The horticulture industry, specifically in Florida, has been one of the fastest growing industries in the United States (Hodges, 2011). For example, total horticulture industry sales in Florida, which includes wholesale nurseries ($1.46 billion), horticultural retailers ($1.75 billion), and landscape services ($2.70 billion) increased from $5.9 billion in 1997 to $15.2 billion in 2005 (Hodges and Haydu, 2000, 2006). In 2008, wholesale nursery industry sales value in Florida was estimated at $3.52 billion (Hodges, 2011). With support from the federal government, state agencies, and private organizations, the use of native plants has been a growing segment in the horticulture industry (Executive Order 13112, 1999; National Wildlife Federation, 2007; Peppin et al., 2010; Richards et al., 1998; Tamimi, 1999). In 2004, native plant sales comprised 13% of total horticulture sales in the United States (Brooker et al., 2005). Native plant sales accounted for 19% of total plant sales in Florida during 2008 (Hodges, 2011).
Water management issues (Potts et al., 2002), land restoration and management practices (Curtis et al., 2005; Peppin et al., 2010), concerns about invasive ornamentals (Gagliardi and Brand, 2007; Yue et al., 2011), and landscape architects’ demands and recommendations (Brzuszek and Harkess, 2009; Brzuszek et al., 2007) are major influences on native plant sales. Although gaining in popularity, native plants are still under-used because of a small market, nurseries with limited production and capital, higher prices for plant materials, lack of familiarity with native plants, and the misconception that natives are not as ornamental as nonnatives (Norcini, 2006). Of these concerns, lack of knowledge and education regarding the use and identification of native plants is a major concern for both the industry and consumers (Brzuszek and Harkess, 2009; Peppin et al., 2010; Pérez et al., 2010; Potts et al., 2002).
Within the native plant industry, a small market focuses on the sale of annual and perennial wildflowers (Pérez et al., 2010). In Florida, native plant industry members typically produce and grow FNWs from seeds. Native wildflowers and seeds, in turn, are often used for revegetation, restoration, erosion control, and highway beautification projects (Harper-Lore and Wilson, 2000; Lowery, 1983; Milstein, 2005; Pérez et al., 2010). The wildflower industry has not only become popular in the last 30 years, but the industry is highly competitive (Milstein, 2005). From recent conversations with industry members, major concerns limiting the FNW market include lack of shared knowledge, concerns about plant material origin and source, and seed-processing issues. The purpose of this survey was to learn about the native plant industry's attitude toward native wildflowers. Specifically, we were interested in the industry's knowledge about FNW propagation and production via seeds as well as the current and future trends for native wildflowers.
Alabama Cooperative Extension System n.d Watershed and Stream Restoration in Alabama: General Information 5 May 2011. <http://www.aces.edu/waterquality/streams/general.htm>.
Broadhurst, L., Lowe, A., Coates, D., Cunningham, S., McDonald, M., Vesk, P. & Yates, C. 2008 Seed supply for broadscale restoration: Maximizing evolutionary potential Evol. Applications 1 587 597
Brooker, J., Eastwood, D., Hall, C., Morris, K., Hodges, A. & Haydu, J. 2005 Trade flows and marketing practices within the United States nursery industry: 2003 Tennessee Agr. Expt. Sta., Southern Coop. Ser. Bul. 404.
Brzuszek, R.F. & Harkess, R.L. 2009 Green industry survey of native plant marketing in the southeastern United States HortTechnology 19 168 172
Brzuszek, R.F., Harkess, R.L. & Mulley, S.J. 2007 Landscape architects’ use of native plants in the southeastern United States HortTechnology 17 78 81
Curtis, K., Cowee, M. & Slocum, S. 2005 Nevada wildland seed cooperative feasibility assessment Univ. Ctr. Econ. Dev., Dept. Resource Econ., Univ. of Nevada Reno, NV
Executive Order 13112 1999 Invasive species 5 May 2011. <http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=1999_register&docid=99-3184-filed.pdf>.
Gagliardi, J.A. & Brand, M.H. 2007 Connecticut nursery and landscape industry preferences for solutions to the sale and use of invasive plants HortTechnology 17 39 45
Hodges, A. 2011 Production and marketing practices in the Florida nursery industry, 2008 Dept. Food Resource Econ., Florida Coop. Ext., Inst. Food Agr. Sci., Univ. of Florida Gainesville, FL
Hodges, A. & Haydu, J. 2006 Economic impacts of the Florida environmental horticulture industry in 2005 Dept. Food Resource Econ., Florida Coop. Ext., Inst. Food Agr. Sci., Univ. of Florida Gainesville, FL
Hooper, V. 2003 Understanding Utah's native plant market: Coordinating public and private interest. Utah State Univ., Logan, UT MS Thesis.
Hufford, K.M. & Mazer, S.J. 2003 Plant ecotypes: Genetic differentiation in the age of ecological restoration Trends Ecol. Evol. 18 147 155
Johnson, R., Stritch, L., Olwell, P. & Lambert, S. 2010 What are the best seed sources for ecosystem restoration on BLM and USFS lands? Native Plants J. 11 117 131
Jones, T. & Monaco, T. 2009 A role for assisted evolution in designing native plant materials for domesticated landscapes Front. Ecol. Environ 7 541 547
Lynn, J.C., Auberle, W., Peppin, D.L., Fule, P. & Mottek-Lucas, A.L. 2008 Northern Arizona native plant market feasibility study Northern Arizona Univ. Flagstaff, AZ
Meyer, S. 2005 Intermountain native plants growers association: A nonprofit trade organization promoting landscape use of native plants Native Plants J. 6 104 107
Milstein, G. 2005 The uses and potential of wildflower seed in landscaping 39 41 McDonald M. & Kwon F. Flower seeds biology and technology CABI Wallingford, UK
Norcini, J. 2006 Native plants: An overview Dept. Environmental Hort., Florida Coop. Ext., Inst. Food Agr. Sci., Univ. of Florida Gainesville, FL
Peppin, D.L., Fulé, P.Z., Lynn, J.C., Mottek-Lucas, A.L. & Hull Sieg, C. 2010 Market perceptions and opportunities for native plant production on the southern Colorado plateau Restor. Ecol. 18 113 124
Pérez, H.E., Adams, C.R., Kane, M.E., Norcini, J.G., Acomb, G. & Larsen, C. 2010 Awareness of and interest in native wildflowers among college students in plant-related disciplines: A case study from Florida HortTechnology 20 368 376
Tamimi, L. 1999 The use of native Hawaiian plants by landscape architects in Hawaii Virginia Polytechnic Inst. State Univ. Blacksburg, VA MS Thesis.
Vasquez, L. & Haynes, J. n.d Solutions for your Life: Lawn and Garden Publications 5 May 2011. <http://miami-dade.ifas.ufl.edu/pdfs/fyn/Native-Nurseries-in-South-Florida.PDF>.
Waterstrat, J. 1997 Assessment of the native plant market in the southeastern United States Mississippi State Univ. Starkville, MS MS Thesis.
Woosaree, J. 2000 Market assessment of the native plant industry in western Canada Alberta Environ., Alberta Agr. Food Rural Dev., Alberta Res. Council, Vegreville AB, Canada
Yue, C., Hurley, T.M. & Anderson, N. 2011 Do native and invasive labels affect consumer willingness to pay for plants? Evidence from experimental auctions Agr. Econ. 42 195 205