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S/Growth of Cissus, Dracaena and Syngonium at Different
Fertilizer Levels, Irrigation Frequencies, and Soil Temperatures .
R. T. Poole and C. A. Conover
University of Florida, IFAS
Central Florida Research and Education Center Apopka
CFREC-Apopka Research Report, RH-90-13 r 2 1 (
Fertilization levels, irrigation frequency and soft-and air
temperatures are factors that influence foliage plant growth. Some species
of foliage plants tolerate a wide range of environmental conditions, while
others will grow well only in very limited environments. Research was
initiated to determine optimum fertilizer levels, irrigation frequencies,
and soil temperatures for Cissus rhombifolia (Grape Ivy), Dracaena
surculosa 'Florida Beauty' Florida Beauty gold dust dracaena), and
Syngonium podophyllum 'White Butterfly' (White Butterfly nephthytis).
Rooted cuttings of Cissus rhombifolia, Dracaena surculosa 'Florida
Beauty', and Syngonium podophyllum 'White Butterfly' were placed in 6 inch
pots containing Vergro container mix without superphosphate (Verlite Co.,
Tampa, FL) on January 14. Plants were grown in a glasshouse where they
received 1500 ft-c maximum light intensity. Air temperatures ranged from
650F to 950F except where influenced by treatment. Plants were fertilized
with 2.8, 5.6, 8.4, 11.2, 14.0, or 16.8 grams of 19-6-12, 3 month
slow-release Osmocote (Sierra Chemical Co. Milpitas, CA) surface applied
January 14, and again April 15. Plants received either no subsurface
heat, 750F, or 850F subsurface heat supplied by heated pipes running under
pots. Irrigation frequencies tested were two and four times weekly.
Potting soil temperatures were recorded weekly at 8 am and 3 pm. Soluble
salts levels were measured, using the pour-through method at two week
intervals, from pots containing 'White Butterfly'. The experiment ended
June 20 when final data recorded included plant height or vine length and
plant grade (1 = poor, 5 = excellent).
The three species of test plants reacted differently to treatment
(Table 1). 'White Butterfly' was not affected by fertilization levels or
the subsurface heat treatments and only slightly by irrigations per week.
Four irrigations per week were slightly better than two per week. Previous
research showed minimum air temperatures of 60 to 70F had no effect on
quality grade of 'White Butterfly'. Pots on benches over the pipes heated
to 850F had a higher level of soluble salts (Table 2). Soluble salts
levels increased greatly as fertilizer application rates increased. There
also was a big difference in soluble salts levels from pots receiving two
or four waterings per week, with pots receiving two waterings per week
having two to four times as much soluble salts as pots watered four times
per week. An interaction occurred with fertilization levels and
IProfessor, Plant Physiology and Center Director and Professor,
respectively, Central Florida Research and Education Center, 2807 Binion
Road, Apopka, FL 32703.
irrigations per week for soluble salts levels. (Table 3). Irrigations per
week had more influence at higher fertilization levels. Plant growth did
not seem to be affected by high soluble salts levels. These results
indicate 'White Butterfly' will grow satisfactorily when subjected to the
fertilization levels, irrigation frequencies and soil temperatures utilized
in this test. Obviously, the lower levels of fertilizer are economically
and environmentally best for production of White Butterfly.
Plant response of 'Florida Beauty' was minimal as fertilization level
increased (Table 1). Number of irrigations per week had no effect on plant
grade and subsurface heat treatments only slightly increased plant growth,
indicating 'Florida Beauty' can be grown satisfactorily within ranges
Grape Ivy was most effected by the treatments. Both fertilization
level and irrigations per week caused changes in plant growth (Table 1).
When fertilizer increased from 2.8 to 5.6 grams per pot, vine length and
plant grade increased. The higher fertilizer levels tested, 8.4, 11.2,
14.0 and 16.8 grams per pot produced smaller, lower quality plants and
shows Grape Ivy can easily be overfertilized. Interactions occurred for
subsurface temperature x irrigations per week for Grape Ivy (Table 4).
