Optimisation of nitrogen and potassium for Aloe vera (L.) Burm.f. in a soilless culture system
Aloe vera (L.) Burm.f. is highly appreciated due to its short growth period and high economic value among all Aloe species, and is used in pharmaceuticals, folk medicine, healthcare, cosmetic products and food products. Hydroponic systems have the potential to improve the cropping management and to achieve higher produce quality standards in leafy vegetables. However, the identification of optimal soilless practices such as nutrient solution preparation is critical in order to increase yield and quality. This study was conducted to evaluate the growth of A. vera in four nutrient solutions containing different NH4+:NO3− ratios and potassium concentrations. Interaction between nutrient solutions and sampling times affected all measured characteristics. The highest nitrogen concentration showed the best results at all sampling times. Thus for A. vera plants, NO3− supply combined with low quantities of NH4+ favours growth.
Keywords: Aloe vera, ammonium, growth, medicinal plant, nitrogen