Growth Response, Nutrient Leaching, and Mass Balance for Potted Poinsettia. II. Phosphorus

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742-5611

Poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. ex Klotzsch `V-14 Glory') grown as single-pinched plants and received constant fertigation of Hoagland solution with N at 210 mg·L-1 of 100% NO3-N or 60% NO3-N : 40% NH4-N; P at 7.8 and 23 mg·L-1; and leaching fractions (LFs) of 0, 0.2, or 0.4. The P at 23 mg·L-1 used in this study was about half the P concentration typically provided from a 20N-4.4P-16.6K fertilizer at 200 mg·L-1 N fertigation. The total P applied via fertigation ranged from 51 mg at the 0 LF to 360 mg at the 0.4 LF. The leachate P concentration ranged from 0.2 to 46 mg·L-1. With P at 7.8 mg·L-1, the percentage of total P recovered in the leachate was 6% to 7%. At 23 mg·L-1 P fertigation, however, the total P recovered in the leachate with 60% NO3-N treatment was 2-times greater than with 100% NO3-N treatment. This result is attributed to a lower substrate pH, which resulted from NH4-N uptake and nitrification processes with 60% NO3-N fertigation. The P concentration in the recently matured leaves with 7.8 mg·L-1 P fertigation was in the normal range of 0.3% to 0.6%. Fertigation P can be reduced by up to 80% and still be sufficient for producing quality poinsettias. Reducing the fertigation P concentration is beneficial because it reduces P leaching, reduces fertilizer costs, and reduces luxury consumption.

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