Subsurface temperature had little effect at two irrigations per week but
plant grade improved with increasing subsurface temperature at four
irrigations per week. The highest quality plant material was obtained
using 850F subsurface temperature, four irrigations per week, and 5.6 grams
19-6-12 Osmocote per 6 inch pot.
Potting soil temperatures seldom reached the subsurface temperatures
listed (Table 5), but differences between the control group receiving no
subsurface heat and pots receiving 850F subsurface heat was about 100F.
Results from this test show Syngonium podophyllum 'White Butterfly'
and Dracaena surculosa 'Florida Beauty' will grow satisfactorily within the
limits of this test. Cissus rhombifolia (Grape Ivy) however, cannot
tolerate overfertilizaition and infrequent waterings without suffering loss
in quality. Grape Ivy quality was best when soil received subsurface heat
treatments, plants were watered frequently, and received a moderate amount
1. Chase, A. R. and R. T. Poole. 1985. Effects of temperature on growth
of Syngonium 'White Butterfly'. AREC-Apopka Research Report RH-85-20.
2. Conover, C. A. and R. T. Poole. 1984. Light and fertilizer
recommendations for production of acclimatized potted foliage plants.
ARC-A Research Report RH-84-7.
3. Hipp, B. W., P. F. Colbaugh, and M. DiLeo. 1979. Influence of
fertility and moisture level on growth of Chlorophytum. HortScience
4. James, H. W. and R. McAvoy. 1983. Deleterious effects of cool air
temperature reversed by root-zone warming in poinsettia. HortScience
5. Poole, R. T. and C. A. Conover. 1981. Influence of maximum air
temperatures and irrigation frequencies during high temperature periods
on growth of four foliage plants. HortScience 6(5):463-464.
6. Wright, R. D. 1986. The pour-through nutrient extraction procedure.
Table 1. Height and plant grade (1 = poor, 5 = excellent) determined six
months after start of experimentation. June 20
2 17 3.4 12 4.7 13 3.8
4 18 4.3 13 4.8 14 4.0
Ambient 18 3.7 12 4.7 13 3.8
75 18 3.9 12 4.7 14 3.8
85 17 3.9 13 4.9 14 3.9
InteractionY Irrig x Irrig x NS NS NS NS
"19-6-12 Osmocote (3-month) surface applied per pot Jan 14
YNS,** Nonsignificant (NS) or significant at 1%(**) levels.
and Apr 15.
Table 2. Micromhos/cm of leachate from pots containing 'White Butterfly'
and receiving different fertilizer and irrigation rates and kept at
(g) March 29 June 21
2.8 902 221
5.6 1303 512
8.4 2006 969
11.2 2513 1598
14.0 2793 2439
16.8 3284 3143
2 2937 2315
4 1330 645
Ambient 1830 1440
75 2145 1462
85 2426 1538
InteractionY Fert x Irrig** Fert x Irrig**
Fert x Temp**
z19-6-12 Osmocote (3-month) surface
y** significant at 1% (**) levels.
applied per pot Jan 14 and Apr 15.
Table 3. Influence of fertilizer levels x irrigations/wk on micromhos/cm
of leachate from potting medium growing 'White Butterfly'." June 21
Irrigations/wk 2.8 5.6 8.4 11.2 14.0 16.8
2 304 766 1403 2534 3850 4900
4 138 257 401 661 1028 1469
ZInteraction significant at the 1% level.
Y19-6-12 Osmocote (3-month) surface applied per pot Jan 14 and Apr 15.
Table 4. Influence of irrigation/wk x subsurface temperature on plant
grade of Grape Ivy.z Jun 20
Subsurface temperature, "F
Irrigation/wk Ambient 75 85
2 3.5 3.3 3.2
4 3.8 4.4 4.6
"Interaction significant at the 1% level.
Table 5. Potting soil temperatures.
Subsurface Jan 21 Feb 21 Mar 21 Apr 22
temperature 8 AM 3 PM 8 AM 3 PM 8 AM 3 PM 8 AM 3 PM
Ambient 57 66 68 79 70 70 72 84
750F 67 72 72 78 74 72 76 83
850F 70 75 79 84 82 80 84 86