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Abstract

Nitrogen content determines adventitious rooting in Euphorbia pulcherrima under adequate light independently of pre-rooting carbohydrate depletion of cuttings.

Root regeneration in shoot tip cuttings responds to graduated nitrogen (N) fertilization of stock plants. In pelargonium cuttings, reduced carbohydrate reserves caused by high N absorption by the donor plants and post-harvest storage of cuttings limit adventitious root formation, especially in low-light environments. In contrast, in chrysanthemum, similar carbohydrate reserves do not have this dominant effect on rooting capacity. The positive correlation between rooting capacity and internal N status is stable across a wide range of environments and is genotypically consistent for this species. However, the influence of N and carbohydrates on adventitious rooting of Euphorbia pulcherrima is unknown. We investigated the consequences of different N fertilization regimens applied to E. pulcherrima stock plants and cold and dark storage of the cuttings on N absorption, carbohydrate distribution, and rooting capacity of cuttings. Increasing time of stock plant cultivation with graduated N nutrition produced cuttings with N contents, ranging from 19 to 51 mg N g-1 dry mass (DM). High N absorption resulted in low carbohydrate concentrations in cuttings, and subsequent storage decreased carbohydrate concentrations further, particularly in stems. Lower sucrose contents in leaves were correlated with reduced rooting of stored cuttings at a particular harvest date. However, despite the lower carbohydrate levels, root numbers and lengths correlated positively with internal N concentrations. These relationships remained stable in unstored and stored cuttings, even when overall rooting intensity was reduced under lower natural light during autumn. Multivariate regressions accounting for nitrogen content, sucrose content and daily light integral during rooting highlighted these relationships and explained up to 79% of rooting variances. We conclude N nutrition of stock plants and N absorption by cuttings are the dominant factors determining the rooting capacity of poinsettia when rooting occurs under sufficient light, as is commonly available during propagation. To maximize rooting capacity of poinsettia cuttings their nitrogen content should exceed a threshold of 40 mg N g-1 DM.



Zerche, S.; Druege, U. 2009. Nitrogen content determines adventitious rooting in Euphorbia pulcherrima under adequate light independently of pre-rooting carbohydrate depletion of cuttings. Scientia Horticulturae 121 (3), 340-347.