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Effects of irrigation, peat-alternative substrate and plant Habitus on the morphological and production characteristics of Sicilian rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) biotypes grown in pot

  • Autori: Salvatore La Bella; Giuseppe Virga; Nicolò Iacuzzi; Mario Licata; Leo Sabatino; Beppe Benedetto Consentino; Claudio Leto; Teresa Tuttolomondo
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2021
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista
  • OA Link:


Irrigation and growing substrate are considered as essential cultivation practices in order to obtain good productive and qualitative performance of potted rosemary plants. In pot growing, the chemical, physical and biological characteristics of the substrate must be stable over time in order to allow regular plant growth. However, the effects of cultivation techniques on the characteristics of potted rosemary are little known. Peat is traditionally used as the organic growing medium; however, despite numerous advantages, its use has determined a degradation of peatlands in the northern hemisphere and an increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The aim of the present study was to assess the effects of irrigation and peat-alternative substrates on the morphological, aesthetic and production characteristics of potted Sicilian rosemary biotypes with different habitus types. Two years, two different irrigation levels, three peat-alternative substrates and three types of rosemary plant habitus were tested in a split-split-split-plot design for a four-factor experiment. The results highlight that irrigation and substrate determined significant differences for all tested parameters. Rosemary plants demonstrated the best performances when irrigation was more frequent; vice versa, the greatest percent content in essential oil was obtained when irrigation events were less frequent. The chemical–physical characteristics of peat-alternative substrates changed with decreases in the peat content and increases in the compost content. The erect habitus biotype showed the best adaptation capacity to the various treatments. Our results suggest that irrigation and peat-alternative substrates significantly affect the growth of rosemary plants and should, therefore, be taken into consideration in order to improve the cultivation of this species in pots for ornamental purposes.