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Li-Chun Huang

Product behavior represents how consumers perceive and use a product. Its importance in predicting consumer buying behavior is well documented in marketing research. There are, however, no data available investigating the role of product behavior in the floral market. This study addressed this deficiency. Data were first analyzed using factor analysis to extract the principal determinants of product behavior in the floral market. As a result, six primary behavioral factors were identified and named as: “using flowers as daily essentials,” “perceived product value,” “negative attitude toward flowers,” “using flowers as gifts,” “eventbased usage,” and “experience in receiving flowers.” The effects of these extracted behavioral factors on consumer flower purchase frequency were then further investigated with multinomial logistic regression analysis. Analytical results revealed that behaviors “using flowers as daily essentials” and “using flowers as gifts” forced consumers to become heavy users in the floral market. Conversely, “negative attitude toward flowers” negatively affected the floral purchase frequency. Experimental results in this study also suggest that promoting a positive attitude toward flowers is essential in encouraging consumers to become flower users. The intended use of flower product purchase, whether for personal use or as gifts, was the main factor affecting the frequent purchasing of flowers.

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Li-Chun Huang

Buying flowers for personal use and for gifts comprises a significant share of the retail flower market. However, data regarding flower purchasing behavior for self use and for gift use are very limited. This study applies a consumer decision process approach to identify behavioral differences in prepurchase behavior of flower purchasing between consumers who mainly purchase flowers for personal use and those who purchase them as gifts. Four hundred ninety-two valid surveys were obtained via purposive sampling, with data collected via a self-administered questionnaire. The statistical results of a stepwise discriminant analysis and t test substantiate that when making flower purchases, self users and gift users exhibit different behavioral patterns in prepurchase behavior with regard to information search, prepurchase evaluation of alternatives, retail channel choice, and store choice. It is clear that self users and gift users are two distinct market segments, and the implication is that for greater marketing efficiency, marketing strategies need to be realigned accordingly.

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Li-Chun Huang and Li-Chun Chen

Social media marketing has been widely adopted by florists with the use of the Facebook brand page. However, many florists fail to achieve their expected success in that realm because of not being fully conversant in posting on social media. To address this deficiency, this study aims to 1) develop a taxonomy of florists’ Facebook posts to clarify florists’ message strategies on Facebook brand page and 2) investigate the effect of posted messages and media formats on the marketing performance of florists’ Facebook brand pages by evaluating users’ engagement based on the number of likes, comments, and shares from users for each post. Using data derived from 1646 empirical Facebook posts initiated by florists, it was found that florists’ Facebook posts could be classified into four broad message types covering 12 categories. The statistical results for analysis of variance (ANOVA) and post hoc tests revealed that the posted message and media format had significant effects in terms of causing users to like, comment on, or share florists’ posts. Compared with other message categories, posts in the message categories of product information, gratitude to customers, and holiday greetings had more favorable effects in terms of causing users to like, comment on, or share florists’ posts. As for the effect of media format, it was the posts in the photo media format that attracted more likes, comments, and shares from users compared with those in other media formats. Florists who operate brand pages on Facebook can be guided by our research when making decisions regarding the post characteristics in message orientations and media formats for attracting favorable responses from users.

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Yen-Chun Lai and Li-Chun Huang

A high percentage of fresh flowers sold are consumed as gifts in many countries, such as Taiwan, Japan, and the United States. As gift consumption is so important for the sales of fresh flowers, consumer behavior in floral gift giving is investigated in this research. This study explored the consumer decision to purchase fresh flowers as a romantic gift for Valentine’s Day based on 1) relationship stage, 2) affection, and 3) satisfaction with the relationship. The statistical results, based on the data of 366 valid questionnaires collected from a self-administered questionnaire survey, showed that the relationship stage of “personality need fulfillment,” the affection of “passion,” and relationship satisfaction significantly influenced the consumer decision of whether to purchase fresh flowers as romantic Valentine’s Day gifts. Consumers were more likely to buy their intimate partners fresh flowers when they perceived their personality need, such as the need of being loved, was fulfilled in the relationship. When strongly passionate about that relationship, they tended to give fresh flowers in conjunction with other gifts. However, when consumers were more satisfied with their romantic relationships, they were less likely to buy their intimate partners fresh flowers. The study results have valuable implications for florists’ business alliances and advertising campaign development for promoting floral gifts efficiently.

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Li-Chun Huang and Yen-Chun Lin

As gifts are an important market sector for selling fresh flowers, this study investigated the effects of the characteristics associated with the dyads of givers and receivers on the probability of buying fresh flowers as gifts. Based on the theory of gift giving, several factors were hypothesized to influence the probability of buying fresh flowers as gifts, including givers’ financial capability and the perceived gift values of flowers, as well as knowledge of receiver’s needs, preferences, and difficulty to please. A self-administered questionnaire survey was conducted to test the hypotheses. Results of the statistical analysis based on 394 valid questionnaires revealed that the perceived gift values of flowers, i.e., the economic value, functional value, social value, and expressive value, were the most important factors for the consumer decision of whether to buy fresh flowers as gifts. However, different gift values were emphasized for fresh flowers across different relational ties. For example, economic value was the key value when the receivers were parents, whereas social value and expressive value were emphasized when the receivers were romantic partners. Different from many previous studies, this study revealed that financial capability did not influence the likelihood of givers deciding to purchase fresh flowers for gifts. The study results implied that when promoting fresh flowers for gift use, the gift values of fresh flowers need to be emphasized to consumers.

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Li-Chun Huang and Ellen T. Paparozzi

previous studies indicate that there is a significant relationship between the levels of nitrogen and sulfur applied and the growth of floricultural crops. Poinsettia and roses grew well in experiments involving hydroponic solutions that contained reduced nitrogen and some sulfur.

