Submitted to: Greenhouse Grower Magazine
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 3, 2010
Publication Date: February 1, 2011
Citation: Frantz, J., Locke, J.C. 2011. Using Si in floriculture fertility programs. Greenhouse Grower Magazine. Feb 2011. Technical Abstract: Silicon (Si) is not considered to be an essential plant nutrient because most plant species can complete their life cycle without it. A clear benefit of Si for many ornamental crops has been reported including improved salt and drought tolerance, especially during post-harvest environments; stronger, thicker stems in some cut flowers; partial pythium resistance in some seedlings; and reduced aphid population growth rates on zinnia. We report here on observations of improved powdery mildew resistance in zinnia, phlox, cucumber, and sunflower and alleviation of copper toxicity in zinnia, snapdragons, and the model plant Arabidopsis. Si is not, however, a cure-all. The extent of control of some pests that Si provides may not justify commercial application of Si, for example, and another lab observed no benefit from supplemental Si in the control of mealy bugs on ficus. This report reviews some of the information on the role of Si in ornamental plant growth and how Si might be applied in a commercial setting.