Lilies as cut flowers are one of the most important ornamental plants in South Korea, whose main cultivation regions are Gangwon, Jeju, and Chungcheongnam provinces, with a total cultivation area of 215 ha and an annual value of US$34 million in 2011 according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA, 2012). Cut lilies in South Korea are ranked third in ornamental production following cut roses (Rosa ×hybrida) and cut chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum sp.), and the main types are Oriental hybrids that comprise 82% of the total cut lily production (MAFRA, 2012).
Some cut lilies are consumed on the domestic market and ≈30% are exported to Japan. The quality and price of cut lilies are affected by their freshness, which means that South Korea, owing to its proximity, has an advantage for sales to Japan. However, the sale price of cut lilies from South Korea is lower than those from Japan in Japanese flower auctions (Seo et al., 2012). To raise the price of cut lilies, improvements in the distribution structure and quality of cut lilies are necessary, which creates a demand for research and the development of technology for all aspects of production from cultivation to distribution.
Only 8 ha are devoted to the production of lily bulbs in South Korea, therefore, most lily bulbs are imported from the Netherlands and other countries, at a total cost of about US$7 million (MAFRA, 2012) and total number of about 24 million bulbs according to the Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency (APQA, 2012). The Netherlands, which dominates the total world bulb trade, has the largest production area with 4280 ha, and produces 2.21 billion lily bulbs (Benschop et al., 2010). The cost of purchasing lily bulbs comprises about 48% of gross margins for South Korean lily farms according to the Rural Development Administration (RDA, 2011). Because of the financial burden of purchasing bulbs, the development of new domestic cultivars and the domestic production of lily bulbs are required.
This survey, the first of its kind in South Korea, assessed the popularity of cultivars and the characteristics of lily cultivation to use these results to develop new cultivars and cultivation techniques for South Korea’s lily farms. A second objective was to determine the demands of the industry and producers and to gather specific information regarding diseases, pests, and horticultural problems in relation to their severity and differences among cultivars.
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