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Changes in leaf water relations, gas exchange, growth and flowering quality in potted geranium plants irrigated with different water regimes

AutorSánchez-Blanco, María Jesús ; Álvarez Martín, Sara ; Navarro García, Alejandra ; Bañón, Sebastián
Palabras claveDeficit irrigation
Water potential components
Stomatal conductance
Potted floricultural crops
Ornamental characters
Fecha de publicación15-mar-2009
CitaciónJournal of Plant Physiology 166(15): 467-476 (2009)
ResumenGeranium plants are an important part of urban green areas but suffer from drought, especially when grown in containers with a limited volume of medium. In this experiment, we examined the response of potted geraniums to different irrigation levels. Geranium (Pelargonium×hortorum L.) seedlings were grown in a growth chamber and exposed to three irrigation treatments, whereby the plants were irrigated to container capacity (control), 60% of the control (moderate deficit irrigation, MDI), or 40% of the control (severe deficit irrigation, SDI). Deficit irrigation was maintained for 2 months, and then all the plants were exposed to a recovery period of 1 frac(1, 2) month. Exposure to drought induced a decrease in shoot dry weight and leaf area and an increase in the root/shoot ratio. Height and plant width were significantly inhibited by the SDI, while flower color parameters were not affected by deficit treatment. The number of wilting and yellow leaves increased, coinciding with the increase in the number of inflorescences and open flowers. Deficit irrigation led to a leaf water potential of about -0.8 MPa at midday, which could have caused an important decrease in stomatal conductance, affecting the photosynthetic rate (Pn). Chlorophyll fluorescence (Fvm) values of 0.80 in all treatments throughout the experiment demonstrate the lack of drought-induced damage to PSII photochemistry. Pressure-volume analysis revealed low osmotic adjustment values of 0.2 MPa in the SDI treatment, accompanied by increases in the bulk tissue elastic modulus (ε, wall rigidity) and resulting in turgor loss at lower leaf water potential values (-1.38 MPa compared with -1.0 MPa for the control). Leaf water potential values throughout the experiment below those for Ψtlp were not found at any sampling time. By the end of the recovery period, the leaf water potential, stomatal conductance and net photosynthesis had recovered. We infer from these results that moderate deficit irrigation in geranium reduced the consumption of water, while maintaining the good overall quality of plants. However, when SDI was applied, a reduction in the number of flowers per plant was observed. © 2008 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.
Versión del editorhttps://doi.org/10.1016/j.jplph.2008.06.015
Identificadoresissn: 0176-1617
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