Group Title: CFREC-Apopka research report - Central Florida Research and Education Center-Apopka ; RH-90-16
Title: Effects of light intensity and fertilizer formulation on six foliage plants growing indoors
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00065860/00001
 Material Information
Title: Effects of light intensity and fertilizer formulation on six foliage plants growing indoors
Series Title: CFREC-Apopka research report
Physical Description: 5 p. : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Poole, R. T ( Richard Turk )
Conover, Charles Albert, 1934-
Central Florida Research and Education Center--Apopka
Publisher: University of Florida, IFAS, Central Florida Research and Education Center-Apopka
Place of Publication: Apopka FL
Publication Date: 1990
 Subjects
Subject: Foliage plants -- Fertilizers -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Foliage plants -- Effect of light on -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (p. 2).
Statement of Responsibility: R.T. Poole and C.A. Conover.
General Note: Caption title.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00065860
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 70294750

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Effects of Light Intensity and Fertilizer Formulation on Six Foliage Plants Growing Indoors


R. T. Poole and C. A. Conover'

University of Florida, IFAS
Central Florida Research and Education Center Apopka y
CFREC-Research Report, RH-90-16


Ideally, foliage plants in the interior environment should maintain original quality and
grow slowly. Interiorscapers need to know if fertilizer formulation affects indoor plant
maintenance and also if fertilizer formulations should change as light intensities increase or
decrease. The following experiment, initiated July 20, 1989, examined the effects of
fertilizer formulation on six species of foliage plants maintained under three light intensities
in rooms simulating an interior environment.

All plant material utilized were finished, ready for sale plants, growing in six inch
pots, obtained from commercial growers and included; Aglaonema 'Silver Queen' (Silver
Queen aglaonema), Alpinia variegata (Shell ginger), Chamaedorea elegans (Parlor palm),
Codiaeum variegatum 'Petra' (Petra croton), Dracaena fragrans 'Massangeana' (Striped corn
plant), and Nephrolepis exaltata 'Dallas' (Dallas fern). Plants were placed in rooms
receiving 75, 150 or 225 ft-c light, 12 hours daily, from cool white fluorescent bulbs.
Temperature ranged from 70 to 80 F and plants were irrigated 1 to 2 times a week as
needed. Fertilizer treatments included applying 2 grams per pot 19-6-12 Osmocote or 2.7
grams per pot 14-14-14 Osmocote. Osmocote is manufactured by Sierra Chemical Co.,
Milpitas, CA. Both fertilizers have three month-release durations and were applied initially
July 20 and again on October 20. Therefore, all plants received the same amount of
nitrogen, the most influential element in foliage plant growth. Soluble salts were measured
July 26, October 30, and January 18 using the pour-through method. Height was measured
initially July 26 and again October 12 and January 18. Plants were graded on a scale of
l=poor, unsalable; 3=average, salable and 5=excellent quality. On September 26,
(Ca(OH)2 (calcium hydroxide) 1 tsp/L solution was applied 100 ml/pot to the Chamaedorea
elegans to correct acidic pH.

Plants receiving higher light intensities were taller at termination of the experiment
than plants maintained under the lower light intensities, except for Aglaonema 'Silver
Queen' (Table 1). Plant grade of Alpinia variegata and Chamaedorea elegans receiving 75
ft-c was higher January 18, 1990 than October 30, 1989, but grades of other cultivars
maintained under 75 ft-c were lower at 6 months than at 3 months. Plant grade after 6


1Professor of Plant Physiology, and Professor and Center Director, respectively. Central
Florida Research and Education Center Apopka, 2807 Binion Rd., Apopka, FL 32703.








months was highest for plants maintained under 225 ft-c. These plants showed the most
improvement in quality or the least amount of deterioration after 6 months (Table 2).

Soluble salts levels of the leachate usually decreased with time and were lower at 225
ft-c. Plants grew more, thus utilized more fertilizer at 225 ft-c than at the lower light levels
tested. These two factors account for electrical conductivity of pots decreasing as light levels
increased (Table 3).

Fertilizer formulation had no effect on soluble salts levels, plant growth or grade.
Fertilizer formulation did have a significant effect on amount of phosphorus and potassium
found in leachate of Codiaeum variegatum 'Petra'. Leachate from pots containing plants
receiving 14-14-14 contained over twice as much phosphorus as leachate collected from pots
with plants receiving 19-6-12 (Table 4). Since plants used less fertilizer at lower light levels,
fertilizer application rates can be reduced when plants are maintained in a low light intensity
environment to save money and reduce pollution of the environment. SINCE
FORMULATION HAD NO EFFECT ON PLANT GROWTH, A RATIO OF 3:1:2 (N-P205-
KzO) SHOULD BE USED INSTEAD OF FERTILIZERS WITH P AND K EQUAL TO N
(1-1-1) OR HIGHER THAN N (1-3-2) TO MINIMIZE POLLUTION FROM PHOSPHATES
AND POTASH. Of the plants tested, Aglaonema 'Silver Queen' and Chamaedorea elegans
appear to maintain best quality when subjected to low light intensities for prolonged periods.


