Science News
from research organizations

Nine ornamental landscape plants tested for salt tolerance

Study results recommend best plant choices for high saline irrigation conditions

Date:
May 9, 2016
Source:
American Society for Horticultural Science
Summary:
Nine ornamental species were irrigated with a nutrient solution at three different electrical conductivity rates and were assessed for growth and physiological responses. Orange peel jessamine and mexican hummingbird bush were the most salt-tolerant in the trials, while flame acanthus, rock rose, and 'Dark knight' bluebeard were moderately salt-tolerant. Cardinal flower, mexican false heather, and butterfly blue plants were moderately salt-sensitive, while eastern red columbine was the most salt-sensitive among the species.
Share:
FULL STORY

Orange Peel Jessamine was found to be the most salt-tolerant among nine varieties of ornamental plants. Plants are shown after 6 weeks of irrigation with nutrient solution (left) or saline solution at electrical conductivity of 5.0 (middle) or 10.0 (right) dS·m-1.
Credit: Photo courtesy of Shasha Wu.

A new study of the salt tolerance of popular ornamental plants can be a valuable reference for gardeners and landscapers looking for plants that can thrive in locations where poor-quality irrigation water is typical. Shasha Wu, Youping Sun, and Genhua Niu from Texas A&M University revealed the best and worst choices among the nine ornamental varieties tested with high saline irrigation in an article published in the March 2016 issue of HortScience.

The team chose popular ornamentals butterfly blue, cardinal flower, and eastern red columbine, along with three shrub-like perennials (mexican false heather, mexican hummingbird bush, and rock rose) and three shrub species ('Dark knight' bluebeard, flame acanthus, and orange peel jessamine). The plants of all species were irrigated with two salinity treatments (saline solution at electrical conductivity of 5.0 or 10.0 dS·m-1) and compared to a control group.

Salt tolerance was determined by assessing the plants' visual quality, growth, number of flowers, gas exchange, chlorophyll content, and shoot ion concentration.

The results showed orange peel jessamine and mexican hummingbird bush to be the most salt-tolerant species, while flame acanthus, rock rose, and 'Dark knight' bluebeard were found to be moderately salt-tolerant. Butterfly blue, mexican false heather, and cardinal flower were determined to be moderately salt-sensitive, while eastern red columbine was found to be the most salt-sensitive among the nine species evaluated.

"Considering the huge number of plant species potentially available for landscapes, there are still thousands of plant species and cultivars that have not been investigated for salt tolerance," the authors said. Determining salt tolerance of commonly used landscape plants such as those in the HortScience study expands planting options for landscapes in which reclaimed water or recycled water is used for irrigation.


Story Source:

Materials provided by American Society for Horticultural Science. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Shasha Wu, Youping Sun, and Genhua Niu. Morphological and Physiological Responses of Nine Ornamental Species to Saline Irrigation Water. HortScience, March 2016 51:285-290 [link]

Cite This Page:

American Society for Horticultural Science. "Nine ornamental landscape plants tested for salt tolerance: Study results recommend best plant choices for high saline irrigation conditions." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 May 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160509132901.htm>.
American Society for Horticultural Science. (2016, May 9). Nine ornamental landscape plants tested for salt tolerance: Study results recommend best plant choices for high saline irrigation conditions. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 8, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160509132901.htm
American Society for Horticultural Science. "Nine ornamental landscape plants tested for salt tolerance: Study results recommend best plant choices for high saline irrigation conditions." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160509132901.htm (accessed May 8, 2017).