Natural Resources, School of


Date of this Version



Published in Scientia Horticulturae 106:2 (September 1, 2005), pp. 203–212; doi: 10.1016/j.scienta.2005.02.020 Copyright © 2005 Elsevier B.V. Used by permission.


Cultivation of roses in various soil-less media was studied with the aim to identify the optimum soil condition for rose production. Madelon roses grafted on rootstock of Rosa indica var. major were transplanted to polyethylene bags containing zeolite and perlite (at ratios of 25z:75p, 50z:50p, 75z:25p and 100z:0p, v/v) in a climate-controlled greenhouse. Net photosynthesis (Anet), stomatal conductance (gs) and water use efficiency (WUE) of roses were followed for 5 months. Flower production and quality were recorded in three flowering flushes during a 5-month period. Analysis of variance of repeated measurements showed that even though the overall Anet did not differ among treatments (average 18.7 μmol m−2 s−1), trends in Anet seasonality for roses in 25z:75p substrate differed significantly from those in 50z:50p, 75z:25p or 100z:0p. Stomatal conductance did not show any significant seasonality or trends in response to substrate mixtures, averaging 0.89 mol m−2 s−1. Water use efficiency was significantly lower for roses in 25z:75p than in 100z:0p mixtures (1.8 ± 0.15 and 2.0 ± 0.13 μmol m−2 s−1 CO2 /mmol m−2 s−1 H2 O, respectively). Cumulative production of rose plants did not differ among substrate mixtures. Productivity significantly differed among flower stem classes. Stem class I (>70 cm) and class V (≤30 cm) exhibited the least production, contributing to only 7.6 and 3.7% of the total production, respectively. The highest productivity was observed in classes III (51–60 cm) and IV (31–50 cm), contributing to the bulk of productivity (68.4%). Class II contributed a 20.3% of the production. Results showed that zeolite and perlite acted as inert materials. Zeolite did not exert any positive effect on productivity, in contrast to what has been reported in literature recently. Use of perlite resulted in a little improvement in photosynthesis, however this improvement was not reflected by a significant increase in production.