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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Improving Growth of Calibrachoa x Hybrida (Cerv.) in Hanging Pouches

Authors
item Frantz, Jonathan
item Locke, James
item Pitchay, Dharmalingam - UNIVRSITY OF TOLEDO

Submitted to: HortTechnology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 13, 2006
Publication Date: April 1, 2007
Repository URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10113/7079
Citation: Frantz, J., Locke, J.C., Pitchay, D. 2007. Improving Growth of Calibrachoa x Hybrida (Cerv.) in Hanging Pouches. HortTechnology. 17:151-272.

Interpretive Summary: Unique growing containers can cause new production problems for growers. This study was conducted to evaluate the growth of Calibrachoa produced in hanging flower pouches using different growing media compositions. The effect of heavier, water-holding amendments and the layering of media types of differing qualities was also evaluated with the goal of achieving better plant growth and improved post-sale longevity. Plastic cylindrical hanging bags were filled with one of nine media types or combinations and planted with Calibrachoa ('Colorburst Violet'). Daily measurements of soil moisture were taken to determine the need for watering. Chlorophyll content was estimated with a hand-held chlorophyll meter to determine the impact of moisture content. The ideal media in this study were "porous" mixes or a combination of a heavier, water holding media on top of a porous mix which enabled water to be more uniformly distributed throughout the container volume. The hanging flower pouch study provided fundamental information on how container geometry and soil moisture retention can influence water management decisions by the grower and impact shelf life after purchase.

Technical Abstract: Unique growing containers and non-traditional types of plant presentation applications can cause new production problems for growers. This study was conducted to evaluate the growth of a popular new container plant, Calibrachoa, produced in hanging flower pouches using different growing media compositions. The effect of polymer amendments and the layering of media types of differing moisture holding capacity was also evaluated with the goal of achieving more uniform plant growth and improved after sale maintenance. Plastic cylindrical hanging bags were filled with one of nine hydrated media types or combinations. Rooted cuttings of Calibrachoa ('Colorburst Violet'), were planted as indicator plants to identify treatment effects because of their susceptibility to iron deficiency-induced chlorosis of new leaves. Daily measurements of soil moisture were taken to determine the need for irrigation. Chlorophyll content was estimated non-destructively with a hand-held chlorophyll meter to determine the impact of moisture content. The ideal media in this study were "porous" mixes or a combination of a heavier, water holding media on top of a porous mix which enabled water to be more uniformly distributed throughout the container volume. The hanging flower pouch study provided fundamental information on how container geometry and soil moisture retention can influence water management decisions by the grower.

Last Modified: 12/21/2014
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