Silicon (Si) is a plant-beneficial element that can alleviate the effects of abiotic and biotic stress. Plants are typically classified as Si accumulators based on foliar Si concentrations (≥1% Si on a dry weight basis for accumulators). By this definition, most greenhouse-grown ornamentals are low Si accumulators. However, plants that accumulate low foliar Si concentrations may still accumulate high Si concentrations elsewhere in the plant. Additionally, screening cultivars for variability in Si uptake has not been investigated for low Si accumulator species. Therefore, the objective of this study was to assess cultivar variability in Si accumulation and distribution in petunia ( Petunia ×hybrida ).
Eight cultivars (Supertunia Black Cherry, Supertunia Limoncello, Supertunia Priscilla, Supertunia Raspberry Blast, Supertunia Royal Velvet, Supertunia Sangria Charm, Supertunia Vista Silverberry, and Supertunia White Improved) were grown in a commercial peat-based soilless substrate under typical greenhouse conditions. They were supplemented with either 2 m m potassium silicate (+Si) or potassium sulfate (-Si) at every irrigation. Silicon supplementation increased leaf dry mass (4.5%) but did not affect total dry mass. In plants not receiving Si supplementation, leaf Si ranged from 243 to 1295 mg·kg ⁻¹, stem Si ranged from 48 to 380 mg·kg ⁻¹, flower Si ranged from 97 to 437 mg·kg ⁻¹, and root Si ranged from 103 to 653 mg·kg ⁻¹. Silicon supplementation increased Si throughout the plant, but most predominantly in the roots.
Leaf Si in the 2 m m Si treatment ranged from 1248 to 3541 mg·kg ⁻¹ (173% to 534% increase), stem Si ranged from 195 to 654 mg·kg ⁻¹ (72% to 376% increase), flower Si ranged from 253 to 1383 mg·kg ⁻¹ (74% to 1082% increase), and root Si ranged from 4018 to 10,457 mg·kg ⁻¹ (593% to 9161% increase). The large increase in root Si following supplementation shifted Si distribution within plants. In nonsupplemented plants, it ranged from 51.2% to 76.8% in leaves, 8.2% to 40.2% in stems, 2.8% to 23.8% in flowers, and 1.2% to 13.8% in roots. In Si-supplemented plants, it ranged from 63.5% to 67.7% in leaves, 10.5% to 22.6% in roots, 9.4% to 17.7% in stems, and 1.6% to 9.6% in flowers. This study indicates that petunia, a low foliar Si accumulator, can accumulate appreciable quantities of Si in roots when provided supplemental Si.
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Boldt, Jennifer & Altland, James. (2021). Petunia (Petunia ×hybrida) Cultivars Vary in Silicon Accumulation and Distribution. HortScience. 56. 1-8. 10.21273/HORTSCI15486-20.