Root Restriction Effects on Growth and Development of Salvia (Salvia splendens)

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  • 1 Department of Horticulture, Georgia Station, University of Georgia, Griffin, GA 30223

Container size can affect the growth and development of bedding plants. The effects of widely differing container sizes on growth and development of salvia (Salvia splendens F. Sellow ex Roem. & Schult.) were quantified. Plants were grown in a greenhouse in 7.3-, 55-, 166-, and 510-mL containers. Container volume affected plant growth as early as 18 days after planting. Growth was positively correlated with pot size and differences increased throughout most of the growing period. Growth of the plants in the 7.3-mL cells was reduced because of a low net assimilation rate (4.34 g·m-2·d-1), compared to the plants in the 55-, 166-, and 510-mL pots (≈5.44 g·m-2·d-1). Plants in 510-mL containers grew faster than those in 55- and 166-mL containers because of a higher leaf area ratio. Both lateral branching and leaf expansion were suppressed by root restriction and flowering was delayed. The growth rate of plants in 166-mL pots declined after the onset of flowering, and final plant size was comparable for plants in 55- and 166-mL pots. Although water deficit stress or nutrient deficiencies cannot be excluded as contributing factors, these were probably not the main reason for observed differences.

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