Choose a Planting Substrate and Fertilization Method to Achieve Optimal Growth of Araucaria excelsa

Document Type: Original Article


1 Department of Horticulture, Rasht Branch, Islamic Azad University, Rasht, Iran

2 Department of Soil Science, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

3 Soil and Water Research Department, Gilan Agricultural and Natural Resources Research and Education Center, AREEO, Rasht, Iran


Due to the lack of scientific knowledge for the use of substrate and best fertilizing method in the growth of Araucaria excelsa, it is crucially important to find the most appropriate planting substrate and fertilizing method. The effect of conventional fertilizing method and the application of Fe nanofertilizer were studied on the growth of A. excelsa in which six fertilizing methods and three substrates were examined in a factorial experiment based on a Randomized Complete Design with three replications. The seedlings of A. excelsa were transferred to 4-L pots after the selection of substrate type and were placed in greenhouse at day/night temperature of 21-23/17-19°C. Some growth indices were recorded including plant height, lateral shoot length, stem diameter, root length, shoot and root fresh weight, shoot and root dry weight, total fresh and dry weight, and the concentrations of some nutrients in leaves. It was found that the substrate A3 (25% cocopeat + 25% vermicompost + 25% light soil + 25% perlite) was the most appropriate substrate for this plant in terms of most estimated traits (lateral shoot length, root fresh weight, root dry weight, total dry weight, and shoot P and Fe content). Among fertilizing compounds, the treatment B3 (Ferrilene + NPK (20-20-20) + diammonium phosphate + potassium sulfate + ammonium sulfate) was found to be superior for some traits like lateral shoot length, shoot fresh weight, total fresh weight, shoot dry weight and total dry weight. It was revealed that the treatment A3B2 (25% cocopeat + 25% vermicompost + 25% light soil + 25% perlite) + diammonium phosphate, potassium sulfate and ammonium sulfate was the most appropriate treatment in terms of shoot and root fresh weight, total fresh weight and total dry weight. So, it is recommended to apply this treatment in the production of Araucaria excelsa.

Graphical Abstract

Choose a Planting Substrate and Fertilization Method to Achieve Optimal Growth of Araucaria excelsa


  • The substrate A3 (25% cocopeat + 25% vermicompost + 25% light soil + 25% perlite) was the most appropriate substrate for this plant;
  •  The treatment B3 (Ferrilene + NPK (20-20-20) + diammonium phosphate + potassium sulfate + ammonium sulfate) was found to be superior;
  •  A3B2 (25% cocopeat + 25% vermicompost + 25% light soil + 25% perlite) + diammonium phosphate, potassium sulfate and ammonium sulfate was the most appropriate treatment for production of Araucaria excelsa.


Arshad, M. 2009. A study on the effect of vermicompost on vegetative and flowering traits of petunia. 6th Conference of Horticulture. Guilan University. (In Persian)

Aslam Khan, M. and Ahmad, I. 2002 . Growth and flowering of Gladiolus hortulanus L. cv. Wind Song as influenced by various levels of NPK. International Journal of Agricultural and Biology, 6(6): 1037-1039.

Bachman, G.R. and Metzger, J.D. 2008. Growth of bedding plants in potting substrate amended with vermicompost. Bioresource Technology, 99: 3755-3761.

Banijamali, S. M. 2004. Effect of the sources of K and micronutrients on quantitative and qualitative yield of chrysanthemum. First National Seminar on Cut-Flowers of Iran, (p. 74). Pakdasht, Tehran. (In Persian).

Bindra, A.S. 1983. Iron chlorosis in horticulture and field-crops. Kalyanni Publishers. New Dehli.

Budiarto, K., Sulyoa, Y., Dwi, E.S. and Maaswinkelb, R.H.M. 2006. Effects of types of media and NPK fertilizer on the rooting capacity of chrysanthemum cuttings. Indonesian Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 7(2): 67-70.

Campbell, N.S. 2008. The use of rockdust and composted materials as soil fertility amendments. M.Sc Thesis, University of Glasgow. 402 p.

Chamani, E., Joyce, D.C. and Reihanitabar, A. 2008. Vermicompost effects on the growth and flowering of Petunia hybrida Dream Neon Rose. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 3: 506-512.

Claussen, W. and Lenz, F. 1995. Effect of ammonium and nitrate on net photosynthesis, flower formation, growth and yield of eggplants (Solanum melongena L.). Plant and Soil, 171: 267-27.

Dibenedetto, A.H., Klasman, R. and Boschi, C. 2004. Use of river waste in growing media for ornamental herbaceous perennials. Journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology, 79: 119-124.

Ehyaei, M. and Behbahanizadeh, A. A. 1993. A description of soil chemical analysis methods in Water and Soil Research Institute. Technical Journal of Water and Soil Research Institute,93. (In Persian).

El-Naggar, A.H. 2009. Response of (Dianthus caryophyllus L.) plants to foliar nutrition. World Journal of Agriculture Sciences, 5(5): 622-630.

