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Re: Gibberellic Acid

For what it's worth I would be reluctant to use gibberellic acid (available in the trade as "GA3", most commonly). I had a reluctant plant (Cryptocoryne, of course, which means it's small plant compared with the typical plant discussed on this list) and gave it a GA3 treatment (the formula for which I can send if you want to know - just contact me off-list). I just added it dropwise to the meristem, a drop or two every day for a week. Sure enough the plant flowered about a month later, after no flowers at all for more than a decade.

Noting how unusual the flower looked I took a number of pictures with my dissecting microscope so I would have the flower anatomy preserved. Rather than the normal aroid shape, this flower looked like a shepherd's crook. The sides of the flower "kettle" were very weak, almost transparent.

The plant made another flower a few weeks later and the second flower was also distorted-looking compared with normal Crypts, but a little stronger than the first one. I documented that inflorescence as well.

Finally, about six months later I got another flower from the plant and this one looked like a typical C. wendtii, the most common type of Sri Lankan Crypts that aquarists keep. I concluded that this was just a wendtii type that is indifferent to sexual reproduction under my conditions. Others in the wendtii complex flower for me all the time without any encouragement.

It has been several years now since this experience and I have gotten no additional flowers, from the original plant or any of its clone siblings.

In short, I think GA3 can induce flowering, but I am not sure that what you get will be representative of the species. >From what I learned from the web, there is not much certainty about formulations, strength of GA3 to use, or application. This is the same situation with several other growth hormones (including the famous 2-4 D, used as a broad-leaf weed killer) that you see discussed in the casual press.

For Crypts, at least, I think flowering is not obligatory and may even be degenerate in some forms. But there is certainly a set of conditions that kick a plant into flowering and others that make it passive. It would be of great interest scientifically (and to horticulturists) to know what these conditions are.

I don't use my GA3 anymore.


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