The rocky Ozarks soils make it difficult for some homeowners to establish ornamental gardens. An alternative to digging in rocky soils is planting into bags of potting soil. This study evaluated "Gardening in a Bag" for herbaceous bedding plants. The growth and appearance of Alternanthera, Capisum annuum, Dianthus, Gazania, Tagetes `Wave', and upright petunias, Salvia splendens, Spilanthes, Verbena, and Catharanthus roseus were evaluated in 2002 under two planting methods: in the ground vs. in bags of potting soil. Wave petunias, Dianthus, C. roseus, and Portulacagrandiflora were evaluated in 2003. All plants were mulched with 3 inches of coarse sawdust. In 2002, planting method had no effect on average height for 16 of the 25 cultivars tested. Seven cultivars were taller when grown in the ground while two cultivars were shorter in that treatment. Planting method had no effect on average plant width of 13 of the cultivars. Plant width was greater for nine cultivars grown in bags, while three cultivars were wider when grown in the ground. Visual ratings were similar for 14 of the cultivars, regardless of planting method. In 2003, performance of five species was evaluated on 3 and 29 July and 5 Sept. Plant height and width were greater on plants grown in the ground than plants grown in bags on 3 July and 5 Sept. Only plant width was significantly greater in the soil-grown plants on 29 July, although the greater height trend was still evident. Plants in the ground had more flowers than plants in bags on 3 July, but there were no differences in flower number the other two dates. Visual quality ratings were taken on the second and third dates, with no differences between treatments. Root soil temperature was higher in bags than in the ground on all three dates in 2003


Environmental Plant Science and Natural Resources

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