Gayasinghe, G.Y., Liyana Arachchi, I.D. and Tokashiki, Y. 2010. Evaluation of containerized substrates developed from cattle manure compost and synthetic aggregates for ornamental plant production as a peat alternative. Resources Conservation and Recycling, 54: 1412–141.

Gheibi, M.N. and Malakouti, M.J. 1999. The requirement for optimum fertilization for increasing yield and quality of grain corn. Technical Journal, Soil and Water Research Institute. (In Persian).

Gholamnezhad, S., Aruei, H. and Nemati, H. 2012. Effect of cocopeat and vermicompost media on emergence, quantitative and qualitative criteria of Capsicum annuum L. seedling. Journal of Horticultural Science, 4(25): 369-375. (In Persian).

Hosseinpour, R., Sepanlu, M.Q. and Salek Gilani, S. 2015. Effect of vermicompost application on the concentration of micronutrients in soil and lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) plants. Journal of Crop Improvement, 17 (3): 815-826. (In Persian).

Imami, A. 1995. Study and comparison of the methods for total P measurement . Technical Journal No. 939. Soil and Water Research Institute, 939. (In Persian).

Katyal, J.C. and Sharma, B.D. 1980. A new technique of plant analysis to resolve iron chlorosis. Soil and Plant, 55: 105-119.

Khalaj, H., Razzazi, A., Nazaran, M.H., Labbafi Hosseinabadi, M.R. and Beheshti, B. 2009. Comparison of efficiency of a nano Fe chelate organic fertilizer produced domestically with an imported one in increasing the durability and qualitative traits of greenhouse-produced cucumber. Second National Conference of Nanotechnology Application in Agriculture. Karaj: Seed and Plant Research Institute. (In Persian).

Mahboob Khomami, A. 2011. Effect of sawdust vermicompost in pot media on nutrition and growth of dieffenbachia (Dieffenbachia amonea) plant. Seed and Plant Production Journal, 26(4): 435-444. (In Persian).

Manteghi, N. 1986. Methods for laboratorial studies of water and soil samples. Technical Journal No. 168. Water and Soil Research Institute. (In Persian).

Mazaherinia, M., Astaraei, A.R., Fotovat, A. and Monshi, A. 2010. Effect of nano iron oxide particles and on Fe, Mn, Zn, Cu concentrations in wheat plant. World Applied Science Journal, 7(1):156-162.

Misaghi, M. 2013. Effects of different substrates and irrigation intervals on the growth of Aruacaria excelsa. M.Sc. Thesis, Islamic Azad University, Rasht Branch, Iran. (In Persian).

Moez Ardalan, M. and Savaghebi Firouzabadi, G. 1997. Fertilization of trees (1st ed.). Tehran, Iran: Jahad Publishing Institute. (In Persian).

Mohammadi Torkashvand, A. 2000. A study on the effects of slag and convertor sludge as amendment to aciditic soils and Fe fertilizer in limy soils. M.Sc. Thesis, Isfahan University of Technology, Isfahan, Iran. (In Persian).

Mohammadi Torkashvand, A., Alidoost, M. and Mahboob Khomami, A. 2014. Effects of peanut shell compost as substrate on the growth of Dracaena marginata L. Journal of Horticultural Science, 28 (1): 34-42. (In Persian).

Mohammadi Torkashvand, A., Deljoi Tohidi, T., Hashemabadi, D. and Kaviani, B. 2014. Effect of different substrates and fertilization methods on growth and yield daisy. Journal of Greenhouse Culture Science and Technology, 20 (5): 95-109. (In Persian).

Mohammadi, H., Tabrizi, L. and Salehi, R. 2014. Effect of different vermicompost ratios in substrate on the growth of Physalis peruviana L. seedlings. Iranian Journal of Horticulture Science, 45 (4): 383-390. (In Persian).

Mohammadipour, R. 2012. Effect of Fe fertilization by soil or foliar application on growth traits of Spathiphyllum. M.Sc. Thesis, Islamic Azad University, Rasht Branch, Rasht, Iran. (In Persian).

Mortvedt, J., Giordano, J. and Lindsay, W.L, 1982. Micronutrient in agriculture. Soil Science Society American Inc. Madison Wisconsin, U.S.A.

Mousavi, S. A. and Ronaghi, A.M. 2007. Effect of soil and foliar application of Fe and Mn on dry matter yield and trace elements in beans. 10th Iranian Conference on Soil Sciences. (In Persian).

Niedziela, C.E., Kim, S. H., Nelson, P.V. and De Hertogh, A.A. 2008. Effects of N–P–K deficiency and temperature regime on the growth and development of  Lilium            longiflorum ‘Nellie White’ during bulb production under phytotron conditions.      Sciatica Horticulturae, 116: 430–436.

