Effects of media formulation and fertilizer rate on growth of transplanted tissue-cultured liners of Dracaena ‘Waikiki’

Adam D. Caple, Malcolm M. Manners, John L. Griffis Jr., Andrew F. Kawabata, Kheng T. Cheah

Abstract


Dracaena ‘Waikiki’ is a new introduction by the Hawai’i Export Nursery Association. It was discovered in Mauritius in 2004, as an unnamed, cultivated plant. DNA analysis has confirmed that it is a Dracaena but it is a different species from any other Dracaena currently in the trade. No recommendations on appropriate potting media or fertilizer programs for this plant have been published. In this experiment, two-month-old tissue-cultured liners were transplanted into 15.2 centimeter (6 inch) standard pots filled with one of three potting media: volcanic cinders and coco-chips (2:1), coco-peat and parboiled rice hulls (2:1), or sphagnum peat and perlite (1:1). These media were supplemented with either of two rates of a slow-release (five-to-six month) 15-6-12 fertilizer formulation, for a total of six treatments. Plants were grown in a shaded greenhouse and irrigated automatically. After six months, plants grown in peat-perlite media supplemented with the lower of the two fertilizer rates (7.6 grams/pot) were significantly taller than plants grown in any other fertilizer/medium combination. Plants at the lower fertilizer rate were more likely to grow upright (desirable), whereas plants grown at the higher rate (17.3 grams/pot) often leaned or fell over (undesirable). All of the tested media/fertilizer combinations can produce a marketable plant of ‘Waikiki’, but the traditional peat-perlite medium can produce a taller plant in fewer days. It appears that the lower fertilizer rate is adequate for production of Dracaena ‘Waikiki’, regardless of potting medium.

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283