Past Floriculture Research Projects
Production and Marketing Sustainability
Currently, one of the most widely discussed topics in the floriculture industry, which is promulgated by consumers exhibiting greater degrees of environmental awareness, is the issue of environmental sustainability. This has led to a desire for products that not only solve the needs of consumers but are also produced and marketed using sustainable production and business practices. Consumers increasingly place a great emphasis on sustainable product packaging and this has carried over to the greenhouse industry in the form of biodegradable pots. While various forms of eco-friendly pots have been available for several years, their marketing appeal was limited due to their less-than-satisfying appearance. With the recent availability of more attractive biodegradable plant containers, a renewed interest in their suitability in the floriculture sector and their consumer acceptance has emerged. The objective of this research is to determine the characteristics of biodegradable pots that consumers deem most desirable and to solicit their willingness-to-pay (WTP) for this type of product. [Funding Provided by the American Floral Endowment (AFE), Horticultural Research Institute (HRI) the USDA Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP), The Ball Horticultural Company, and the Purdue Agriculture Mission Orientated Grant].
Field and High Tunnel Cut Flower Production
U.S. cut flower production of chrysanthemum, rose, and carnation has been displaced by production in the tropical highlands where favorable climatic and economic conditions converged to render domestic production industry non-competitive. The window of opportunity for domestic cut flower production lies in the field of specialty cut flowers. Consumer interest in unique floral products, together with a movement towards buying local have created economic opportunity in this area. Our research will begin with a screen of specialty cut flowers to determine their suitability for field production in the midwest region. Additional research would compare field to high tunnel (unheated hoop house) production to determine if yield and quality parameters can be improved, and the growing season extended. Future research opportunities can explore the economics of specialty cut flower production and marketing. [Funding provided by the Indiana Specialty Crop Block Grant and the Purdue Agriculture Mission Orientated Grant]
Flowering Physiology of New Greenhouse Crops
Photosynthetic daily light integral (DLI) is an important variable closely related to growth and quality of greenhouse grown crops. DLI can be a limiting factor for greenhouse production especially during winter and early spring, when most floriculture crops are propagated. Outdoors, it can range from 5 to 10 mol.m-2.d-1 in the northern part in the United States (U.S.). These values can be reduced by 50% or more by shading from greenhouse glazing, structures, obstructions, and hanging baskets resulting in DLI as low as 1 to 5 mol.m-2.d-1 or even lower during extended periods of cloudy weather; which can delay rooting and reduce quality. Tecoma stans (yellow trumpet bush) is a potential new floriculture crop for greenhouse growers in the northern U.S. It produces funnel-shaped, bright yellow flowers that compliment the glossy green pinnate leaves. We are quantifying how the mean DLI during propagation and finishing influences morphological plasticity, rooting, growth, development, and quality of Tecoma stans. [Funding Provided by the Purdue Agriculture Research Programs Assistantship (ARP)]