Influence of Nitrogen Source and Rate on Growth of Epipremnum aureum -Stock Plants
and Quality of Cuttings
i'a rs ton c.
R.T. Poole and A.R. Chase' i ,?
University of Florida, IFAS, SE 30 1994
Central Florida Research and Education Center-Apopl .
CFREC-Apopka Research Report RH-91-16 -ersity of Florida
Equal amounts of nitrogen from ammonium (NH4) and nitrate (N~3)-sources were
previously recommended for production of good quality acclimatized foliage plants (4) based
on research with other ornamental crops. Research with foliage plants has now shown that
response to nitrogen (N) source does vary, but most genera produced acceptable quality
plants regardless of N source (1, 2, 6). These results led researchers to conclude that N
source could most often be determined, for the majority of foliage plant genera, based
primarily on economic considerations (5), since NH4 and urea are less expensive than NO3.
The two experiments described here were conducted to determine influence of N source on
growth of Epipremnum aureum (golden pothos) stock plants and cutting production.
Experiment 1, a 3 x 3 factorial test with 10 replications, tested influence of 3 N
sources at 3 application rates on growth of golden pothos stock plants and cuttings. Research
was initiated 13 April 1990 when rooted cuttings were planted in 6 inch pots containing
Vergro container mix A (Verlite Co., Tampa, FL 33680) amended with 1 lb/yd2 Micromax
(Grace-Sierra Co., Milpitas, CA 95035). The plants were maintained in a greenhouse where
light intensity did not exceed 2500 ft-c and minimum and maximum temperatures were 70F
and 90F, respectively. Overhead irrigation was used to water plants twice a week. Plants
were fertilized once per week, using liquid stock solutions, applied 50 ml/ pot, with one of
the two irrigations per week. The nine fertilizer treatments are listed in Table 1.
Electrical conductivity (mmhos/cm) of leachate was measured initially on 27 April and
again on 20 June 1990, 6 days before cuttings were harvested. Stock plants were graded on
19 June 1990 based on a scale of 1 = poor growth, few cuttings produced, 3 = fair growth,
average number of cuttings produced, and 5 = vigorous growth, many cuttings produced.
Cuttings were taken on 26 June 1990 and rooted, 10 per 6 inch pot, 5 pots per
treatment, using Vergro Container Mix A (Verlite Co., Tampa, FL 33680). The cuttings
were placed on a mist bench in a greenhouse receiving 1400 ft-c maximum and top-dressed
with 6 g 19-6-12 Osmocote (Grace-Sierra Co., Milpitas, CA 95035) per pot. On 19 July the
'Professor of Plant Physiology and Professor of Plant Pathology respectively, Central Florida
Research and Education Center Apopka, 2807 Binion Road, Apopka, FL 32703.
cuttings were graded based on a scale of 1 = dead, 3 = moderate growth and 5 = excellent
growth. Experiment 1 was terminated on 19 July 1990.
Experiment 2 differed from experiment 1 in the time and place plants were grown and
propagated, and the type of data recorded. Research was initiated 8 August 1990 and
terminated 29 January 1991. Golden pothos stock plants were maintained in a greenhouse
under a maximum of 1500 ft-c because of the lower light levels occurring during fall and
winter months compared to spring and summer in central Florida. The number of nodes per
vine, the number of vines and the number of cuttings produced by the stock plants were
recorded on 26 September and again on 6 November 1990. Plants were also assigned a plant
grade, based on the scale described above, on 5 November and 28 December 1990.
Electrical conductivity was measured on 30 August, 27 September and 2 November
1990. Cuttings obtained from the stock plants on 5 November 1990 were graded 31
December 1990 and those obtained on 18 December 1990 were graded on 29 January 1991.
The cuttings were graded based on the same scale used in experiment 1.
Nitrogen source did not influence golden pothos stock plant or cutting grade when
plants were grown in the summer months (Table 2); however, stock plants and cuttings were
affected by N rate, with the best plants and cuttings receiving the highest N rate. The lowest
application rate (12.5 mg N/6 inch pot/week) produced poor quality stock plants, which
yielded so few cuttings that cutting grade for the cuttings harvested from these stock plants
was not determined (Table 2). Electrical conductivity (jmhos/cm) of the leachate was
related to N source, with plants receiving N solely from NH4 having higher electrical
conductivity levels. Electrical conductivity also rose as N rate increased.
Growth of golden pothos stock plants in experiment 2, during the fall and winter
months, was clearly affected by N rate, as in experiment 1. Plants receiving the highest
rate, 112.5 g N/6 inch pot, had more vines and number of nodes per vine compared to plants
treated with the two lower application rates (Table 3). Cutting grade increased greatly when
N rate was increased from 12.5 to 62.5 mg N/6 inch pot, but did not respond to a further
increase, from 62.5 to 112.5 mg N/6 inch pot. Electrical conductivity (jmhos/cm) of the
leachate rose as N rate increased.
Plants grown during cool weather were slightly influenced by N Source (Table 3).
Number of vines produced per plant was not significantly affected, but the number of nodes
per vine decreased when plants received only NO3. Cutting grades of plants receiving NO3
were slightly higher than cuttings from stock plants receiving NH4 or NH4NO3. As in
experiment 1, electrical conductivity of the leachate was higher from plants receiving only
NH4 (Table 4).
Wiedenfeld (7) reported that when Ficus benjamin were grown with various N
sources, the lowest N concentrations were found in tissue of plants receiving NOa-N, even
though all N sources produced plants of similar dry weight. Tsujita et al. (4) found
chrysanthemums receiving NO3 under winter light intensity had improved keeping quality and
higher levels of soluble carbohydrates. The slower growth of golden pothos grown in
experiment 2, under the winter light intensity, and receiving only NO3 could have
accumulated less nitrogen in plant tissue compared to plants getting NH4NO3 or only NH4,
and therefore grew slower.
