Effect of different growing substrates on growth characteristics of Plectranthus sp. in the interior green wall

Document Type : Original Article


Department of Horticulture Science and Landscape Engineering, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran


One of the most important issues in the implementation of interior green walls is choosing an efficient and light medium. In recent years, the use of soilless culture in the world, including Iran, has been developing. In this regard, the use of agricultural organic waste in culture media can play an important role in achieving a sustainable environment in addition to its economic advantages. Therefore, this study aimed to compare the effect of imported media and agricultural organic waste on growth characteristics of Plectranthus plant.
Material and methods:
In this study, the effect of five different growing substrates on the growth characteristics of Plectranthus was performed in a randomized complete block design with four replications and volume ratios (60 to 40) of 1) peat moss + perlite; 2) compost mixes used by greenhouse growers (rice husk compost + tea waste + leaf soil+ rice hull) + perlite, 3) leaf soil compost + perlite, 4) rice hull compost + perlite, and 5) tea waste compost + perlite. In this study, growth traits such as the number of leaves and shoots, fresh and dry weights of shoots and roots, physical properties of media, such as bulk and particle density, water holding capacity, and chemical properties including organic matter percentage, pH, electrical conductivity of the substrate, percentage of phosphorus, nitrogen, potassium, organic carbon, cation exchange capacity, and C/N ratio were measured.
Results and discussion:
The physicochemical analysis of the combined substrates showed that the composition of the tea waste and perlite had superiority over other media in terms of nitrogen content, water holding capacity, organic matter, and organic carbon percentage, as well as cation exchange capacity. In addition, the lower bulk density in the waste tea and perlite medium (0.15 g/cm-3 ) can be an ideal indicator of its application in the interior green walls compared to the other studied media. Results of the analysis of variance showed that different growing substrates had a significant effect (P ≤ 0.01) on the growth characteristics of the Plectranthus ornamental plant. So that, Plectranthus plants grown on tea waste compost + perlite showed superiority in all measured traits in comparison with other media. One of the important indicators for evaluating substrates is the dry weight of the shoots. In this study, plants grown on tea waste compost + perlite media had higher shoot dry weight and leaf number, which could be due to higher cation exchange capacity and nitrogen content in these media. In contrast, the plants grown in the media of rice husk compost + perlite had the lowest growth characteristic compared to other treatments. The decrease in growth parameters in this substrate can be attributed to the low percentage of nutrients, water holding capacity, and cation exchange capacity.
According to the results of this study, the combined substrate of tea waste compost+ perlite, can be a good substitute for imported peat moss in the interior green walls and sustainable green space development due to its proper nutritional characteristics, and low substrate weight and cost, as well as the abundance of these substrates in factories of northern Iran.


