Pennsylvania Flower Growers #234
Soilless media are theoretically ideal plant growth substrates. These media offer a challenge to both grower and researcher. They offer an opportunity for the commercial grower to more efficiently produce his crops. They of fer an opportunity for the researcher almost to duplicate commercial growing conditions and therefore easier for him to translate research data for commercial use. In the early 1940's, soilless media (gravel) culture for commercial floriculture received considerable attention largely because of the efforts of Professor Alex Laurie and Doctors D. C. Kiplinger, O. W. Davidson, K. Post, and J. G. Seeley. Although a few commercial rose growers tried this approach, few were ever completely successful. Their lack of success was due to many factors which included initial high investment costs for equipment, lack of a wide choice of high analysis soluble fertilizers and lack of analytical resources for nutrient control. Technological advances in fertilizers, irrigation systems and methods of analysis have reduced the risks in these areas. Higher dollar incomes for flowers and higher labor costs have increased the interest of many commercial growers in more precise, automated growing methods.
Keywords: Soilless media fertilizer programs irrigation regimes Q.I. values