’s insect management tools to prevent plant damage from a variety of pests.

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]