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  • Author or Editor: Melinda J. Knuth x
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An online survey of plant purchasers was conducted to ascertain the influence of plant benefits messaging on consumer behavior. Three plant attributes, including type of plant, price, and plant availability, were used to distinguish purchasing preferences. To assess plant purchasing behavior, participants viewed a list of 12 different plant types and selected those they had purchased in the past year. The 12 plant types included annuals, vegetables, herbs, perennials, flowering shrubs, evergreen shrubs, fruit trees, evergreen trees, shade trees, flowering plants, foliage plants, and succulents. The most common retail locations patronized for plant purchases were home improvement stores, closely followed by independent garden centers. Consumers were grouped according to eight different plant benefit messages that they were exposed to, including physical, emotional, cognitive, social, educational, environmental, financial, and aesthetic benefits. Although some of the groups (clusters) exhibited similar purchasing behaviors in terms of plant types purchased, price levels preferred, and their preference for rare, common, or moderately available plants, there were just enough differences among groups to be able to distinguish them from other groups. The plant benefits were obviously affecting purchasing behavior, but further study is needed to understand the underlying reasons more fully.

Open Access

Flower species is one of the key determinants of the aesthetic and economic value of floral products. This research study sought to evaluate whether consumer perceptions of the aesthetic appeal and monetary valuations of floral arrangements change by substituting high-cost species with low-cost species of similar appearance. In addition, the researchers explored consumer preferences for flower symmetry, which provides information to assist floral designers in choosing and using species to increase profit margins and improve the economic efficiency of the floral industry. Two experiments were administered through an online survey. For the first experiment, no difference was shown in both willingness to pay and attractiveness ratings for flowers in the high-dollar value vs. low-dollar value comparison groups. For the second experiment, roses (Rosa hybrida) were rated the highest on attractiveness, followed by dahlia (Dahlia hybrida), ranunculus (Ranunculus asiaticus), and anthurium (Anthurium sp.). Radial flowers were considered most appealing, followed by asymmetrical flowers, and last, bilaterally symmetrical flowers. The results of this study lend insight into how the general floral consumer does not differentiate between flower species that are similar in design features such as color, size, or symmetry. This information can be used by floral business operators to sell their bouquets at a higher margin by strategically using lower-cost flower inputs.

Open Access

The nursery industry produces and sells plants for landscape and environmental purposes and represents a major sector within the US agricultural industry. In recent years, the nursery industry has undergone rapid growth as a result of various factors, including increased demand from housing development and pandemic-fueled interest in home horticulture. As with any industry, the nursery industry must adapt to changes in societal trends to sustain growth. In the wake of unprecedented societal and supply chain issues stemming from the global coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, the American Society for Horticultural Science Nursery Crops Professional Interest Group gathered experts in various disciplines to provide their opinions and insights into the future of the nursery industry, focusing specifically on the changes and challenges the nursery industry will face in the coming decade. Nursery crop specialists spanning the United States identified three primary areas that will steer the future momentum of the nursery industry: consumer trends, natural resources, and labor. Six experts were selected to represent these areas in a workshop held Jul 2022 at the American Society for Horticultural Science Annual Conference in Chicago, IL, USA. This article was developed to disseminate to the greater scientific community the discussions held and insight shared during that workshop.

Open Access