Response of stevia to nitrogen fertilization and harvesting regime in northeastern Portugal uri icon


  • The adaptation of stevia to the growing conditions of NE Portugal is assessed, including the tolerance of this species to cold temperatures, and the potential to produce biomass when grown as an annual crop and when subjected to various nitrogen (N) rates and two harvesting regimes. Almost all the plants died during the winter of 2014 (minimum temperatures peaked at −8.0°C), making it necessary to replant the crop the following spring. With the best cutting regime (double cut) and N rate (150 kg N ha−1), 1514.4 and 2390.0 kg ha−1 of dry leaves were produced, respectively, in 2014 and 2015. Leaf chlorophyll concentrations estimated by the SPAD (Soil and Plant Analysis Development)-502 chlorophyll meter and a NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) carried out by the Field Scout CM 1000 spectroradiometer showed significant differences among N rates, proving to be good indicators of plant N nutritional status. Based on the leaf analysis, provisional sufficiency ranges for N are proposed, namely 25–35 g kg−1 for mid-summer and 15–25 g kg−1 for early autumn. The fluorescence of chlorophyll a and the transient fluorescence intensity performed by the OS-30p+ fluorometer failed to show any stress induced by no-N control treatments in comparison to N-treated plants.

publication date

  • January 2016