Silica Sprays Reduce the Incidence and Severity of Bract Necrosis in Poinsettia

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  • 1 Department of Plant Science, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269-4067

Silica sprays (Na2SiO3 or SiO2·nH2O) markedly reduced the incidence and severity of bract necrosis (BN) of Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. cv. Supjibi Red compared to plants not sprayed with silica. BN has been associated with low Ca concentrations or high K: Ca ratios in tissues of bract margins. Silica had no effect on Ca or K concentrations in bract margin tissues, and BN was not associated with the macro- or micronutrient composition of bract margin tissues. Sixteen days after initial anthesis, nontreated and deionized-water-sprayed poinsettias developed a higher incidence of BN than did plants sprayed with Na2SiO3 or CaCl2. However, sprays of 3.56, 5.34, and 7.12 mm Na2SiO3 were as effective as 9.98 mm CaCl2 sprays in protecting against BN of `Supjibi Red' and `Angelika White' bracts for up to 30 days after initial anthesis. `Supjibi Red' developed a higher incidence of bract necrosis than did `Angelika White', but both cultivars showed a similar response to the treatments and similar symptoms of necrosis. In both cultivars, initial symptoms appeared as small necrotic lesions on bracts at the looped ends of lateral veins that displayed a closed-vein pattern after the plants reached initial anthesis.

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