A fully expanded hydrogel, Agrosoke, was used to replace 5% (1 ×) or 10% (2 ×) of the volume of a potting medium to determine its effect on plant growth and water use. Although irrigation frequency was unaffected by Agrosoke, spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum (Thunb.) Jacques ‘Vittatum’) grown in the 2 × medium were 50% larger and had more lateral shoots and better root systems than the control, demonstrating improved water use efficiency. Agrosoke had no effect on either irrigation frequency or on fresh weight of Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata (L.) Schott. ‘Rooseveltii’). Leachates from hydrogel-amended media had higher electrical conductivity indicating that more nutrients and other salts were held by these media.
A contribution of the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843.
2Assistant professor and research associate, resp.