Cuttings of Dendranthema grandiflora cv Dark Yellow Fuji Mefo, were grown in hydroponics with either 64, 127, or 254 ppm N in combination with either 0, 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64 ppm S. Plants were grown unpinched and short day treatment started at the end of week 3. Data recorded included symptoms of S deficiency, date of flower initiation, stem length, flower diameter and visual observation of root growth. Color difference of leaves was measured with a chromameter. New leaves and flower heads were taken for sulfur analysis; mature leaves were used for N analysis.

Plants receiving no S showed depressed initiation and development of branch roots, delayed flower initiation, reddened lower leaves and reduced plant growth. Plants receiving some S in combination with any level of N showed good color and acceptable flower diameter and stem length.

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Tzu-Fang Yeh and Li-Chun Huang

Studying the value of consumption is believed to have diagnostic value in the analysis of consumer choice behavior and, therefore, is helpful in improving the efficiency of the market. The objective of this study was to identify the consumption value that consumers seek from floral products, while also clarifying the context of that consumption value. A total of 644 valid questionnaires from a consumer survey were used for the statistical analysis. The statistical results of the factor analysis revealed that sensory hedonics, emotion conditioning, curiosity fulfillment, monetary worth, and showing care to others were the main types of the consumption value in relation to floral products. Different consumer groups were found to emphasize different types of floral consumption value. Female consumers reveal a stronger demand for the value of emotion conditioning and curiosity fulfillment, while male consumers are more likely to seek the value of sensory hedonics. Consumers in rural areas reveal a stronger demand for the value of curiosity fulfillment and monetary worth, while the consumers in urban areas reveal a stronger demand for the value of emotion conditioning, with regard to the consumption value of flowers. The study results provide florists with the key value points as they seek to increase the attraction of floral products to consumers.

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Li-Chun Huang and Tzu-Fang Yeh

Consumption values are theoretically believed to be the antecedents of the outcomes of consumer purchase choice. In the floral market, even though the context of floral consumption values has been explored, the relationship between floral consumption values and consumer's purchase choice regarding floral products remains unknown. This study, however, seeks to address this deficiency by attempting to evaluate the differences in floral consumption values across consumer groups that have different purchase choices for floral products. After collecting data from a consumer survey, which yielded 615 valid questionnaires, the statistical results indicated that consumers who revealed different purchase choices in regard to flowers had different floral consumption values. In descending order, showing care to others, emotion conditioning, and sensory hedonics were the floral consumption values most strongly recognized by the majority of the consumers. However, heavy users of flowers revealed different characteristics in that they more strongly recognized the psychological value of emotion conditioning rather than the social value of showing care to others. The main difference across consumer groups that had purchased flowers with different frequencies or that preferred to buy different types of flowers had to do with the epistemic value (i.e., curiosity fulfillment). The results of this study imply that consumers who have different choice behavior toward flowers possess different evaluative judgments in regard to floral products. Such differences not only lead consumers to have different purchase choices in regard to flowers, but are also very likely to influence the consumer's behavior in regard to information search and variety seeking in the floral market, which in turn, impacts the effectiveness of commercial communication in the floral market.

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Li-Chun Huang, Ellen T. Paparozzi and Carol Gotway

`Dark Yellow Fuji Mefo' chrysanthemums (Dendranthema grandiflora Tzvelev.) were grown hydroponically with either 64, 127, or 254 mg·L-1 N and either 0, 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, or 64 mg·L-1 S in a randomized complete block. Time to flower was measured and symptoms of S deficiency were observed on root, stem, and leaf systems. New leaves and inflorescences were analyzed for S, and lower leaves were analyzed for N concentration. There were four sampling dates and two experiments. Flower diameter was measured when flowers were present, while stem length was measured every sampling date. Nitrogen application could be reduced by half to 127 mg·L-1 as long as some S, 4 mg·L-1 in the fall and 8 mg·L-1 in the spring, was applied. Sulfur deficiency symptoms observed included branchless roots, which aged earlier, overall yellowing of new leaves, and reddening on the leaf abaxial starting from older leaves and moving acropetally. Plants receiving no S had smaller leaves, shorter stems, delayed inflorescence initiation, and restricted inflorescence development. Without S, plants did not produce flowers suitable for commercial sale.

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Tao Dong, Fang-cheng Bi, Yong-hong Huang, Wei-di He, Gui-ming Deng, Hui-jun Gao, Ou Sheng, Chun-yu Li, Qiao-song Yang, Gan-jun Yi and Chun-hua Hu

An efficient biolistic transformation system of banana combined with a liquid medium selection system was developed during this study. An embryogenic cell suspension (ECS) of Musa acuminata cv. Baxi (AAA) was bombarded with a particle delivery system. After 7 days of restoring culture in liquid M2 medium, embryogenic cells were transferred to a liquid selection M2 medium supplemented with 10 μg/mL hygromycin for resistance screening. The untransformed cell clusters were inhibited or killed, and a small number of transformants proliferated in the liquid selection medium. After the 0th, first, second, and third generation of antibiotic screening, there were 0, 65, 212, and 320, respectively, vitality-resistant buds obtained from a 0.5-mL packed cell volume (PCV) of embryogenic cell suspension. The β-glucuronidase (GUS) staining, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis, and Southern blot hybridization results all demonstrated a 100% positive rate of regenerated resistant seedlings. Interestingly, the number of buds obtained through third-generation screening was almost equal to that obtained from the original ECS in M2 medium without antibiotics. These results suggested that the liquid medium selection system facilitated the proliferation of a positive transgenic ECS, which significantly improved the regeneration rate of transformants. This protocol is suitable for the genetic transformation of all banana genotypes and is highly advantageous to varieties with low callusing potential.