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Worldwide floral sales exceed $25 billion annually and the U.S. ranked 12th of 15 countries in per capita floral consumption. The objective of this paper is to summarize published consumer research in the floral industry. Floral purchases are often correlated to demographic characteristics. Age and income are positively correlated to floral expenditures. Research has investigated differences in purchasing behavior by gender and nationality. Studies have documented consumer preferences for flower and color preferences. Consumer purchase frequency and retailer patronage have also been investigated. Multivariate analyses have enabled researchers to relate many variables simultaneously to floral purchases yielding market segments and perceived product value. Consumer research in the floral industry began in 1956, yet less than 100 studies have been published to date.

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Consumers' first-hand experience with products can increase their knowledge, which can stimulate sales. The purpose of this study was to determine if in-store floral demonstrations would increase fresh flower inventory (a measure of sales). Demonstrations were conducted for eight weeks on consecutive Fridays and Saturdays in September and October, 1992, in eight stores of a mid-western supermarket chain. Four test and four control stores in the same market area participated. Trained demonstrators contacted 18,418 consumers during 512 hours of demonstrations and distributed 4450 fresh flowers and 15,216 packets of floral preservative. After 11 weeks of monitoring, we observed a 28% increase in the average fresh flower inventory of demonstration stores compared to control stores (P = 0.0750). Supermarket in-store floral demonstrations increased average fresh flower inventory.

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Eleven rose cultivars were field planted and evaluated weekly for disease, defoliation, and overall vigor in order to compare natural resistance to blackspot (Diplocarpon rosae). Alternative treatments were also compared for efficacy in low-maintenance disease control. Treatments included a bimonthly application of chlorothalonil, a bimonthly application of a horticultural oil, an application of chlorothalonil based on rain events, and a no-treatment control. Cultivars showed significant differences in disease severity, defoliation, and overall performance, with old garden rose varieties showing more natural disease resistance than modern susceptible varieties included in the study. Chlorothalonil applied on a 14-day spray schedule did provide a significant decrease in blackspot disease severity when compared to other treatments. A significant incidence of secondary disease including Cercospora rosicola and Botrytis cinerea occurred on old garden rose varieties. No treatment differences were found for these diseases. `Belinda's Dream', `The Fairy', and `Red Mediland' ranked highest in overall performance throughout the season.

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Five antitranspirant materials, a horticultural oil, the fungicide chlorothalonil, and an untreated control were applied to rose plots using one of four application schedules. After 12 weeks, treatments were evaluated for their effectiveness in control of blackspot. Disease (P=0.0022) and defoliation (P=0.0008) showed significant treatment differences, while vigor and flowering were unchanged. Two antitranspirants, Stressguard 0.05% applied every 2 weeks and NuFilm17 1% alternated with chlorothalonil around rain events, gave similar disease control to weekly chlorothalonil applications. One antitranspirant, Vapor Gard, 1 % alternated with chlorothalonil around rain events, gave similar defoliation control to weekly chlorothalonil applications. These results indicate that blackspot disease can be effectively managed with fewer applications of chlorothalonil.

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Some consumer preference studies show that red is the most popular flower color. Most data analyses were univariate. Conjoint analysis allows simultaneous determination of attribute preferences without all alternatives being shown. Our purpose was to determine consumer preferences for geranium flower color, leaf variegation, and price simultaneously using conjoint analysis. Two-hundred and four consumers shopping at two Montgomery, Ala., garden centers in Apr. 1993 rated 25 composite geranium photographs. A lavender geranium, `Danielle', with green and white leaf variegation priced at $1.39 was most preferred. Flower color was most important in the purchase decision, followed by price. Leaf variegation was a minor consideration in the purchase decision.

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Consumer flower-color preferences are of interest to market researchers, plant producers, and retailers because this information can help them to anticipate accurately the sales product mix. Our objective was to determine consumer bract-color preferences for 47 poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. ex Klotzsch) cultivars. Visitors (124) to the Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus, Ohio, rated `Sonora', a red cultivar, highest (4.6 of 5.0) of any cultivar. Nine of ten highest rated cultivars were red. We compared the ratings of poinsettia buyers with those of nonpoinsettia buyers and found only one difference: nonpoinsettia buyers rated `Jingle Bells III', a marble cultivar, higher (4.3) than poinsettia buyers (3.8). We also compared consumers who had purchased a red poinsettia to those who had purchased nonred colors and found that red poinsettia buyers rated `Sonora' higher (4.9) than nonred poinsettia buyers (4.5). Men rated `Red Elegance' higher (3.7) than women (3.3), whereas women rated `Freedom White' higher (3.1) than men (2.4). We found few differences between men and women, buyers and nonbuyers, and nonred buyers and red buyers, which may indicate a relatively homogeneous market that does not greatly differentiate among poinsettia bract color.

