Effect of a novel hydrogel amendment and seedling plugs volume on the quality of ornamental/miniature tomato
- pot plant,
- Solanum lycopersicum L.
The market for ornamental/miniature plants values aesthetic morphological characteristics, which give harmony to the potted plant. These traits depend on the growing media capacity to maintain quality and plant longevity. The use of hydrogels has increased recently in order to achieve visually attractive and long-lasting plants. Thus, this study aimed to evaluate the effects of a novel hydrogel (H) amendment and seedling plugs volume (SPV) on the quality of ornamental/miniature tomato. Seedlings of tomato cv. BRS Finestra were produced in 200 and 162 plugs plastic trays - with 18 cm³ trapezium-shaped plugs and 50 cm³ conically shaped plugs, respectively. 18 cm³ plugs and H amendment presented several significant responses for plant characters - height, soluble solids, number of leaves, stem diameter, shoot dry matter and fruits weight per plant; making evident the advantages of using a growing medium of smaller volume and this copolymer amendement. Although consistent results were obtained, a combination of both these factors in terms of an optimal aesthetic value and considering all the morphological traits could not be accomplished. Therefore it’s necessary to study other elements such as plant nutrition and the use of plant growth regulators to complement them, aiming to promote better quality.