Preplant Superphosphate Amendment and Leaching Fraction on Growth of Potted Poinsettia

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  • 1 Dept. of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Univ. of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742-5611

Earlier study indicates that greenhouse crop production may be an overlooked point source of P pollution. A potential strategy to reduce P leaching may be to eliminate superphosphate amendment in soilless medium. Single-pinched `Amy' poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima) in 15-cm pots were grown in a soilless medium of 3 peat: 1 perlite: 1 vermiculite (by volume). A treatment combination of preplant, finely ground, single superphosphate (SSP) (0N–8.8P–0K) amendment at 0 or 172 mg/pot and leaching fractions (LFs) of 0 and 0.2 were evaluated in a completely randomized design during a 10.5-week study. Plants received constant liquid fertigation with 7.8 mg P/liter and 210 mg N/liter from modified Hoagland solution #1. The total P applied via fertigation ranged from ≈38 mg at 0 LF to ≈50 mg at 0.2 LF. The leachate P concentration ranged from 4 mg/liter to 38 mg/liter. There was no significant difference in yield due to SSP and LF. Across all treatments, mean fresh mass was 36 g, mean dry mass was 5.9 g, mean leaf area was 980 cm2, and mean bract area was 1900 cm2.

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