Differential growth and quality responses to potassium (K) have been reported for foliage plants. Potassium deficiency is a widespread disorder on many palm species worldwide (Chase and Broschat, 1991). Under conditions of K deficiency, K from the oldest leaves is mobilized for use by the newly expanding leaves. Thus, removing potassium-deficient leaves accelerates rate of decline in Phoenix robelenii O'Brien (Broschat, 1994). The oldest leaves are more suitable for analyzing K status in coconut and Canary Island date palms (Broschat, 1997).
Although bromeliads have been widely used for indoor foliage plants or landscape decoration for decades, most research on K or other nutrient uptake in bromeliads has been done in their habitats (Benzing, 2000; Richardson et al., 2000). Published report on nutrient supply for production is presently limited. In one report, grade of Aechmea fasciata Baker was unaffected by increasing K from 50 to 150 mg/10-cm pot per month (Poole and Conover, 1976). The tropical foliage species Aglaonema commutatum Schott, however, did not respond to increased K from 80 to 320 mg/15-cm pot per month (Poole and Conover, 1977). Spathiphyllum ‘Sensation’ initially grew normally under K-deficient conditions with healthy appearance (Yeh et al., 2000).
Irregular yellowish areas on the old leaves have been observed on Guzmania lingulata (L.) Mez. ‘Cherry’. These affected plants tend to produce incurved leaves after storage. Yellow spots on old leaves have been reported as symptoms of K deficiency for palms (Broschat, 1997), Phalaenopsis (Wang, 2007), and Spathiphyllum ‘Sensation’ (Yeh et al., 2000).
No controlled studies have been conducted to characterize the specific symptoms of Guzmania K deficiency and to quantify K requirements. The objective of this study was to determine the growth, leaf anatomy, and macronutrient concentrations of Guzmania lingulata ‘Cherry’ under various solution K concentrations.
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Richardson, B.A. Richardson, M.J. Scatena, F.N. McDowell, W.H. 2000 Effects of nutrient availability and other elevational changes on bromeliad populations and their invertebrate communities in a humid tropical forest in Puerto RicoJ. Trop. Ecol. 16 167 188
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Wang, Y.T. 2007 Potassium nutrition affects growth and flowering of Phalaenopsis grown in a bark mix or sphagnum moss substrate HortScience (in press).
Yeh, D.M. , Lin, L. & Wright, C.J. 2000 Effects of mineral nutrient deficiencies on leaf development, visual symptoms and shoot-root ratio of Spathiphyllum Scientia Hort. 86 223 233