Nursery cultivation is recognized globally as an intensive production system to support quality seedlings as well as to manage resources efficiently. Apart from other factors, potting media (PM) play a crucial role in determining the success of nursery cultivation. Worldwide, peat is the most commonly used substrate in PM because of its favorable physicochemical properties. However, due to ascending environmental and ecological concerns regarding the use of peat, a variety of new substrates have been used/tested by researchers/practitioners/growers as PM. Bark, coir pith, wood fiber, compost derived from various agro-residues, and vermicompost either alone or in combination are some of the commonly explored substrates and found to have the potential to replace peat to a greater extent. In lieu of availability, abundance, low cost, and no/low processing requirement, the use of agro-industrial residue (AIR) in the PM is the current trend. However, challenges associated with their adoption cannot be ignored. The present review is focused on providing collective information, scientific knowledge and detailed analysis of various AIR used in PM. The critical evidence-based review would help in developing a consistent approach for the identification, selection and characterization of a new renewable substrate. In addition, it would help in developing a rationale understanding of the practical and economic realities involved in the adoption of the same in PM.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s13399-021-01998-6.