Potting soil mixes are the most important factors for quality production of flowers in floriculture. It becomes farmer’s first preference these days because flowering crops provide higher returns than traditional crops and its marketing offers both small and large scale growers a way to increase the level of sustainability on their farms. Globally, more than 140 countries are involved in cultivation of floriculture corps (Anonymous, 2006).
In the last few years farmers and nursery men are much concerned about the potting media as it play an important role in plant production. There is a continuing interest by using various agricultural by-products as an organic nutrient source for plants due to increasing awareness of environment-related issues, as well as the need to dispose off and use rising amounts of waste (Grigatti, 2008).
Organic materials from agriculture, forestry, green areas and livestock farming as well as residues from municipal and industrial waste are strongly recommended for use as renewable resources in pot production that palliate their harmful and negative impact on local and global environmental degradation. Peat is the most widely used substrate for potted plant production in the nurseries and accounts for a significant portion of the materials used to grow potted plants (Marfa et al., 2002; Ribeiro et al., 2007).Waste materials are the potential substitute for peat for sustainable horticulture production.
Dahlia is an important beautiful flower which belongs to family compositae and native from Mexico. It has attainted attention of many people all over the world by virtue of extra-ordinary quality of flowers and variation in colour and size. It has currently 35 renowned species and about 20,000 cultivars. It is conjectured that more than 1000 distinct varieties are being cultivated all over the world (Titchmarsh, 1986; Vinayananda, 1994).
It also has a wide range in plant heights that is from a few cm to more than 250 cm. It has two types: tall, border selections and dwarf, bedding types. Dahlia x ‘Figaro Improved’ is the dwarf variety with 1 to 2 feet maximum plant height. Dahlia is mostly grown as bedding plant but may also be grown in pots using different composition of media (Giannasi, 1998). The dwarf types are usually best for container gardening. It is a perennial, half hardy, herbaceous plant with tuberous root system and erect growing habit. In Pakistan it is mostly grown as winter flower because of severe climatic conditions during summer (Ahmed et al., 2004). Therefore, hybrid and local cultivars of dahlia are available in markets as winter annual. Due to variety of flower sizes it is being used as garden display, house beautification, pot plant, border of lawns and as a superb cut flower.
Apart from its many uses in ornamental horticulture industry, it is also valued as alternative medicine. Stems of the dahlia can also be used in herbal medicine for the treatment of a disorder called the "closed...