Estimation of Daily Water Requirements for Potted Ornamental Crops

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  • 1 Associate Professor of Soil and Water Science, Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, IFAS, University of Florida, 5007 60th Street East, Bradenton, FL 34203.
  • 2 Professor of Environmental Horticulture, Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, IFAS, University of Florida, 5007 60th Street East, Bradenton, FL 34203.

Methodology was developed to estimate water requirements for production of 20 different potted ornamental plant species with practical application for water conservation in commercial operations. Water requirement prediction equations were generated using pan evaporation to estimate evaporative demand along with plant canopy height and width and flower height as input variables. Coefficients of determination (R2) for the prediction equations among plant species ranged from 0.51 to 0.91, with the lower values mostly associated with plant species with an open or less-uniform growth habit. Variation in water use among different cultivars of marigold also was associated with differences in cultivar growth habit. Estimation of the daily water requirements of potted Reiger begonia and Ficus benjamina using their developed prediction equations was compared to actual water use under common growing conditions to demonstrate the implementation of the method for plant species differing in growth habit.

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