Types of Shelter and Covering Materials Influencing Growth, Pigment, and Nutrient Concentrations of Baby Rubber Plants (Peperomia obtusifolia)

in HortScience

The cultivation of ornamental plants under different types of shelter and covering materials which reduce light intensity, resulting in morphological and physiological changes, needs to be evaluated before any large-scale use of such types of shelter covers. Baby rubber plants were grown in pots filled with peat under four different shelters and covering materials as follows: MG (multitunnel greenhouse with thermo-reflective aluminised screen), BG (buried solar greenhouse with thermo-reflective aluminised screen), NH (net house covered only with antipest mesh) and NH-AS (net house with antipest mesh and thermo-reflective aluminised screen). At the end of the experiment, the growth parameters and color of leaves, as well as photosynthetic and nutritional parameters, were assessed for each treatment. Baby rubber plants grown under NH-AS showed the highest values for growth parameters. The absence of shading in a net house may result in photoinhibition, reducing the growth and increasing the values of red (R) and blue (B) in leaves, which may be related to the increase of anthocyanin synthesis. The low level of radiation intercepted in the multitunnel and the buried greenhouse increased chlorophyll, N and P leaf concentration, while for K concentration, there was no clear trend and Na and Cl leaf concentration were similar under the different types of shelter. We concluded that the production of baby rubber plants under net house with antipest mesh and thermo-reflective aluminised screen is the best option to maximise the market value of baby rubber plants.

Contributor Notes

The authors thank Timothy Flowers for his suggestions and English style corrections. The authors also thank the funding of this work by the group AGR-242 from University of Almería (Sustainability of Horticultural and Ornamental Protected Systems).

Corresponding author. E-mail: pedrogar123@hotmail.com.

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Article Figures

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    Semispheroidal shape of Peperomia obtusifolia plants [V (volume) = 3/4·п·r2·h (r = radium of the plant, h = height of the plant).

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    Time course of climatic parameters in each shelter typology throughout the experiment. GR = global radiation (MJ·m−2·d−1), PAR = photosynthetically active radiation (MJ·m−2·d−1), Tmin = minimum temperature, Tave = average temperature, and Tmax = maximum temperature (temperature are expressed in °C). MG = multitunnel greenhouse, BG = buried solar greenhouse, NH = net house with antipest mesh and NH-AS = net house with antipest mesh and aluminised screen.

  • View in gallery

    Total aerial part dry weight and partitioning in stems (S), mature leaves (ML), young leaves (YL), buds (B), and petioles (P) in each shelter typology.

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