Response of Zonal and Ivy Geraniums to Root Medium pH

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  • 1 Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, 625 Agriculture Mall Drive, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2010

Three cultivars each of zonal geranium (Pelargonium ×hortorum `Candy Lavender', `Fireball', and `Patriot Red') and ivy geraniums (Pelargonium pelatum `Global Deep Lilac', `Global Salmon Rose', and `Global Soft Pink') were grown in root media with pHs varying from 4.3 to 7.8. In Expt. 1, a mixture of sphagnum peat, fine perlite, and fine pine bark was modified with limestone and hydrated lime at the following rates: 0, 1.2, 3.0, 4.7, and 11.9 kg·m–3 limestone; 11.9 limestone plus 5.9 hydrated lime; 11.9 limestone plus 8.3 hydrated lime; and 11.9 kg·m–3 limestone plus 10.7 kg·m–3 hydrated lime to give the various root medium pH treatments. Plants were grown for 11 weeks in glass greenhouses. In Expt. 2, plants were grown in two commercial soilless mixes with one being modified with the addition of 0 kg·m–3 limestone, 6.0 kg·m–3 limestone plus 0.6 kg·m–3 hydrated lime, and 6.0 kg·m–3 limestone plus 2.4 kg·m–3 hydrated lime. In both experiments, greatest dry weight was recorded in zonal and ivy geraniums plants grown at root medium pHs above 6.4. This study showed a root medium pH of 6.4 to 6.5 should be recommended for the greenhouse production of both zonal and ivy geraniums.

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