Nutrition Affects Pre- and Posttransplant Growth of Impatiens and Petunia Plugs

in HortTechnology
Authors:
M.W. van Iersel Department of Horticulture, Georgia Station, University of Georgia, 1109 Experiment Street, Griffin, GA 30223-1797

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P.A. Thomas Department of Horticulture, Georgia Station, University of Georgia, 1109 Experiment Street, Griffin, GA 30223-1797

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R.B. Beverly Department of Horticulture, Georgia Station, University of Georgia, 1109 Experiment Street, Griffin, GA 30223-1797

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J.G. Latimer Department of Horticulture, Georgia Station, University of Georgia, 1109 Experiment Street, Griffin, GA 30223-1797

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H.A. Mills Department of Horticulture, Georgia Station, University of Georgia, 1109 Experiment Street, Griffin, GA 30223-1797

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Pre- and posttransplant growth of plug seedlings is affected by the nutrition of the plants. The effects of weekly applications of nutrient solution with different N (8-32 mm) or P and K (0.25-1.0 mm) levels on the growth and nutrient composition of impatiens (Impatiens wallerana Hook. f.) and petunia (Petunia ×hybrida hort. Vilm.-Andr.) plug seedlings were quantified. Impatiens and petunia pretransplant seedling growth was most rapid with a \batchmode \documentclass[fleqn,10pt,legalpaper]{article} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amsmath} \pagestyle{empty} \begin{document} \(\mathrm{NO}_{3}^{1}\) \end{document} concentration of 24 or 32 mm (N at 336 and 448 mg·L-1), while P and K had little effect. Increasing the N concentration in the fertilizer also increased shoot tissue N levels of both impatiens and petunia and decreased shoot P level of impatiens and K level of petunia. Posttransplant growth was most rapid in plants that received N at 16 to 32 mm. Decreasing P and K from 1 to 0.25 mm in the pretransplant fertilizer reduced posttransplant growth. Shoot P level of impatiens 15 d after transplanting decreased from 6.9 to 4.8 mg·g-1 as the pretransplant fertilizer N concentration increased from 8 to 32 mm, while N level increased from 18 to 28 mg·g-1 as P and K fertilizer concentrations increased from 0.25 to 1 mm. Using posttransplant growth as a quantitative norm for plug quality, the sufficiency ranges for tissue N level are 28 to 40 mg·g-1 for impatiens and 30 to 43 mg·g-1 for petunia plugs. These results indicate that fertilization programs for high-quality plug production should focus on N nutrition, and that plugs can be grown with greatly reduced levels of P and K.

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