Impact of biocontainers on plant performance and container decomposition in the landscape Academic Article uri icon


  • 2015, HortTechnology. All rights reserved. As the green industry ismoving toward sustainability tomeet the demands of society, the use of biocontainers as alternatives to petroleum-based plastic containers has drawn significant attention. Field trials of seven plantable biocontainers (coir,manure, peat, rice hull, soil wrap, straw, andwood fiber)were conducted in 2011 and 2012 at five locations in the United States to assess the influence of direct-plant biocontainers on plant growth and establishment and the rate of container decomposition in landscape. In 2011, container type did not affect the growth of any of the three species used in this studywith an exception in one location. The three species were Sunpatiens Compact Magenta new guinea impatiens (Impatiens hybrida), Luscious Citrus lantana (Lantana camara), and Senorita Rosalita cleome (Cleome hybrida). In 2012, the effect of container type on plant growth varied with location and species. Cleome, new guinea impatiens, and lantana plants grown in coir and straw containers were in general smaller than those in peat, plastic, rice hull, and wood fiber containers. After 3 to 4 months in the field, manure containers had on average the highest rate of decomposition at 88% for all five locations and two growing seasons. The levels of decomposition of other containers, straw, wood fiber, soil wrap, peat, coir, and rice hull were 47%, 46%, 42%, 38%, 25%, and 18%, respectively, in descending order. Plantable containers did not hinder plant establishment and posttransplant plant growth. The impact of container type on plant growth was smaller compared with that of location (climate). Similarly, the impact of plant species on pot decomposition was smaller compared with that of pot material.

published proceedings

  • HortTechnology

author list (cited authors)

  • Sun, Y., Niu, G., Koeser, A. K., Bi, G., Anderson, V., Jacobsen, K., ... Lovell, S. T.

complete list of authors

  • Sun, Y||Niu, G||Koeser, AK||Bi, G||Anderson, V||Jacobsen, K||Conneway, R||Verlinden, S||Stewart, R||Lovell, ST

publication date

  • January 2015