2017 Volume 55 Issue 4 Pages 171-174
There are many advantages associated with the hydroponic culture of edible Opuntia, including the precise fertilizer management and elimination of soil-borne diseases and weeds. We designed a new cost-effective and simple method for the hydroponic culture of edible Opuntia, and assessed its effectiveness by comparing the growth of cladodes by this method and by pot culture using a growth chamber and a greenhouse. The average length of the first daughter cladodes grown in the hydroponics culture was greater than that in the pot culture in both the growth chamber and the greenhouse. The total fresh weight (FW) of cladodes harvested from one mother in the hydroponics culture with fertilizer was greater than that in the pot culture and became significantly larger in the greenhouse as compared with that in the growth chamber in all the treatments. The speed of cladode growth and FW of harvested cladodes were least in cladodes grown in the hydroponics culture without any fertilizer. These results showed that growth conditions, including fertilizer concentration, temperature, and light environment greatly affect cladode growth. Our results suggest that the new proposed hydroponic culture method is effective for the cultivation of edible Opuntia.