Agronomy and Horticulture Department


Date of this Version



Greenhouse Grower, August 2012, pp. 78-84.


Copyright by Ellen T. Paparozzi and George E. Meyer.


THIRTY years ago, capillary mats were used for production of floricultural pot crops like Easter lilies. The advantage was that plants could be grown practically pot-la-pot, thus maximizing plants per square foot. Also, since Easler lilies grow best when fertigated with tempered water delivered on a uniform schedule, the capillary mat was ideal.

During the 1990s, capillary mats for growing plants fell out of favor as a fcrti gatian method when compared to drip irrigation and other sub-irrigation methods. However, recent advances in electronic controls, mat composition and the use of a drip tape to deliver water directly to the mat at even locations, make cap-mat watering worthy of another look. Combine this with concerns about groundwater contamination, quantity, quality and costs associatcd with water usage, cap mats and their low-water requirements will certainly come back into the greenhouse growing picture.