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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 246: International Symposium on Protected Cultivation of Ornamentals in Mild Winter Climates

THE EFFECTS OF SEDGE PEAT-BASED MEDIA AND CONTROLLED-RELEASE FERTILIZER ON THE GROWTH OF POT BEGONIA, FRENCH MARIGOLD AND GERANIUM

Authors:   M. Abad, V. Noguera, J. Martínez-Corts, M.D. Martínez-Herrero, F. Fornes, M.V. Herrero
Abstract:
This study investigated the effects of improved sedge peat - based media and incorporated controlled-release fertilizer on the vegetative growth and flowering of pot begonia, geranium and marigold grown in a simple and non-heated mild-winter greenhouse. Sedge peat originally showed some unsuitable properties for container-grown plants. Therefore, two structurally different sedge peats, raw material and well-structured, were thoroughly leached, blended with 40% by volume of undecomposed Sphagnum peat and fertilized with an uncoated controlled-release base fertilizer ("Triabon"R). Vegetative growth and flowering of begonias were significantly higher in media containing well-structured peat, whereas growth and development of Pelargonium x hortorum and Tagetes were unaffected by peat structure. The removal of soluble salts by controlled leaching resulted in an increase in both stem height and shoot fresh weight of geraniums, but it did not affect the growth of begonias and marigolds. The extent to which applied leaching improved the growth of geranium depended on peat structure. The growth response was much higher with media containing well-structured peat. Growth and flowering of pot plants were much higher when sedge peat was blended with peat moss than when sedge peat was used alone, the increase in growth response being primarily unrelated to peat structure. Independent of the potting media characteristics, all the plant species tested reacted strongly to controlled-release fertilizer. Moreover, Pelargonium x hortorum plants did not reach flowering
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