Low substrate water content is efficient for the performance of Ficus pumila ‘Variegata’ indoors

Suyun Nam, Chaehee Hong, Seong Kwang An, Jongyun Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This study investigated how the substrate volumetric water content (VWC) and fluctuating irrigation affect the growth and performance of variegated Ficus pumila ‘Variegata’ indoors using a soil moisture sensor based-automated irrigation system. The irrigation treatments consisted of three treatments maintaining a constant VWC (at 0.20, 0.40, and 0.60 m3·m-3) and one treatment with a fluctuating VWC (threshold, 0.20 m3·m-3; 0.20 F). Plant shoot growth, chlorophyll content, leaf variegation, and coloration parameters were measured at four weeks after treatment. The 0.20 and 0.20 F treatment groups had lower shoot fresh weight than the groups maintained at higher VWC thresholds. Although the 0.40 and 0.20 F treatments had similar average VWCs during the experiment, the 0.20 F group had less shoot growth than the 0.40 group, resulting in a lower irrigation amount. Physiological responses, such as leaf relative water content and F v/F m, were not affected by irrigation treatment. Similarly, leaf variegation and coloration were not influenced by the irrigation treatments. A higher irrigation amount was required to maintain the 0.60 treatment group compared to the 0.40 treatment group, even though there were no significant differences in growth parameters between the groups. In contrast, plants in the 20 F treatment group had high water use efficiency, as they had proper growth with low irrigation amounts. Overall, maintaining a low water content or providing intermittent irrigation at 0.20 m3·m-3 provided a slow growth of F. pumila ‘Variegata’ indoors, resulting in adequate plant performance and ease of management for house plants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)583-591
Number of pages9
JournalHorticulture Environment and Biotechnology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Aug

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by KoSFarm, Institute of Planning and Evaluation for Technology in Food, Agriculture and Forestry in Korea (grant number: 421027-04).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Korean Society for Horticultural Science.


  • Automated irrigation system
  • House plant
  • Indoor plant
  • Irrigation strategy
  • Leaf variegation
  • Soil moisture sensor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Plant Science
  • Horticulture


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