Effects of Phosphorus on Shoot and Root Growth, Partitioning, and Phosphorus Utilization Efficiency in Lantana

in HortScience

This study was undertaken to critically analyze the effects of reduced phosphorus (P) on shoot and root growth, partitioning, and phosphorus utilization efficiency (PUtE) in lantana (Lantana camara ‘New Gold’). Plants were grown in a 1:1 mixture of perlite and vermiculite with complete nutrient solutions containing a range of P concentrations considered to be deficient (1 mg·L−1), low (3 and 5 mg·L−1), adequate (10 mg·L−1), and high (20 and 30 mg·L−1). Higher P supply had most dramatic effect on increasing the number of leaves and leaf surface area, subsequently leading to a disproportionate increase in shoot biomass than root biomass. Increasing P from 1 to 30 mg·L−1 linearly (P < 0.0001) increased shoot dry weight (DW) during vegetative growth, and logarithmically (P < 0.0001) during reproductive growth. Regardless of plant growth stage, biomass of roots and flowers (inflorescences) logarithmically increased (P < 0.0001) with increasing P concentrations. Plants grown with lower P allocated more biomass to roots than shoots, resulting in a higher root-to-shoot ratio. Increasing P concentration to 20 mg·L−1 increased the accumulation of P in all plant parts, but predominantly in shoots, whereas further increasing the concentration increased the accumulation primarily in roots and flowers. Higher P accumulation in plant tissues did not strongly contribute to the biomass production. Phosphorus utilization efficiency was higher with lower P supply in all plant tissues. P-deficient roots had the highest PUtE and specific root length (SRL), and retained higher proportion of P compared with nondeficient roots. Our results indicate that P concentration at 20 mg·L−1 is sufficient to maintain optimal vegetative growth while reproductive growth does not require P concentrations over 10 mg·L−1 as it stimulates greater level of P accumulation in plant parts with little or no effect on growth and flowering, and biomass accumulation in lantana.

Contributor Notes

This research was supported by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), and Multistate Hatch project NC-1186 (accession number 224879).

We thank Craig Okazaki and Ronald Matsuda for greenhouse assistance in conducting the experiments, Russell Yost for equipment support, and Leilani Nursery for plant material.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Assistant Professor.

Visiting Scholar.

Current address: State Key Laboratory for Conservation and Utilization of Subtropical Agro-Bioresources, Root Biology Center, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou 510642, PR China.

Corresponding author. E-mail: hjikim@purdue.edu.

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    Effects of P supply on plant growth of lantana. Plants were grown for 7 weeks with P concentrations at 1, 3, 5, 10, 20, or 30 mg·L−1. (A) Pictures showing differential growth of lantana at 3 weeks and at 7 weeks after transplanting. (B) Changes in vegetative and reproductive parameters over the course of production. Data shown are means of at least six plants.

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    The effects of P supply on the dry biomass of whole plant, shoots, roots, and flowers, and root-to-shoot ratio of lantana at (A) 3 weeks (vegetative stage) and (B) 7 weeks (reproductive stage) after transplanting. Linear or logarithmic regression analysis was used to response correlations. The regression line was fitted through the data for 3 weeks (A) in whole plant (y = 0.12x + 2.20, P < 0.0001); shoots (y = 0.10x + 1.53, P < 0.0001); and roots [y = 0.18ln(x) + 0.50, P < 0.0001], and for 7 weeks (B) in whole plant [y = 3.49ln(x) + 2.69, P < 0.0001]; shoots [y = 2.55ln(x) + 1.82, P < 0.0001]; roots [y = 0.59ln(x) + 0.76, P < 0.0001]; and flowers [y = 0.40ln(x) + 0.08, P < 0.0001].

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    The effects of P on allometric coefficient (K) of root-to-shoot ratio. The plants were fertigated with a half-strength Hoagland’s nutrient solution containing 1, 3, 5, 10, 20, or 30 mg·L−1 P on a regular basis. Data were collected at 3 and 7 weeks after transplanting. Mean values with different letters are significantly different (P < 0.05). The regression lines were fitted through the data for 1 mg·L−1 (y = 0.32x + 0.06) as shown in dotted line; 10 mg·L−1 (y = 0.23x + 0.30) in dashed line; and 30 mg·L−1 (y = 0.21x + 0.43) in solid line.

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    The effects of P supply on (A) the average biomass of individual flower head, (B) the number of flowers per unit area, (C) the number of branches per unit area, and (D) the number of leaves per unit area in lantana. The top panel shows the size of flower (inflorescence) and the size and number of individual florets (left to right: 22, 25, 25, 29, 29, and 28). The plants were fertigated with a half-strength Hoagland’s nutrient solution containing 1, 3, 5, 10, 20, or 30 mg·L−1 P on a regular basis. Data were collected at 7 weeks after transplanting. Data shown are means ± se of at least six plants. Mean values with different letters are significantly different (P < 0.05).

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    The effects of P supply on P allocation (left column) and dry biomass accumulation (right column) in whole plant, shoots, roots, and flower of lantana. The plants were fertigated with a half-strength Hoagland’s nutrient solution containing 1, 3, 5, 10, 20, or 30 mg·L−1 P on a regular basis and harvested at 7 weeks after transplanting. Solid lines indicate logarithmic fits to the respective data (P < 0.05).

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