256 THE EFFECT OF VARYING THE N:S BALANCE IN POINSETTIA ON PLANT COLOR RESPONSE AND CONSUMER APPEAL

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  • 1 Department of Horticulture, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68583-0724

Nitrogen and sulfur are macronutrients required by plants to form amino acids used in protein synthesis and other metabolic processes. Commercial poinsettia nutrient recommendations suggest N levels of 350-400 ppm later reduced to 200-250 ppm N. Previous hydroponic research determined that N may be reduced by half if supplied S levels are adequate. The purpose of this study was to look at multiple N and S levels and gauge the effects these combinations had on plant quality.

Poinsettia cv. `Dark Red Hegg' plants, grown in a soilless mix, were fertilized with 56 N and S combinations. N was supplied from 100-275 ppm and S from 0-75 ppm. Plants were evaluated quantitatively by chroma meter readings every three weeks and qualitatively by marketability evaluations from commercial producers, retailers, and consumers.

Results indicate 0 ppm S plant color was more yellow-green than all others. Plants were greener as N increased from 100-150 ppm with no difference above 175 ppm. Evaluators identified plants receiving 0 ppm S and 100 or 125 ppm N as unmarketable. N may be reduced to 175 ppm with no effect on plant quality if adequate S is applied.

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