How a cultivation test works

To test the plant safety of a substrate or substrate component, RHP can conduct a cultivation test. Such a growth test can also be used as a diagnostics tool if problems arise during cultivation. Have a look at the new RHP video below which explains the process.


A cultivation test shows whether a substrate or substrate component is safe to use, which is particularly important for professional horticulture. A cultivation test is a growth test in which the indicator crops of lettuce, cress and kohlrabi are sown on both the substrates to be tested and a reference substrate. For a good assessment of growth results the reference has been made comparable in terms of physical aspects and nutrition. The germination and growth of the crops are analyzed for 2 to 3 weeks, which should provide an idea of how the substrate is performing.

Diagnostics tool
A cultivation test is also used as a diagnostics tool. Because it is impossible to determine all risks in a laboratory setting, plants are used as an indicator. A number of different factors can influence the growth of a crop. If the cultivation test indicates a particular problem, further research can be carried out with a specific laboratory analysis.

Different test crops

If a certain risk factor is expected, then a different specific indicator crop is chosen for the cultivation test rather than the standard indicator crops of lettuce, cress and kohlrabi. Substrates such as expanded clay granules and pumice are too coarse to sow in. Therefore, an extract is drawn from this and added to the culture system in an aqueous solution for testing.

For more information
View the Knowledge Base for more information about the cultivation test.

Source: RHP

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