Long Day - Short Day

runktrun(z7a MA)March 28, 2010

Lately I have been considering that the limited number of strong daylight hours due to frequent spr*ing and early summer fog could be the cause of my inability to successfully grow pl*ants that should be thrilled with my irrigated acidic sandy soil. As well as the converse ability to grow more shade loving plants such as Hydrangea macrophylla in full sun.

I have been read*ing what limited information I could find on;

short day plants - initiate flowers with short days and long nights ie mums, tulips, aster, and salvia.

long day plants - initiate flowers with long days and short nights, ie hib*iscus, larkspur and delphinium.

day-neutral plants - bloom under either short or long-day conditions ie geranium, pansy and snapdragon.

Other than a few examples such as Delphiniums being long day plantsÂwell that certainly explains why this (granted short lived) plant has never returned in my gar*den. This might also explain why more tropical plants such as Agapanthus that is capable of wintering over in warmer coastal zones bloom much later in the season.

I have been unable to find a complete list of short, long, and neutral day plants. Do you have any suggestions about where I should search? Do you think there is more to my query than I know?

ps... Ok GW I surrender the asterisk I have added now on four different attempts to post this message has just resulted in linking yet another different word in this post. You may have me for now but eventually I and others will just move on to other forums with less blatent forms of public opinion advertising.

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I have never seen a list of day-length preferences of plants, but if I were looking for one I'd try the Brooklyn Botanic Garden or maybe good old Arnold Arboretum's library.

The day length characteristic is really interesting, though; even if we don't have as much heat and strong sun as other regions, we DO have the same day length as elsewhere at this latitude. Do you think that in plants that are sensitive to day length, the strength of the sun might be a completely different characteristic, or are you saying that you think they're linked?

I think some plants just need more sun and heat than we normally get - like my favorite Salvia, S. leucantha, the Mexican bush sage.

One more thing - although I don't have much luck with hardy Delphinium (I won't dignify them by calling them perennials) the annual larkspur (which IS a Delphinium) does just fine here. So, I don't think Delphinium's known failure to grow in these parts necessarily has anything to do with day length. It may be the case with some other plants, of course.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 1:42PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)


The short- and long-day response to which you are referring is called the photoperiod of plants. You can probably google it and get a much better explanation than I can give you. But the plants respond to light vs. dark as far as determining setting buds, going into or breaking dormancy and so forth. The strength, or hours of actual sunshine (or the lack thereof) really don't influence the plants ability to set buds for example. However, some plants will just grow faster and healthier with warm, sunny dry days, so long as the soil is moist enough of course. Having said that, you may well see an abundance of blooms when there is ample sunshine. But there are two separate things here. I hope I didn't confuse the issue!


    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 6:19PM
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