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Open access

Richard T. Poole and Charles A. Conover

Abstract

Method of fertilization application and leaching had little effect on response of Dieffenbachia maculata (Lodd.) G. Don ‘Perfection’ (dumbcane) and Brassaia actinophylla Endl. (schefflera). The recommended fertilizer rate increased top but reduced root growth. Plants utilized 5 to 10% more water when leached. In a second experiment, plant grade and vegetative growth decreased with a decrease in the fertilizer rate but root grade and growth increased. Plants growing in the peat/sand (3:1) potting medium were rated superior to plants in the peat/bark/shavings (2:1:1) medium. Leaching with 10% excess water or fertilizer solution slightly improved plant response of schefflera, but overall data indicate leaching of pots is unnecessary for short term foliage crops fertilized properly. Increased fertilizer rates increased water utilization efficiency and vegetative growth, but reduced root growth.

Open access

Richard T. Poole and Richard W. Henley

Abstract

Fertilizer levels of 500-220-400 and 750-330-600 mg/liter N-P-K reduced growth of Brassaia, Chamaedorea and Peperomia when compared to 250-110-200 mg/liter but had no effect on Philodendron and Maranta. As fertilization level increased, pH of the leachate decreased and soluble salts increased. As fertilizer level increased, leachate increased from pots with Brassaia and Peperomia and to a lesser extent from Maranta and leachate from Philodendron and Chamaedorea were similar. Fertilizer of 800-360-680 mg/liter N-P-K reduced fresh weight and root grade of Peperomia and Brassaia. Amount of leachate doubled as fertilizer and volume of water applied increased.

Full access

Jianjun Chen, Dennis B. McConnell, Cynthia A. Robinson, Russell D. Caldwell, and Yingfeng Huang

Three composts, derived from municipal solid waste with biosolids, yard trimmings, and yard trimmings with biosolids, were mixed by volume with sphagnum peat and pine bark to formulate 12 substrates. After characterizing physical and chemical properties, the substrates, along with a control, were used for rooting single eye cuttings of pothos (Epipremnum aureum) and terminal cuttings of maranta (Maranta leuconeura) and schefflera (Schefflera arboricola) in enclosed polyethylene tents. All cuttings initiated roots with no significant difference in root numbers per cutting 14 days after sticking, but root lengths 21 days and root-ball coverage ratings 45 days after sticking were significantly affected by substrates. Five of 12 compost-formulated substrates resulted in root lengths of cuttings equal to or longer than the control. In addition to desirable physical properties such as bulk density, total porosity, and air space, common chemical characteristics of the five substrates included low concentration of mineral elements, initial electrical conductivity ≤3.0 dS·m-1 based on the pour through extraction method, and pH between 3.8 to 5.0. The five substrates were formulated by combining composted municipal solid waste with biosolids or yard trimmings with biosolids volumetrically at 20% or less or composted yard trimmings at 50% or less with equal volumes of sphagnum peat and pine bark.

Open access

C.A. Conover and R.T. Poole

Abstract

Six potting media (Metro Mix 200, 300, 350, 500, 2 sedge peatmoss : 1 pine bark : 1 cypress shavings (by volume) and 3 sedge peatmoss : 1 mason sand (v/v) were compacted at 0, 0.1, 0.2, or 0.3 kg·cm−2. Noncapillary pore space was reduced in all media at 0.1 kg·cm−2 as compared to 0 pressure, but increasing compaction pressure had more effect on 2:1:1 than on 3:1 or Metro Mixes. Pilea pubescens Liebm. ‘Silver Tree’ and Dracaena sanderana Hort. Sander ex M. T. Mast. were used in two additional experiments where the six media were combined factorially with compaction pressures of 0.1 and 0.2 kg·cm−2 and irrigation rates of two or four applications/week. Both genera were affected more by potting media and irrigation levels than by compaction, with best plants generally produced in Metro Mixes receiving the higher irrigation level.

