EVALUATION OF GROUND TREE FERN AS A GROWING MEDIUM FOR ORNAMENTAL PLANTS
Ground tree fern (GTF) (Dicksonia squarosa) was evaluated as a growing medium for a range of plants. GTF had lower levels of most plant nutrients than peat, except for K and Ca. The high K levels tended to give higher levels of soluble salts. GTF fixed more nitrogen than peat over a short period but then gradually released it. It had higher levels of aeration but lower water holding capacity than good quality peat. The growth of syngonium, kalanchoe and begonia in GTF was not significantly different from that in peat whilst anthurium and tomato performed better in GTF. Plants growing in GTF had higher levels of K than those growing in peat. Orchids growing in GTF produced significantly more spikes than those in coarse pine bark. The advantage of GTF is the high level of aeration, and its resistance to breakdown during cropping. The disadvantage is the high levels of soluble salts which may affect germination and growth of young seedlings.
Prasad, M. and Fietje, G. (1989). EVALUATION OF GROUND TREE FERN AS A GROWING MEDIUM FOR ORNAMENTAL PLANTS. Acta Hortic. 238, 157-164