General requirements

A wide variety of vegetative material can be used to propagate pineapple plants (Fig. 6.7). The more common ones are: crowns from the top of the fruit; slips from the peduncle directly below the fruit (these pieces usually have a rudimentary fruit or knob at their

Fig. 6.6. Pineapple field mulched with black polyethylene plastic in Hawaii. Note marks used to establish plant spacing.

base); hapas, which are borne lower on the peduncle; suckers, which originate on the upper part of the stem; and ground suckers, which form on the lower part of the stem with roots that grow into the ground while they are still attached.

Other planting material may be generated by sectioning parts of the plant or by destroying the apical growing point of vegetative plants, stimulating growth of lateral buds. Both methods produce what are usually called plantlets. Plants in the process of flower initiation may be treated with such chemicals as Maintain CF125 (chlorfurenol), which stimulate the production of slips and crownlets, also called propagules.

Comparisons of various types of planting materials show that early growth rate and plant size at some future time are influenced primarily by the amount of starch reserve in the piece, the amount of leaf material present and the freshness of the piece of material. These variables have rarely been well con trolled in field trials comparing various types of planting materials; consequently there remains some controversy over the relative performance of types of planting material. Some practical aspects of the various types of material are given below.

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