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- Author or Editor: Yiyun Lin x
Microbial biostimulants can promote ornamental plant growth during production and improve crop performance under abiotic stresses. Even though biostimulants have shown potential in many agricultural applications, the effectiveness and specificity of many products are not well understood. The objective of this study was to analyze the growth-promoting effects of microbial biostimulants during the greenhouse production of floriculture crops. We evaluated 13 biostimulant products in greenhouse-grown zinnia (Zinnia elegans ‘Magellan Ivory’) and petunia (Petunia ×hybrida ‘Carpet White’) at low fertility (one-third of the optimal fertilizer concentration). Biostimulant products 1 and 2 containing multiple species of beneficial bacteria and fungi, and product 10 containing Bacillus subtilis QST 713, were found to increase various aspects of plant growth, including the growth index, leaf chlorophyll content (SPAD index), and shoot biomass. Both flower biomass and numbers were greater in petunia treated with product 1, and leaf size increased in zinnia treated with products 1, 2, and 10. Plants treated with these effective biostimulants at low fertility had similar or better growth and quality than untreated plants grown under optimal fertility. The concentration of various nutrient elements in leaves was higher in zinnia plants treated with biostimulant products 1, 2, or 10 compared with the negative control. Some putative mechanisms for biostimulant effectiveness, the possible reasons for biostimulant ineffectiveness, and the potential for using biostimulants as a sustainable cultural strategy are discussed. This study provides useful information about microbial biostimulant effectiveness, which is important for the development and utilization of biostimulants in the greenhouse production of floriculture plants.