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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DEVELOP MANAGEMENT TOOLS FOR EARLY STRESS DETECTION AND EFFICIENT AGROCHEMICAL UTILIZATION FOR PROTECTED HORTICULTURE CROPS

Location: Application Technology Research Unit

Title: Greenhouse production of Impatiens wallerana using a controlled-release fertiliser produces quality finished plants with enhanced garden performance

Authors
item Andiru, Gladys -
item Pasian, Claudio -
item Frantz, Jonathan
item Jones, Michelle -

Submitted to: Journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 16, 2012
Publication Date: March 1, 2013
Citation: Andiru, G., Pasian, C., Frantz, J., Jones, M. 2013. Greenhouse production of Impatiens wallerana using a controlled-release fertiliser produces quality finished plants with enhanced garden performance. Journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology. 88(2):216-222.

Interpretive Summary: The management of nutrients for a crop during crop production can impact the performance of those plants after production (post-sale) in consumer's hands. Therefore, the objective of this research was to evaluate the influence that slowly-solubulizing fertilizers such as "controlled release fertilier" (CRF) that are applied at the time of seedling planting on the garden performance of the popular bedding plant impatiens (cultivar 'Xtreme Scarlet'). Plants were fertilized with a complete nutrient solution using water soluble fertilizer (traditional production practices with water soluble fertilizer or WSF) or a controlled release fertilizer of two longevities (5-6 month or 8-9 month) at a rate of 5g of CRF per container. Impatiens plants were grown in a greenhouse and transplanted into the field where no fertilizer was applied to simulate general consumer practices. Plant growth, flower number, appearance, and consumer ratings were measured during two successive summers in Columbus, OH. In year one, the smaller CRF-grown plants caught up to the size of those plants grown with traditional fertility practices, but there was no difference in consumer preference among all treatments. During year two, plants grown with CRF during the greenhouse phase clearly performed better in the field that WSF grown plants. CRF-treated plants at the end of the field production phase were greener, larger, and higher consumer preference ratings than traditionally-grown plants. Growers can successfully use CRF to produce impatiens, but there may be a learning curve associated with making this switch in production practices. Growers can promote CRF use as a value-added practice that benefits consumers with enhanced garden performance.

Technical Abstract: Nutrient management during production can greatly influence post-production quality of plants. The objective of this research was to evaluate the effect of controlled release fertilizer (CRF) applied at the time of plug planting on the garden performance (post-production) of impatiens (Impatiens wallerana 'Xtreme Scarlet'). Plants were fertilized with 20-4.4-16.6 water soluble fertilizer (WSF) at a rate of 150 mg per liter N or a 16-3.9-10 controlled release fertilizer (CRF) of two longevities (5-6 month or 8-9 month) at a rate of 6.8 kg per cubic meter (5g / container). Impatiens plants were grown in a greenhouse and transplanted in the field where no fertilizer was applied. Shoot dry weight, flower number, leaf greenness, and consumer ratings were measured from plants grown during two successive summers in Columbus, OH. In year one, the smaller CRF-grown plants caught up to the size of those plants grown with traditional fertility practices, but there was no difference in consumer preference among all treatments. During year two, plants grown with CRF during the greenhouse phase clearly performed better in the field that WSF grown plants. CRF-treated plants at the end of the field phase were less chlorotic, had greater shoot dry weight and higher consumer ratings than traditionally-grown plants with water soluble fertilizer. Growers can successfully use CRF to produce impatiens, but there may be a learning curve associated with making this switch in production practices. Growers can promote CRF use as a value-added practice that benefits consumers with enhanced garden performance.

Last Modified: 11/27/2014
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