Free access

Jianjun Chen, Russell D. Caldwell, Cynthia A. Robinson, and Bob Steinkamp

Silicon (Si) is the second most-abundant element in soils, and its concentration in soil solution ranges from 0.1 to 0.6 mm, which is the same concentration range as some of the major nutrient elements such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and sulfur. Increasing evidence has recently suggested that Si plays important roles in improving plant growth. However, little information is available on Si effects on container-grown ornamental plants, particularly since most are grown in soilless media where Si sources are greatly limited. The objectives of this research were to evaluate Si absorption and translocation in diverse container-grown ornamental plants and to determine whether Si absorption could improve plant growth. Liners from 39 plant species were potted in peat and pine bark-based soilless media and grown in a shaded greenhouse. Plants were fertigated with a Peter's 24–8–16 water-soluble fertilizer containing 0, 50, and 100 mg·L–1 of Si. Once marketable sizes were reached, plants were harvested and fresh and dry weights determined; Si and other nutrient elements in roots and shoots were measured. Results indicated that 32 of the 39 evaluated species were able to absorb Si, with large quantities further transported to shoots. Of the 32 Si-responsive species, 17 showed significant dry weight increases, whereas the other 15 only exhibited Si absorption and translocation with no apparent growth responses. The seven non-responsive plant species showed no significant increases in neither Si absorption and translocation, nor dry weight.

Full access

Alan W. Meerow

Growth of Ravenea rivularis Jumelle and Perrier (majesty palm) and `Lady Jane' Anthurium Schott was compared in container media, using as a primary organic component sphagnum peat, sedge peat, or coir dust. Growth index and shoot and root dry weights of majesty palm were significantly higher in the coir than the sedge peat medium. Growth index and shoot dry weight were only marginally higher for the anthurium in the coir vs. sedge peat medium, and root dry weights were comparable. Both crops grew equally well in the coir and the sphagnum peat medium. The sedge peat medium had the most air porosity and the least water-holding capacity of the three media at the initiation of the trials, but at termination showed a reversal of these parameters. The coir medium showed the least change in these parameters over 8 months. High-quality coir dust appears to be an acceptable substitute for sphagnum or sedge peat in soilless container media.

Open access

Thomas M. Blessington and Conrad B. Link

Abstract

Soil drenches of alpha-cyclopropyl-alpha-(p-methoxyphenyl)-5-pyrimidinemethanol (ancymidol) were applied 2 weeks after planting to Brassaia actinophylla Endl., X Fatshedera lizei (Cochet) Guillaum, Philodendron scandens Subsp. oxycardium (Schott) Bunt., and Tradescantia fluminensis Vell, at concentrations of 0. 0.25, 0.5, and 1.0 mg/15 cm pot to retard their growth and elongation while growing in a greenhouse under specific acclimatization procedures. Several months later the plants were placed in a controlled environment room under variable artificial light intensities (270, 540, 1080 lux) and after a 6-week period were evaluated as decorative materials. All plants treated with ancymidol, except Brassaia, showed decreased internodal length, were more compact in growth habit and displayed more intense color than those untreated. Ancymidol treatments maintained the decrease in internodal length at all light intensities for Tradescantia, Philodendron and Fatshedera with the greatest decrease evident at the highest (1.0 mg/pot) concentration. Only Brassaia exhibited leaf drop and no phytotoxicity was noted on any ancymidol treated plants.

Free access

Melinda S. Conner and Gerald Klingaman

Studies were undertaken to compare plant growth and water use in a new commercially produced media that contained a hydrophilic polymer combined with a traditional peat-lite media. Rooted cuttings of nephytis, spathiphyllum, parlor palm, pothos, corn plant, `Dallas' fern, and gold dust dracaena were planted into 15cm plastic pots containing either a peat-lite media or the media with hydrophilic polymer. Both mediums were amended with 2.4 kg/m3 gypsum and then treatments of 0, 1.5, or 3 kg/m3 of dolomitic limestone were added. Plant height, width, growth index, top fresh weight and dry weight were measured. Preliminary tests indicated that the media with the hydrophilic polymer performed better with slow-release fertilizer than a constant liquid fertilization program. Plant growth appeared to be optimum at the 0 or 1.5 kg/m3 rate of dolomite. Plants grown in the media with the hydrophilic polymer produced plants of comparable quality to those in the peat-lite media.

Open access

C. A. Conover and R. T. Poole

Abstract

Brassaia actinophylla Endl. and Dieffenbachia maculata (Lodd.) G. Don ‘Perfection’ were grown under 0.5, 1.0 or 2.0 klx Cool White fluorescent light for 1 year in in anterior environment. Growth increased as light level increasede Increasing rate of fertilizer application from liquid or slow release fertilizer had no effect on growth at 0.5 klx, but a large effect at 2.0 klx. Influence of light and fertilizer levels on elemental tissue content is discussed.