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EFFECT OF SODIUM POLYACRYLATE ON GROWTH AND FLOWER PRODUCTION OF PETUNIA UNDER WATER STRESS CONDITION
Water stress is considered as one of the most important abiotic factors that adversely affect flowers morphology and quality flower production, through altering the growth, physiology and metabolic activities of plants. In order to overcome the adverse effect of water stress, an experiment was designed to assess individual and combine effect of sodium polyacrylate ( SP0 (soil without sodium polyacrylate, SP1 (90% soil + 10% sodium polyacrylate), SP2 (70% soil + 30% sodium polyacrylate) and SP3 (50% soil + 50% sodium polyacrylate)) and irrigation interval i.e. W0 (half day), W1 (1day interval), W2 (2 days interval) and W3 (3 days interval) on growth and flowering related attributes of petunia at Ornamental Horticulture Nursery, The University of Agriculture, Peshawar in February 2019.The results indicated that use of (30% of sodium polyacrylate + 70% soil) significantly reduced days to flowering and increased number of flowers and size of flower. Moreover, highest number of leaves, number of branches, taller plant, highest value of root length and root volume were recorded in the plants planted in soil supplemented with (10% sodium polyacrylate + 90% soil). The irrigation interval after 3 days produced earlier flowering, increased the number of flowers and size of flower. Similarly, numbers of leaves plant-1, number of branches plant-1, plant height, root length, root volume were enhanced in petunia plants irrigated with 2 days interval. The interactive effect of sodium polyacrylate also significant effect morphological and flower related attributes of petunia. Based on the results, it was concluded that SP2 (70% soil + 30% sodium polyacrylate) with irrigation interval of 3 days for reproductive attributes of petunia and for vegetative growth SP1 (90% soil + 10% sodium polyacrylate), with 2 days of irrigation interval is recommended.
Keywords: Abiotic stress, Sodium polyacrylate, Hydrogels, Water Holding Capacity, Percolation