Effects of Different Hydroponics Systems and Growing Media on the Vegetative Growth
Horticultural production in most parts of the tropics is extremely difficult due to high rate of infection by the soil-borne diseases. At the moment, utilization of hydroponics systems for the commercial production of crops is very limited. This study, therefore, attempted to investigate the potential of growing gypsophila using different hydroponics systems. The experiments were laid out in a split-plot design. Three hydroponics systems were used as the main plots, i.e. elevated tray, ground lay bed and bag culture systems. The sub-plots were allocated to three different aggregate/medium components, i.e., sawdust, river sand and vermiculite. Throughout
the production period, plants grown using river sand had the lowest plant height. The highest
plant height (52.9 cm) was obtained from plants grown in vermiculite at 12 weeks after transplanting (WAT). Plant height of gypsophila plants grown using sawdust at 12 WAT was almost double that of those grown using sand. There was a significant (P < 0.05) reduction in number of shoots/plant in gypsophila grown in sand medium in all three hydroponics systems. The highest number of shoots/plant was obtained from plants grown in sawdust in all hydroponics systems. The highest cut flower stem length (67.0 cm) was obtained from plants
grown in sawdust in the bag culture hydroponics system, while the lowest cut flower stem length (25.0 cm) was observed in plants grown in sand in the elevated tray hydroponics system. The highest number of branches/plant was generally observed in plants grown in the bag culture hydroponics system when compared to the elevated tray and ground lay bed hydroponics systems. For the hydroponics culture of gypsophila , sawdust should be used as growing medium. To induce highest vegetative growth, flower yield and quality, the plants should be grown using bag culture hydroponics system.