Influence of Light Intensity on Optimum Fertilization Rate in Five Species of Tropical Ornamental Plants

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  • 1 University of Florida, FLREC, 3205 College Avenue, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33314.

Five species of tropical ornamental plants—artillery fern (Pilea serpyllacea), pleomele (Dracaena reflexa), fishtail palm (Caryota mitis), areca palm (Dypsis lutescens), and sunshine palm (Veitchia mcdanielsii)—were grown in containers under full sun, 55% shade, or 73% shade. They were fertilized every 6 months with Osmocote Plus 15-9-12 (15N-4P-10K) at rates of 3, 6, 12, 18, 24, 30, and 36 g/pot (0.1, 0.2, 0.4, 0.6, 0.8, 1.1, and 1.3 oz/pot). For pleomele and the three palm species, optimum shoot dry weights and color ratings were similar among the three light intensities tested. However, artillery fern grown in full sun required fertilizer rates at least 50% higher for optimum shoot dry weight and color than under 55% or 73% shade. Light intensit × fertilizer rate interactions were highly significant for pilea and fishtail palm color and dry weight and sunshine palm and pleomele color.

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