379 Substrate and Nutrient Variations for Optimization of Commercial Cultivation of Anthurium andreanum var.Honduras

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  • 1 Department of Life Sciences., The University of The West Indies, Mona, Kingston 7, Jamaica

The Production of the cut flowers of Anthurium andreanum was in decline after Hurricane Gilbert in 1988 and the subsequent wide-spread problem of bacterial blight in Jamaica and the Caribbean. New methods of cultivation and new varieties were necessary for the development of the industry. In addition, with the destruction of coconut trees, the supply of commonly used coconut husk became difficult. The present work has focused on the development of alternative media to coconut husk and on the development of cultural and fertilizer practices that increase plant productivity and reduce incidence of disease. The variety Honduras was chosen for the study. A 3 × 3 latin square design was used to evaluate four media—coconut husk, brick chips, gravel, and basalt igneous rock—two methods of cultivation—pots and beds; at three levels of fertilizer—244, 448 and 896 kg N/ha per year. While the coconut husk was still the better medium, the other media have resulted only in about 15% decline in the marketable blooms. This was offset by the requirement for low maintenance and lower fertilizer rates in inorganic media compared to coconut husk. Pot culture proved to be better for management purposes as well as production for the same area of production, as density of the plants could be increased and the incidence of disease could be easily managed. These results will be discussed with emphasis on a simple cost–benefit analysis of various combinations of cultivation methods and practices for commercial cultivation of A. andreanum var. Honduras in the Caribbean.

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