Research matters... Calcium and boron deficiency

Calcium and boron are both required for the normal development of plants and both are usually transported passively in the tissues that carry water to the leaves.

So if water is not being lost from the leaves, as happens for example in an atmosphere of high humidity, tissues can become deficient in these elements.

When a deficiency of either calcium or boron is suspected, it can be difficult to decide which element is actually causing the problem. In the experiments discussed here, seeds of pansy, Petunia and Gerbera were germinated in moist Oasis foam in small, open-ended tubes. The tubes were then supported within larger containers containing either a complete nutrient solution or one lacking either calcium or boron.

In other experiments, the plants were grown in a complete nutrient solution and then exposed for just six days to a solution lacking either calcium or boron.

Plants of pansy, Petunia and Gerbera that experienced calcium deficiency were smaller than control plants and exhibited discolouration and eventually necrosis of their younger leaves. Plants that experienced boron deficiency rarely showed necrosis but the newest growth was usually distorted. These distinctive symptoms appeared even when the relevant nutrient was withheld for just six days.

Characterization of Calcium and Boron Deficiency and the Effects of Temporal Disruption of Calcium and Boron Supply on Pansy, Petunia, and Gerbera Plugs by Krug, Whipker, Frantz and McCall (2009). HortScience 44 (6): 1566-1572. Members of ISHS can view HortScience from the website

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Read These Next

Business planning - Managing price volatility

Business planning - Managing price volatility

There are options to help you manage the impact of exchange rate fluctuations when buying from abroad, Neville Stein advises.



The range of colours and flowering times makes for cheerful and economic displays, Miranda Kimberley reports.

Pitches - seeds and consumables

Pitches - seeds and consumables

The right seeding and inputs are essential for keeping grass in top condition and ensuring that pitches look and perform at their best, says Sally Drury.

Opinion... Standardisation good for the trade

Opinion... Standardisation good for the trade

Horticulture could benefit from streamlining in the supply chain.

Opinion... Get rid of plastics in Horticulture

Opinion... Get rid of plastics in Horticulture

Blue Planet II eloquently showed the rich tapestry of life in the oceans. It also focused public awareness on plastic pollution damaging wildlife.

Opinion... Gardening needs better promotion

Opinion... Gardening needs better promotion

British horticultural firms and organisations have not been the best at working together to promote our industry.

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs

Horticulture Week Top 60 Ornamentals nurseries

See our exclusive ranking of ornamentals nurseries by annual turnover. 

Tim Edwards

Boningales Nursery chairman Tim Edwards on the business of ornamentals production

Read Tim Edwards

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.

Peter Seabrook

Inspiration and insight from travels around the horticultural world

Read more Peter Seabrook articles