Nikfarjam, H. 2013. Effects of substrate and fertilizing method on the growth of Aruacaria excelsa. M.Sc. Thesis, Islamic Azad University, Rasht Branch, Rasht, Iran. (In Persian).

Omidi, J., Hatamzadeh, A. and Mahboob Khomami, A. 2013. Effect of peanut shell application on physical properties of agricultural soil and yield of violet in free space. Second National Conference of Sustainable Agriculture Development and Healthy Environment. (In Persian).

Peyvandi, M., Parande, H. and Mirza, M. 2011. Camparison of nano Fe chelate with Fe chelate effect on growth parameters and antioxidant enzymes activity of Ocimum basilicum. New Cell Molecular Biotechnology, 1 (4): 89-98. (In Persian).

Saberi, Z., Khosgoftarmanesh, A., Kalbasi, M., Mobli, M. and Haghighi, M. 2013. Effect of different substrates on the uptake of macro and microelements by cherry tomatoes. Journal of Greenhouse Planting Science and Techniques, 4 (15): 77-86. (In Persian).

Sainz, M.J., Taboada-Castro, M.T. and Vilarino, A. 1998. Growth mineral nutrition and mycorrhizal colonization of red clover and cucumber plants grown in a soil amended with composted urban wastes. Plant and Soil, 205: 85-92.

Sajedi, N.A. and Ardakani, M.R. 2008. Effect of different rates of N, Zn and P fertilization on physiological indices of forage corn in Markazi Province. Iranian Journal of Agricultural Research, 6 (1): 99-109. (In Persian).

Sajid, G.M., Kaukab, M. and Ahmad, Z. 2009. Foliar application of plant growth regulators (PGRs) and nutrients for improvement of lily flowers. Pakistan Journal of Botany, 41(1): 233-237.

Salardini, A.A. 2005. Soil Fertility. 3th ed. University of Tehran Publication. 402 p.

Samiran, R., Kusum, A., Biman, K.D. and Ayyanadar, A. 2010. Effect of organic amendments of soil on growth and productivity of three common crops viz. Zea mays, Phaseolus vulgaris and Abelmoschus esculentus. Applied Soil Ecology, 45: 78-84.

Senthilkumar, S., Sriramachandrasekharam, M.V. and Haripriya, K. 2004. Effect of vermicompost and fertilizer on the growth and yield of rose. Journal of Interacademicia, 8 (2): 207-210.

Sheikhi, J. and Ronagi, A. 2013. Effect of salinity and vermicompost application on nutrient concentrations and yield of spinach in a limy soil. Journal of Greenhouse Planting Science and Techniques, 4 (13): 81-92. (In Persian).

Shi, Z.Q., Jobin- lawler, F. Gosselin, A., Turcotte, G., Papadopoulos, A.P. and Dorais, M. 2002. Effect of different EC management on yield, quality and nutraceutical properties of tomato grown under supplemental lighting. Acta Horticulturae, 580: 241-247.

Sihag, D. and Singh, J.P. 1997. Effect of organic materials on ammonia volatilization losses from urea under submerged  condition. Journal  of Indian Society Soil Science, 45: 822-825.

Snagwan, P., Garg. V.K. and Kaushik, C.P. 2010. Grows and yield response of marigold to potting media containing vermicompost produced from waster. The Environmentalist, 30(2):123– 130.

Tavan, T., Niakan, M. and Nourinia, A. 2014. Effect of K nanofertilizer on growth factors, photosynthesis system and protein content of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) cv. N8019. Iranian Journal of Plant Ecophysiological Research, 9 (3): 61-71. (In Persian).

Tehrani, H. 2013. Effect of four substrates on vegetative and reproductive traits of strawberries cv. Selva and Diament in soilless culture. M.Sc. Thesis, Vali Asr University, Rafsanjan, Iran. (In Persian).

Torabian, S. and Zahedi, M. 2013. Effect of foliar application of iron sulphate in conventional form and nanoparticles on the growth of sunflower cultivars under salinity stress. Iranian Journal of Crop Science, 44 (1): 109-118. (In Persian).

Verdonck, O. and Gabriels, R. 1992. I. Reference method for the determination of physical properties of plant substrates. II. Reference method for  the determination of chemical properties of plant substrates. Acta Horticulturae, 302: 169-179.

Vleeschauwer, D. De., Verdonck, O. and Boodt, M. D. 1980. The use of town refuses compost in horticultural substrates Acta Horticulturae, 148: 147-153.

Zadehbagheri, M., Sohrabnejad, A., Aboutalebi Jahromi, A. and Sharafzadeh, S. 2011. Effect of N and P application on some physicochemical characteristics and postharvest longevity of Narcissus. New Agriculture Findings, 6 (21): 35-47. (In Persian).

Zhiping, J., Jianwei, L., Wenix, L. and Juan, Z. 2008. Studies on fertilization effect and formula screen for (Calendula officinalis L.). Acta Horticulturae Sinica, 35: 269-276.