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The use of composted waste materials as an alternative source of potting media has received much interest in recent years. Our objective was to incorporate composted, ground poultry litter into a standard greenhouse potting mix, and evaluate the effect of the poultry litter on vegetable transplants grown in the greenhouse and transplanted to the field. Treatments consisted of potting mixes of 100% potting media or 50/50 media/poultry litter. Collards (Brassica oleracea L. var. acephala DC.), broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica Plenck.), cabbage (Brassica oleracea L. var. capitata L.) and three tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) cultivars were utilized as test crops. A nutrient solution treatment of 8 oz of 8N-11P-7K fertilizer or 8 oz of water was added when transplants were set in the field. Plant weight and nitrogen content were measured weekly during the greenhouse production stage, and final crop yield was recorded at harvest. Any effect from the inclusion of poultry litter in the potting media on cole crop (collards, broccoli, cabbage) transplant dry weight had disappeared by the fourth week of sampling in the greenhouse, and final yield of cole crops was unaffected by either type of potting mix or presence or absence of starter nutrient solution. Dry weight of tomato transplants was not affected by type of potting media. Differences in tomato yield due to type of potting mix were observed, as plots with transplants grown in the 50/50 mix had greater nonmarketable yields (`Bonnie' and `Big Boy'). Yield of `Big Boy' tomato was increased by the addition of starter nutrient solution. It appears that composted, uniformly prepared waste materials are suitable for production of vegetable transplants.

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Two surveys were conducted to determine the importance of characteristics of containers of edible flower which could be sold to consumers in retail outlets. Self-selected participants at Bloomfest at Cobo Hall in Detroit, Mich., were assigned to one group that rated the importance of attributes such as edible flower color of Viola × wittrockiana `Accord Banner Clear Mixture', color combinations, container size, and price of the container. Participants assigned to a second group rated color, color combinations, and size. Flower color was allocated the most points in the purchasing decision (63% for the first group and 95% for the second group), with a mixture of all three colors (blue, yellow, and orange), proving to be the most desirable. Responses were subjected to Conjoint Analysis (SPSS Inc., Chicago), which resulted in the formation of three groups of customer segmentation. The groups were labeled “Likely Buyer” who had eaten and purchased edible flowers before and rated characteristics of edible flowers favorably; “Unlikely Consumer” who had eaten edible flowers before and had rated characteristics of edible flowers unfavorably; and “Persuadable Garnishers” who had not eaten edible flowers before, but were very likely to purchase edible flowers for a garnish for a meal.

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In-field (IF) and above-ground (AG) container production of landscape ornamentals are both conventional methods which were compared to a newer production method, pot-in-pot (PIP). Our objective was to determine costs and economic feasibility for each method. Model nurseries were synthesized to represent a 4-ha nursery utilizing 2 ha of production area operating over a three-year period. Finished plant material were grown in 40-L containers for above-ground and pot-in-pot production, and 2 m ball and burlapped material for in-field production. One budget was constructed to reflect costs for Lagerstroemia indica, Cornusflorida, and × Cupressocyparis leylandii under each production method. Capital requirements and annual fixed costs for all three species were lowest for IF and highest for PIP production. Variable costs for all tree species were lowest for IF and highest for AG with PIP intermediate. With better utilization of a given production area, PIP had the lowest total cost of production, followed by AG and IF methods.

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Aboveground container production revolutionized woody plant production. In-ground pot-in-pot container production combines the benefits of container production with traditional field production. Our objective was to determine the specific costs of production for field-grown, aboveground container, and pot-in-pot production methods for Lagerstroemia indica. We found differences in production cost with varying levels of input required by each production method. Pot-in-pot production systems had higher fixed and variable costs and a higher initial capital investment compared to the other two production methods. However, per unit production costs were similar to aboveground container production due to lower labor and equipment requirements.

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