GROWING ORNAMENTAL PLANTS IN SPHAGNUM BIOMASS

M. Emmel
Non-decomposed Sphagnum has been used with great success in the cultivation of orchids for a long time. New ideas of Sphagnum farming on dug peatbogs concentrate on the potential for its general use in horticulture. During the last few years, many trials using Sphagnum as a growing media constituent have been conducted at the Education- and Research Station for Horticulture in Hanover. Research was carried out, which aimed to assess the general suitability of Sphagnum as a substitute for peat in growing medium. The potential for using it in mixtures with other common growing media components was also tested. In general the dried Sphagnum biomass was rehydrated, limed and fertilised, before being added in varying amounts to common growing media. No significant differences in plant growth were observed in a test with Tagetes patula cultivated in peat substrate, peat substrate with clay, mixtures of them with 50% (v/v) Sphagnum and a straight Sphagnum substrate. Recent surveys, carried out with pure Sphagnum species, led to chlorosis at leaves of Chinese cabbage grown in Sphagnum fimbriatum and Sphagnum palustre. The fresh weight of the plants cultivated in Sphagnum papillosum and Sphagnum fimbriatum was reduced compared to plants in a peat substrate. Chemical analyses of the different mixtures can not explain these effects. Plant growth of ornamental plants in growing media containing Sphagnum biomass, or in straight Sphagnum biomass was comparable or even better than in standard growing media. However, some Sphagnum species can be harmful to germinating seeds. Therefore, the use of Sphagnum biomass in the production of seedlings and young plants should be analysed in further research.
Emmel, M. (2008). GROWING ORNAMENTAL PLANTS IN SPHAGNUM BIOMASS. Acta Hortic. 779, 173-178
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2008.779.20
https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.2008.779.20
growing media, substrate, peat alternative, Sphagnum farming
English

Acta Horticulturae