HortScience 38(1):71-74. (2003)
Changes in Mineral Nutrient Concentrations in Petunia Corollas during Development and Senescence
Sven Verlinden
Division of Plant and Soil Sciences,
West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26505

Abstract: To observe changes in the nutritional status of corollas during development and senescence, Petunia x hybrida cv. Mitchell corollas were analyzed for macronutrient and micronutrient content, dry weight, fresh weight, and ethylene production. Carbon content decreased at slightly lower rates than dry weight during corolla development between anthesis and senescence, while fresh weight and ethylene production followed patterns expected of climacteric flowers. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium content declined during development. Both phosphorus and potassium content gradually declined throughout development with overall losses of about 75% and 40%, respectively. Nitrogen content declined 50% during development but losses occurred only during the final stages of senescence. No significant changes were observed in sulfur, calcium, magnesium, and micronutrient content of the corollas during development. Most elements were present in much lower concentrations in corollas than in leaves. The concentrations of calcium, magnesium, and manganese were about 1-, 5- and 15-fold lower in corollas than in leaves, respectively. Results indicate that remobilization of selected macronutrients from corollas occurred before and during senescence. Taken together with the presence of low concentrations of macronutrients, my data support the contention that petunia corollas are nutritionally inexpensive and therefore easily disposable organs.