Additional Reading

1. Poole, R. T. and A. R. Chase. 1987. Response of foliage plants to fertilizer application
rates and associated leachate conductivity. HortScience 22(2):317-318.

2. Conover, C. A. and R. T. Poole. 1984. Acclimatization of indoor foliage plants.
Horticultural Review 6:119-154.

3. Conover, C. A. and R. T. Poole. 1981. Influence of light and fertilizer level and
fertilizer sources on foliage plants maintained under environments for one year. J.
Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 106(5):571-574.

4. Turner, M. A., D. L. Morgan and D. W. Reed. 1987. The effect of light quality and
fertility on long term interior maintenance of selected foliage plants. J. Environ.
Hort. 5(2):76-79.

5. Wright, R. D. 1986. The pour-through nutrient extraction procedure. HortScience
21:227-229.









Table 1. Height (cm) of foliage plants placed in interior rooms Jul 20

1989. Data taken Oct 12, 1989 (I) and Jan 18, 1990 (II).



Aglaonema Alpinia Chamaedorea Codiaeum Dracaena Nephrolepis
'Silver Queen' variegata elegans 'Petra' 'Massangeana' 'Dallas'
ft-c,12 I II I II I II I II I II I II
hr/day

75 43 44 66 66 62 63 19 20 56 62 39 39
150 43 44 66 72 67 68 21 26 59 66 42 40
225 44 44 74 76 66 66 21 26 68 75 41 43


Growth (cm) from Jul 20 to Jan 18.
Aglaonema Alpinia Chamaedorea Codiaeum Dracaena Nephrolepis
ft-c,12 'Silver Queen' variegata elegans 'Petra' 'Massangeana' 'Dallas'
hr/day

75 1.2 1.7 5.9 1.7 13.9 2.9
150 2.1 8.3 7.5 6.9 17.7 3.0
225 1.1 13.0 10.6 7.6 23.7 9.2








Table 2. Plant grade of foliage plants placed in interior rooms Jul 20, 1989.

Data taken Oct 30, 1989 (I) and Jan 18 1990 (II).



Aglaonema Alpinia Chamaedorea Codiaeum Dracaena Nephrolepis
'Silver Queen' variegata elegans 'Petra' 'Massangeana' 'Dallas'
ft-c,12 I II I II I II I II I II I II
hr/day

75 4.1 3.4 2.4 2.6 3.5 3.9 4.1 3.2 3.8 3.2 3.4 2.9
150 4.0 3.8 2.8 3.3 3.7 4.2 4.2 3.7 4.0 3.6 3.9 3.6
225 4.5 4.6 3.5 3.9 3.6 4.5 4.5 4.4 4.5 4.2 4.0 4.2


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Table 3. Electrical conductivity (pmhos/cm) of pot containing foliage plants

placed in interior rooms Jul 20, 1989. Data taken Jul 26, 1989 (I), Oct 30

1989 (II), and Jan 18, 1990 (III).

Aglaonema Alpinia Chamaedorea
'Silver Queen' variegata elegans


ft-c,12 I II III I II III I II III
hr/day

75 1274 628 787 490 777 811 1519 1013 1578
150 1227 542 653 388 489 547 1368 1562 1812
225 1314 670 555 360 476 553 1293 696 567

Codiaeum Dracaena Nephrolepis
'Petra' 'Massangeana' 'Dallas'

ft-c,12 I II III I II III I II III
hr/day

75 3272 2142 2008 830 1009 744 1317 448 550
150 2828 2602 2872 867 786 611 963 302 185
225 2644 2150 2432 853 904 551 1119 280 169


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Table 4. Phosphorus, ammonium (NH4+), and nitrates (NO3-) measured as mg/L in
leachate of Codiaeum variegatum 'Petra' placed in interior rooms July 20,
1989. Leachate collected January 17, 1990.



Fertilizer Source P NH4+ NO3-


19-6-12z 14.9 1.0 163.9
14-14-14' 29.9 0.5 187.3
Significant effects ** ns ns


Light intensity
75 ftc 24.3 0.7 160.0
150 ftc 24.7 0.7 179.1
225 ftc 17.7 0.9 187.7


Significant effects
linear ns ns ns
quadratic ns ns ns

z19-6-12 three month release rate Osmocote was applied 2 grams/pot July 20 and
October 20.
Y14-14-14 three month release rate Osmocote was applied 2.7 grams/pot July 20
and October 20.
xns and **; Nonsignificant and significant at the 5% level.


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