Raising quality hybrid potato true seedlings — derived from hybrid true potato seeds (TPS) — for field transplanting is a critical aspect contributing to the success in cultivating field-transplanted hybrid potato seedling-based crops. Various critical seedling vigor attributes must be defined and enhanced to improve plant performance as well as plant response and adaptation to field conditions after field transplanting. Moreover, additional attributes besides leaf number and stem length should be defined to design selection criteria for “transplantability” of potato seedlings. To assess these attributes and their robustness under different environmental conditions, seedlings of hybrid genotypes were raised under contrasting day lengths, light intensities and temperature regimes, and combinations of these factors, and the effects of these factors (or factor combinations) on seedling vigor and its attributes were quantified. Increased light intensity and daylight integral (DLI) enhanced leaf parameters and increased biomass under long-day conditions, but seedlings did not show conclusive responses under short-day conditions in most attributes. Higher temperatures increased biomass and constant day and night temperatures enhanced compaction of shoot architecture, as did higher light intensities — to a greater extent. These results highlight additional seedling vigor attributes including leaf area parameters and seedling biomass which should be utilized to determine “transplantability” of hybrid potato seedlings. Additionally, the results provide a starting point for further research on optimizing hybrid seedling production for field transplanting.
Authors: Olivia C. Kacheyo, Hannah M. Schneider, Michiel E. de Vries & Paul C. Struik