Gilliam and Wright (3) found N concentration in Ilex crenata tissue steadily increased
until a concentration point was reached, then a new flush of growth began and N
concentration in tissue gradually decreased until growth stopped. Rein et al. (7) found a
decrease in percent rooting of Ilex crenata 'Rotundifolia' cuttings was due to increases in
shoot growth activity and decreased tissue maturation. Cuttings from golden pothos stock
plants grown in experiment 2 with NO3 only received higher grades possibly because mature
tissue has a higher carbohydrate:nitrogen ratio compared to immature tissue.
Overall, N source had very little effect of growth of golden pothos and on grade of
cuttings taken from these plants. Although some NO3 is advisable for stock plants during the
cool months, N rate appears to be much more important than N source in golden pothos
production. Best plants and cuttings were produced with 112.5 mg N/6 inch pot/week.
1. Conover, C.A. and R.T. Poole. 1986. Nitrogen source effects on growth and tissue
content of selected foliage plants. HortScience 21(4): 1008-1009.
2. Conover, C.A. and R.T. Poole. 1986. Effects of nitrogen source and potting media
on growth of Chamaedorea elegans, Dieffenbachia maculata 'Camille' and Peperomia
obtusifolia. Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc. 99:282-284.
3. Gilliam, C.H. and R.D. Wright. 1978. Effects of three nitrogen levels on tissue
fluctuation during a flush of growth on 'Helleri' Holly (Ilex crenata Thunb.).
6. Tsujita, M.J., D.C. Kiplinger and H.K. Tayama. 1974. The effects of nitrogen
nutrition, temperature and light intensity on the growth, flowering, quality and
chemical composition of Indianapolis Yellow Chrysanthemum. HortScience 9:294
7. Wiedenfeld, R.P. 1985. Nitrogen loss and plant responses of Ficus benjamin to
different fertilizer sources applied preplant. HortScience 20(4):720-722.
Table 1. Fertilizer formulation and application rate for the nine treatments applied in
experiments 1 and 2.
Fertilizer formulation % Nitrogen source mg N/6" pot/week
(NH4)2SO4, KCL, H3PO4 100% NH4 12.5
(NH4)2SO4, KCL, H3PO4 100% NH4 62.5
(NH4)2SO4, KCL, H3PO4 100% NH4 112.5
NH4NO3, KCL, H3P04 50% NH4 : 50% NO3 12.5
NH4NO3, KCL, H3PO4 50% NH4 : 50% NO3 62.5
NH4NO3, KCL, H3PO4 50% NH4 : 50% NO3 112.5
KNO3, NaNO3, Ca(NO3)2, KCL3, H3PO4 100% NO3 12.5
KNO3, NaNO3, Ca(N03)2, KCL3, H3PO4 100% N03 62.5
KNO3, NaNO3, Ca(N03)2, KCL3, H3PO4 100% NO3 112.5
Table 2. Plant grade, cutting grade and electrical conductivity (j/mhos) of medium
leachate of Epipremnum aureum stock plants grown in Experiment 1, from 13
April until 20 June 1990.
j/mhos/cm grade" grader
27 Apr 20 June 19 June 19 July
NH4 1183aw 1040a 3.4a 4.8a
NH4N03 915b 395b 3.2a 4.6a
NO3 890b 483b 3.2a 4.5a
mg N/6" pot/week
12.5 904 347 2.2 NAv
62.5 1016 587 3.4 4.4
112.5 1067 984 4.2 4.8
linear ns ** ** **
quadratic ns ns ns ns
z.tnrt- nlantc wra orndrrl hmeprd nn n qa al nf 1 = nnnr ornuth fpur rmttinac nrrMrued =
Table 3. Influence of nitrogen source and rate on growth and cutting response of
Epipremnum aureum, experiment 2 (13 August until 31 December 1990).
Number of vines Number of nodes gradez
26 Sept. 6 Nov. 26 Sept. 6 Nov. 31 Dec.
NH4 1.8a" 5.6a 8.0a 19.2a 3.5a
NI4N03 1.7a 5.6a 7. la 19.2a 3.4a
NO 1.6a 5.6a 6.8a 15.9b 3.9b
mg N/6" pot/week
12.5 1.6 5.1 6.1 13.2 2.5
62.5 1.6 5.6 6.9 18.9 4.2
112.5 2.0 6.1 6.8 22.2 4.2
linear ns ** ** **
quadratic ns ns ns ns **
zCutting grade based on a scale of 1 = no growth, 3 = moderate growth 5 = excellent
YFertilizer source and rate see Table 1.
xMean separation in rows by Duncan's multiple range test, 5% level.
"ns, *, **; Nonsignificant, significant at P = 0.05 and P = 0.01 respectively.
*IJ1./.IL.1 -r. AL4IJLjL ti 0I llflUVJ*.11! ..lJLVkVV S I.I IUml *41.t. 0* .l %a ILaLL tfIIU I.tLaJ I.V nbljJ. *h] V.I
leachate from pots containing Epipremnum aureum, experiment 2 (13 August
until 31 December 1990).
30 Aug. 27 Sept. 2 Nov.
NH4 1723ay 1883b 1829b
NH4N03 1711a 943a 852a
NO3 1764a 1166a 911a
12.5 1632 624 466
62.5 1662 1106 935
112.5 1903 2262 2192
linear ns ** **
quadratic ns **
zNitrogen source and rate see Table 1.
YMean separation in columns by Duncan's multiple range test, 5% level.
xns, *, **; Nonsignificant and significant at P = 0.05 or P = 0.01, respectively.