  1. Abad, M., Nouguera, P. and Bures, S., 2001. National inventory of organic waste for use as growing media for ornamental potted plant production: case study in Spain. Bioresource Technology. 77, 197-200.
  2. Ali, Y.S.S., 2008. Use of date palm leaves compost as a substitution to peatmoss. American Journal of Plant Physiology. 3, 131-136.
  3. Allison, L.E., 1965. Organic carbon. p. 1367-1378. In C.A. Black et al. (Eds.), Methods of soil analysis, Part 2. American Society of Agronomy, Madison, WI, USA.
  4. Atiyeh, R.M., Edwards, C.A., Subler, S. and Metzger, J.D., 2001. Pig manure vermicompost as a component of a horticultural bedding plant medium: effects on physicochemical properties and plant growth. Bioresource Technology. 78(1), 11-20.
  5. Azimi, M., Azizi, M., Farsi, M. and Nemati, H., 2016. Effects of different agricultural wastes on some growth factors, yield and crude polysaccharide content of fruit of “Reishi” a medicinal mushroom. Journal of Horticulture science. 30(1), 88-92. (In Persian with English abstract).
  6. Chen, Y., Inbar, Y. and Hadar, Y., 1988. Composted agricultural wastes as potting media for ornamental plants. Soil Science. 145, 298-303.
  7. Choi, E.Y., Lee, Y.B. and Kim, J.Y., 2001. Nutrient uptake and yield of cucumber cultivated with different growing substrates under a closed and an open system. Acta Horticulturae. 548, 543-550.
  8. Fonteno, W.C., Cassel, D.K. and Larson, R.A., 1981. Physical properties of three container media and their effect on poinsettia growth. Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science. 106, 736-741.
  9. Gaspar-Marques, C., Rijo, P., Simões, M.F., Duarte, M.A. and Rodriguez, B., 2006. Abietanes from Plectranthus grandidentatus and P. hereroensis against methicillin- and vancomycin-resistant bacteria. Phytomedicine. 13, 267–271.
  10. Golestani, M.A., Dolatkhahi, A., Vahdati, N. and Roudsari, O.N., 2014. Utilization of rice hull as a new substrate for turf grass seed germination in sod production as a sustainable approach. Journal of Ornamental Plants. 4(1), 33-37.
  11. Harada, Y. and Inoko, A., 1980. Relationship between cation-exchange capacity and degree of maturity of city refuse composts. Soil Science and Plant Nutrition. 26(3), 353-362.
  12. Hasandokht, M.R., Mastoori, F. and Padasht Dehkaii. D.M., 2009. Effect of tea waste and tree bark waste composts on some properties of growing media and quantity and quality of greenhouse lettuce. Iranian Journal of Horticultural science. 40(1), 1-8. (In Persian with English abstract).
  13. Kang, J.G. and Iersel, M.W., 2004. Nutrient solution concentration affects shoot: root ratio, leaf area ratio, and growth of subirrigated salvia (Salvia splendens). HortScience. 39(1), 49-54.
  14. Khalighi, A. and Padasht Dehkaei, M., 2000. Effect of media produced by tea break, tea waste, rice hull and Azolla as A Substitute for peat on growth and flowering of marigold (Tagetes patula cv. Golden Boy). Iranian Journal of Horticultural science. 31(3), 557-565. (In Persian with English abstract).
  15. Krumfolz L.A., Wilsonand S.B. and Stoffella P.J., 2000. Use of compost as a media amendment for containerized production of perennial cat whishkers. SNA Research Conference. 45, 69-72.
  16. Larcher, F., Fornaris, A. and Devecchi, M., 2013. New substrates for living walls. Acta Horticulturae. 999, 277-281.
  17. Mahbob Khomami, A. and Dehkaei, M.P., 2010. Effect of composted Azolla in different growth media on growth and nutrient elements compasition in Ficus benjamina plant cv. Starlight. Seed and Plant Production Journal. 52(4), 417-430. (In Persian with English abstract).
  18. Manso, M. and Castro-Gomes, J., 2015. Green wall systems: a review of their characteristics. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. 41, 863-871.
  19. Mohammadi Torkashvand, A., Deljooy-E-Tohidi, T. and Hashemabadi, D., 2015. Effect of different growth media and fertilization methods on growth characteristics and yield of English daisy. Journal of Science and Technology of Greenhouse Culture. 5(4), 95-109. (In Persian with English abstract).
  20. Mohammadi Torkashvand, A., Karami, A. and Mahboub Khomami, A., 2013. Zeolite: an appropriate alternative for peat in growth medium of Diffenbachia Ornamental Plant. Journal of Science and Technology of Greenhouse Culture. 4(2), 81-96. (In Persian with English abstract).
  21. Morel, P. and Gullemain, G., 2004. Assessment of the possible phytotoxicity of a substrate using on easy biotest. Proc. on growing media. Acta Horticulturae. 644, 417-423.
  22. Nourani, S.H., Kafi, M. and Mahboub, A., 2013. The effect of palm wastes compost as peat substitute on cultivation of Dieffenbachia Amoena Ornamental Plant. Journal of Science and Technology of Greenhouse Culture. 4(3), 89-99. (In Persian with English abstract).
  23. Padasht Dehkaei, M.N. and Gholami, M., 2009. Effects of different media on growth of pot plants Dracaena marginata Ait. and Beaucarnea recurvata Lem. Seed and plant production. 25(2), 63-77. (In Persian with English abstract).
  24. Padasht Dehkaei, M.N., 2004.Effect of tea wastes on composting of shredded and non-shredded tree bark and effects of mixes on growth of French marigold. Seed and Plant Improvement Journal. 20(3), 359-372. (In Persian with English abstract).
  25. Papafotiou, M., Phsyhalou, M., Kargas, G., Chatzipavlidis, I. and Chronopoulos, J., 2005. Olive-maill waste compost as growth medium component for the production of poinsettia. Horticultural Sciences. 102, 167-175.
  26. Rice, L.J., Brits, G.J., Potgieter, C.J. and Van Staden, J., 2011. Plectranthus: a plant for the future? South African Journal of Botany. 77, 947–959.
  27. Shaw, N.L., Cantllife, D., Funes, J. and Shine, C., 2004. Successful Beit Alpha cucumber production in the greenhouse using pine bark as an alternative soilless media. Hort Technology. 14(2), 289-294.
  28. Tayama, H. and Roll, T., 1990. Tips on growing poinsettias. 2nd Ed. Ohio Coop. Extension services. Ohio State University, Columbus, USA.