Silicon is one of the most widespread macro elements that have beneficial effects on plant growth. Although its positive effects on plant growth and development have been widely considered, little information is available about possibility of nano-silicon utilization in seed invigoration treatments. Enhanced seed germination may lead to improved stand establishment and it can play important role in successful crop production. Partial hydration of the seeds followed by dehydration in a controlled environment often results in rapid seed germination and more uniform seedling emergence compared to untreated seeds. In the present study, the effect of seed soaking in different concentration nano-silicon solutions (0, 0.2, 0.4, 0.6, 0.8, 1 and 1.2 mM for 8 h) on germination characteristics of sunflower was investigated. Seed soaking in low concentration nano-silicon solutions (0.2 and 0.4 mM) significantly reduced days to 50% germination and mean germination time and improved root length, mean daily germination, seedling vigour index and final germination percentage. These results suggest that the incorporation of nano-silicon in priming solution, in an appropriate concentration, remarkably enhances germination performance and causes an effective invigoration of the seedling. These results underline the importance of pre-sowing seed soaking in diluted nano-silicon solutions for improving the germinability of sunflower.
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