Peat is a common component in growing media used to produce ornamental plants. Studies continue to look for suitable alternative components
that could replace peat. Researchers in the Dept. of Agronomy, Forestry and Land Management at the Univ. of Turin, Italy, evaluated 5 materials (local green compost, pumice, coconut fibers, coconut “peat” and pine bark) as media components. 3 camellia cultivars, which prefer acidic soils, were produced in media consisting of peat alone and in combination with the alternative components. Studies
showed that other than the green compost, the alternative components performed as well or better than the standard peat medium, reports RedOrbit Inc. Green compost increased the medium pH, which negatively affected the plants. The green compost plants were rated the lowest in all measured categories. Coconut fiber and pine bark were the most suitable peat alternatives. When technical and economic factors were taken into consideration, coconut fibers were determined to be the best option.