643 The Effect of Nitrogen and Sulfur Applications on Hydrangeas

in HortScience

Hydrangeas are sold as a potted florist plant during the spring, usually around Mothers Day and Easter. They are considered “heavy feeders” because of their high requirement for nitrogen. Two experiments were conducted to determine if the addition of sulfur (S) would allow lower rates of nitrogen (N) to be applied without sacrificing plant color and quality. Hydrangea macrophylla `Blue Danube' were fertilized with four levels of N (50, 100, 200, and 450 ppm) in combination with six levels of S (0, 6, 12, 24, 48, and 96 ppm) during a typical forcing program. The experimental design was a randomized complete block with a complete factorial treatment design. Data collected included visual observations (using the Royal Horticultural Society Color Chart) on leaf color and uniformity of flower color as well as flower shape. Quantitative data included flower diameter, floret diameter, height, and N an S leaf concentrations. Soil pH was monitored throoughout the experiment and remained fairly constant (range of 5.0–6.0). Additional sulfur seemed to have no effect on leaf color at the higher levels of N. Lower concentrations of N produced more true blue flower color. Also, at lower N concentrations, higher S resulted in larger flowers with larger florets.

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