Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment

Vol 8, Issue 1,2010
Online ISSN: 1459-0263
Print ISSN: 1459-0255

Nutrient solution concentration and growing season affect growth and quality of potted petunia in a recirculating subirrigation and drip-irrigation system


Mariateresa Cardarelli 1, Youssef Rouphael 2, Elvira Rea 3, Anna Salerno 3, Giuseppe Colla 1*

Recieved Date: 2009-09-18, Accepted Date: 2009-12-30


Petunias (Petunia × hybrida Hort. Vilm.-Andr. ‘Giove’) were grown in closed soilless systems to evaluate the effects of irrigation system (drip and subirrigation) and nutrient solution concentration (half and full) during two consecutive growing seasons (spring and winter) in terms of substrate electrical conductivity (ECs) growth, quality, crop evapotranspiration (ETc), growth index water use efficiency (WUEGI) and nutrient uptake. At the end of the cultural cycle the highest ECs in the upper and lower layers were recorded in the spring season on plants grown in subirrigation using a full nutrient solution concentration. The higher ECs recorded with subirrigation under full strength nutrient solution in the spring season, had no negative effect of plant growth parameters and quality index indicating that petunia can be considered tolerant to salinity. The highest shoot biomass, leaf area, and plant growth index were recorded in the winter season on plants grown in both drip-irrigation and subirrigation using full nutrient solution concentration, whereas the lowest value was observed in the winter season on plants grown using the half nutrient solution concentration. The higher total evapotranspiration was recorded in the winter compared to spring season (4.3 vs. 3.5 L m-2), because the plants grown during the winter season required more days (20) to reach the commercial maturity in comparison to those grown during the spring season. The WUEGI recorded on plants grown during the spring season was significantly higher by 24% than those recorded during the winter season. The highest N, P, K, Ca and Mg uptake values were measured during winter season using full strength nutrient solution. The variation of the EC in the nutrient solution during the spring growing cycle was less pronounced in the subirrigation than with a drip-irrigation system which represents an important aspect for the simplification of the closed loop management of the nutrient solution.


Closed soilless system, drip irrigation, growing season, nutrient uptake, Petunia × hybrida, subirrigation

Journal: Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment
Year: 2010
Volume: 8
Issue: 1
Category: Environment
Pages: 312-320

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