Response to Phosphorus Availability during Vegetative and Reproductive Growth of Chrysanthemum: II. Biomass and Phosphorus Dynamics

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Department of Horticulture, The Pennsylvania State University, 103 Tyson Building, University Park, PA 16802

Whole-plant biomass accumulation, P dynamics, and root-shoot interactions during transition from vegetative to reproductive growth of `Coral Charm' chrysanthemum (Dendranthema ×grandiflorum Ramat.) (Zander, 1993) were investigated over a range of P concentrations considered to be deficient (1 μm), adequate (100 μm), and high (5 mm). In nondeficient plants, transition from vegetative to reproductive growth resulted in reduced relative growth rate and root and shoot biomass accumulation. Reproductive plants showed a higher commitment of the whole plant to the production of developing flowers than to leaves and roots, whereas, in vegetative plants, the highest component production rate was in leaves. This indicates changes in the source-sink relationships during transition from vegetative growth making developing flowers stronger sinks for photoassimilates than roots. Phosphorus allocated to developing flowers was predominantly lost from leaves. Phosphorus-deficient plants showed characteristic P-deficiency symptoms and favored root growth over shoot growth regardless of growth stage. Phosphorus availability in nondeficient plants affected root growth more than shoot growth. No substantial differences in shoot biomass production, relative growth rate, and CO2 assimilation rates were observed in adequate-P and high-P plants. However, the root component production rate, root to shoot ratio, root length ratio, specific root length, specific root area, root mass to leaf area ratio, and root respiration increased in adequate-P plants compared with high-P plants, which indicates that high root activity was maintained without affecting shoot biomass in buffered P conditions. Our results suggest that the high P concentrations used in many horticultural systems may have no benefit in terms of shoot growth and may actually be detrimental to root growth.

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