163 THE EFFECTS OF HYDROPHILIC GELS ON PETUNIA GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT IN A COMMERCIAL GREENHOUSE

in HortScience

A study was undertaken between June 30 and September 15, 1993 to determine the effects of five different hydrophilic gels on petunia `Supercascade Red' dry weights, stem lengths, and bud counts. Data were compiled on growing medium and plant tissue analyses as well as days between waterings of gel-amended versus control media. A completely randomized design was utilized with six treatments (five gels and control), 15 pots per treatment, five plants per ten-inch banging basket. Statistical analyses showed no significant differences either within or among treatments for stem lengths or bud counts, or among treatments for plant dry weights. Two cases of significant differences among pots within treatments did occur. Plant tissue analyses run before and after the study showed consistent increases in N, P, Ca, Mg, S, Zn, and B; decreases in Fe, Cu, and Na; and mixed changes in K and Mn over the 11-week study. Growing medium analyses run before and after the study showed consistent increases in Fe; decreases in EC, % organic matter, NH4-N, K, Mg, SO4 S, Mn, and Cu; and mixed changes in pH, NO3-N, P, Ca, and Zn. There were no significant differences in either the number of waterings or the days between waterings among the six treatments.

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