Multistate evaluation of plant growth and water use in plastic and alternative nursery containers Academic Article uri icon


  • 2015, HortTechnology. All rights reserved. Containers made from natural fiber and recycled plastic are marketed as sustainable substitutes for traditional plastic containers in the nursery industry. However, growers acceptance of alternative containers is limited by the lack of information on how alternative containers impact plant growth and water use (WU). Weconducted experiments in Michigan,Kentucky, Tennessee,Mississippi, and Texas to test plant growth and WU in five different alternative containers under nursery condition. In 2011, Roemertwo wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei) wereplantedin three types of #1 (1 gal) containers 1) black plastic (plastic), 2) wood pulp (WP), and 3) recycled paper (KF). In 2012, Green Velvet boxwood (Buxus sempervirens B. microphylla siebold var. koreana) was evaluated in 1) plastic, 2)WP, 3) fabric (FB), and 4) keratin (KT). In 2013, Dark Knight bluebeard (Caryopteris clandonensis) was evaluated in 1) plastic, 2) WP, and 3) coir fiber (Coir). Plants grownin alternative containers generally had similar plant growth as plastic containers. Roemertwo wintercreeper had high mortality while overwintering in alternative containers with no irrigation. Results from different states generally show plants grown in fiber containers such asWP, FB, and Coir usedmorewater than those in plastic containers. Water use efficiency of plants grown in alternative containers vs. plastic containers depended on plant variety, container type, and climate.

published proceedings

  • HortTechnology

author list (cited authors)

  • Wang, X., Thomas Fernandez, R., Cregg, B. M., Auras, R., Fulcher, A., Cochran, D. R., ... Geneve, R. L.

complete list of authors

  • Wang, X||Thomas Fernandez, R||Cregg, BM||Auras, R||Fulcher, A||Cochran, DR||Niu, G||Sun, Y||Bi, G||Nambuthir, S||Geneve, RL

publication date

  • January 2015