t Intensity and Fertilizer Rate Affect Growth of Syngonium podophyllum
R.T. Poole and C.A. Conover' stonen c ;
University of Florida, IFAS
Central Florida Research and Education Center Apopka
CFREC Apopka Research Report, RH-91-17
IJiversitiy of Fl
Syngonium podophyllum Schott. nephthytiss) is a popular indoor foliage -lant" '"
produced in a wide range of container sizes. Small nephthytis plants, grown in 3 inch pots,
are included in dish gardens and terrariums, while bigger plants, grown in larger pots or
hanging baskets, are used in groupings, or alone as accent plants. Cultivars available today
include 'White Butterfly', 'Lemon Lime', 'Emerald Green' and 'Pixie'. A new cultivar,
'Pink Allusion', closely resembles 'White Butterfly' in growth habit and general size and
appearance. Both 'Pink Allusion' and 'White Butterfly' have upright growth habits with sel
heading stems, which produce thick bushy plants. Leaves of both cultivars are mostly whites
gradually becoming light green toward leaf edges, with slim irregular dark green borders;
however, 'Pink Allusion' leaves have pink veins in leaf centers which do not fade as leaves
In a recent test, 'White Butterfly' were grown under 1000 ft-c or 3500 ft-c with a
wide range of fertilizer levels, 4.9 to 19.50 g 19-6-12/6 inch pots/3 months. Good quality
plants were produced with 3500 ft-c and all fertilizer rates except 4.9 g/6 inch pot, the
lowest rate tested. Interactions between light and fertilizer did not occur. Current light
intensity, 1500-3000 ft-c, and fertilizer rate recommendations, 4.2 g/ 19-6-12 6 inch pot/3
months (1500 lb N/A/yr), for production of good quality acclimatized Syngonium
podophyllum, are based on research with cultivars other than 'Pink Allusion'. The following
experiment was conducted to determine an optimum light intensity and fertilizer rate for
60 or 75% shade so that the maximum light intensities plants received were 4500 to 5500 ft-
c, 2500 to 3500 ft-c or 1000 to 1500 ft-c, respectively. Temperatures in the shadehouse
ranged from 70 to 95F during the time this experiment was conducted. Plants were watered
overhead 3 times a week. On 15 July 1991 plants were top-dressed with 19-6-12 Osmocote
(Grace/Sierra Co., Milpitas, CA 95035) at rates of 4, 8 or 12 g/6 inch pot/3 months.
On 11 September, after plants had reached salable size, plant height and grade were
determined. Height was measured in inches from surface of the potting medium to top of
upright stems. Plant grade was judged based on a scale of 1 = poor quality, unsalable, 3 =
fair quality, salable and 5 = excellent quality plants.
Results and Discussion
Height of 'Pink Allusion' nephthytis was unaffected by light intensity or fertilizer rate
(Table 1). However, plant quality, as determined by plant grades, increased as light intensity
decreased, with the best quality plants receiving the lowest light intensity tested, 1000 to
1500 ft-c. Plant quality was also affected by fertilizer rate and increased as fertilization level
rose, with best quality plants grown with 12 g/6 inch pot/3 months, the highest fertilizer
level tested. However, there was not a great difference in plant quality between plants
receiving different fertilizer rates, and quality of all plants tested was adequate to ensure
salability. There were no interactions between light intensity and fertilizer rate for plant
height or plant grade.
Results of this test show best quality 'Pink Allusion' received light levels within the
lower part of the range (1500-3000 ft-c) previously recommended for good quality nephthytis
production. Fertilizer rates producing the highest quality plants were 8 to 12 g 19-6-12/6
inch pot/3 months, higher than the 4.2 g/6 inch pot rate currently recommended for good
quality nephthytis production.
Many factors, including time of year, product cost, the effects of fertilization levels
on plant longevity indoors and environmental contamination from excess fertilizer in
irrigation runoff, must be weighed before producers can choose the best fertilization schedule
for a particular crop. In this instance, even though the best quality plants were fertilized
with 12 g/6 inch pot/3 months, the best 19-6-12 3 month fertilizer application rate for
production of 'Pink Allusion', taking into consideration the factors influencing production
regimes mentioned above, would probably be 8 g/6 inch pot during hot weather. Optimum
fertilization rate would probably be slightly lower in cooler weather when plant growth is
1. Chase, A.R. and R.T. Poole. 1987. Effect of fertilizer, temperature, and light level
on growth of Syngonium podophyllum 'White Butterfly'. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci.
V UIIV% / l. CVVIUlU JVJ* W III" t UI WL| AXA. UA l-I W. & tA A%,TO AVPlW. V A* -aU
production as influenced by fertilizer and temperature. The Fla. Nurseryman
3. Conover, C.A. and R.T. Poole. 1990. Light and fertilizer recommendations for
production of acclimatized potted foliage plants. Nursery Digest 24(10):34-36, 58-5
4. Poole, R.T. and C.A. Conover. 1977. Nutritional studies of three foliage plants.
SNA Nursery Res. J. 1(2):17-26.
5. Poole, R.T. and C.A. Conover. 1986. Growth of Cissus, Dracaena and Syngonim
at different fertilizer, irrigation and soil temperatures. Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.
Height (cm) and plant grade of Syngonium podophyllum 'Pink Allusion' grown
with various light intensities and fertilizer rates from 5 July until 11 September
Light Intensity (ft-c) Height (inches)z Plant gradeY
4500 5500 7.7 3.4
2500 3500 8.0 4.0
1000- 1500 7.8 4.2
linear ns **
quadratic ns ns
19-6-12, g/6 inch pot
4 7.8 3.6
8 7.8 3.9
12 8.0 4.1
linear ns *
quadratic ns ns
zHeight (inches) measured from top of medium to top of tallest upright stem.
YPlant grade based on a scale of 1 = poor quality, unsalable, 3 = fair quality, salable and 5
= excellent quality plants.
"ns, *, **; Results nonsignificant, significant at P = 0.05 and P = 0.01, respectively.