Author Archives: Bill Argo

About Bill Argo

Bill Argo is technical manager of Blackmore Co. You can eMail him at

Combining Plants Based On Tolerances

Plants may look good together in combination baskets, however the success of a mixed container depends on more than just aesthetics. Picking plants that grow well together is essential to avoid consumer dissatisfaction. You will also save employee time at retail answering why a given plant in the combo died and how the retailer should

Consumer Education On Plant Care

If gardeners are broken down into segments, one segment will try to get as much information about the plants they purchase as possible. They are the customers who purchase gardening books, participate in Master Gardener workshops or check for further information on your Web site. The second (and probably much larger) segment of gardeners don’t

Retaining Water For Healthy Plants

Your choice of growing medium and its water release characteristics are important for your customers’ success with their patio containers and baskets. The key concept is that available water-holding capacity is not the only factor in influencing how long plants go between watering. Materials such as finer, more degraded peats, clays and superabsorbent gels can

Understanding Plant Nutrition: Limestone and pH

In last month’s article, we stated that cation exchange capacity (CEC) does not play an important role in pH, calcium and magnesium buffering. The question should then be asked: Is growing in a soilless media similar to hydroponics when it comes to pH or nutritional management? Growing in a soilless root medium is not the

Producing Consumer-Friendly Baskets

Plants produced in hanging baskets and large pots have become very important for spring and summer production in many greenhouses. However, consumers and retailers have many challenges keeping containerized plants alive for any length of time. Problems often come down to keeping the plants watered and fertilized. Growers have come under pressure to improve the

Understanding Plant Nutrition: Irrigation Water Alkalinity & pH

Water quality is a key factor affecting pH and nutritional management in container-grown crops. Understanding a few technical details about water quality will help you improve nutrient management appropriate for your own greenhouse. In this article, we will discuss the difference between water pH and alkalinity. We will also discuss how to interpret water pH and

Understanding Plant Nutrition: An Introduction

Understanding nutrient management can help you prevent both crop quality and environmental problems. When nutrient imbalances arise, deficiencies or toxicities affect plant quality and profitability. The use of high fertilizer concentrations (300 to 400 ppm N) combined with heavy leaching is no longer environmentally acceptable because of the potential runoff of fertilizers, chemicals and water

Understanding Plant Nutrition: Irrigation Water As A Nutrient Source

Nutrient concentration varies dramatically between greenhouse operations (Table 1), and it has a major effect on your choice of fertilizer. Irrigation water rarely contains high enough concentrations of the primary macronutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus or potassium) to be considered significant for plant growth. However, water can contain significant concentrations of the secondary macronutrients calcium (Ca), magnesium

Understanding Plant Nutrition: Limestone, Calcium And Magnesium

The reason for adding limestone to a container media, besides pH control, is to supply calcium and, depending on the limestone, magnesium. In this article, we will discuss the nutrient content of different types of limestone and how limestone influences calcium and magnesium nutrition.  Limestone Nutrient Content There are four types of carbonate-based limestone that