The effect of fertilizer level and foliar-applied calcium on seed production and germination of Gerbera hybrida

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Gerbera hybrida is an ornamental plant of great commercial interest, which is primarily propagated by seeds. We investigated whether increasing fertilizer concentrations during seed set enhanced plant biomass, number of flower heads, seed set, and seed weight. Furthermore, we studied whether an additional foliar calcium application influenced the same parameters. Subsequently, the effect of the various treatments on the germination of the obtained seeds was explored. Two identical experiments (A and B) were carried out with five concentrations of nutrient solutions corresponding to an electrical conductivity (EC) of 1.25 mS·cm-1, 2.50 mS·cm-1, 3.75 mS·cm-1, 5.00 mS·cm-1, and 6.25 mS·cm-1. Additionally, plants were sprayed with a 0.5% foliar-applied calcium solution or deionized water (control) three times during the experimental period. In Expt. A, the concentration of fertilizer significantly affected seed production. Number of flower heads and seed weight were not influenced by the dose of fertilizer, but plant biomass and number of seeds were significantly reduced at the highest concentration (6.25 mS·cm-1). In Expt. B, the fertilizer concentration did not affect number of flower heads and seed number, but seed weight and plant biomass were significantly reduced at the highest fertilizer concentration. In both experiments, the seeds germinated slower and less seeds germinated when plants had received the largest amount of fertilizer (6.25 mS·cm-1). In none of the experiments did applied calcium affect the number of flowers, seed production, seed weight, or the total biomass. Our data indicate that seed producers of G. hybrida should not apply standard fertilizer in a concentration higher than corresponding to an EC of ≈1.25 mS·cm-1. It would have been valuable if we also had included a treatment with a lower EC value like 0.75 mS·cm-1 to improve the estimate of the optimal EC level from a curved function for the seed production and quality parameters.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)538-543
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2014

    Research areas

  • Germination curves, Ornamental plants, Potted plants, Seed propagation, Seed quality

ID: 129821488