UF/IFAS plant breeders can play ‘Cupid’ for Valentine’s Day

The College of Florida scientists breed oodles of ornamentals. For instance, David Clark, a UF/IFAS professor of environmental horticulture, breeds dozens of coleus vegetation. Amongst people who he thinks might make for a superb Valentine’s Day reward known as, sarcastically, ‘Heartbreaker.’

It’s simple to develop, with good, multi-colored foliage, pink facilities, and daring colour that lasts a very long time within the panorama, mentioned Clark.

“After giving or having fun with it as a present, individuals can plant the coleus of their spring gardens – within the solar or shade — and it’ll final all yr till frost. It’s a superb bang for the buck and an ideal plant as a result of it was bred and chosen underneath harsh environmental situations in North Florida,” he mentioned.

One other researcher, Zhanao Deng, breeds a number of decorative vegetation – together with caladiums — on the Gulf Coast Analysis and Schooling Heart in Hillsborough County.

“We’re working with growers to provide potted caladium vegetation for Valentine’s Day,” Deng mentioned. “For instance, ‘Fairytale Princess’ caladium will be grown in containers for this vacation. We’re engaged on one other cultivar known as ‘White Butterfly.’ Sooner or later, we’ll adapt different caladium cultivars for occasions like Valentine’s Day.”

Deng additionally breeds gerbera daisies, that are common within the backyard. Their daisy-like blooms make for long-lasting reduce flowers.

On the UF/IFAS Mid-Florida Analysis and Schooling Heart, Alfred Huo breeds a number of vegetation, together with snapdragons. They tolerate warmth and drought and are available in a wide range of sizes and colours.

“Snapdragons are lovely backyard vegetation with distinctive spikes of flowers,” mentioned Huo, an assistant professor of horticultural sciences. “They can be utilized for border gardens, flower packing containers, and patio containers. They make an ideal addition to any backyard, notably within the winter season in Florida. Snapdragon flowers resemble the snout of a dragon, and their flowers are available in virtually all placing colours: crimson, yellow, purple, pink, crimson and salmon, white.”

“The scent and colour of some varieties additionally entice butterflies and honeybees,” Huo mentioned, making them a superb addition to a pollinator backyard.

Talking of scent, different UF/IFAS scientists work to reinforce the aroma of sure ornamentals, any one in all which may very well be gifted for Valentine’s Day.

As an illustration, Thomas Colquhoun, an affiliate professor of environmental horticulture, works with lilies, daylilies, violas, petunias, and caladiums.

“We remoted a cool function in caladium flowers and launched it to a different species to attempt to enhance floral perfume,” Colquhoun mentioned. “To our shock, it labored within the lab. We’re within the strategy of validating and making a secure product.”

“If you need a strong-scented reduce flower, lilies are one of the best,” he mentioned. Some could say lilies are too sturdy, so I’d decide roses or Hyacinths in a pot.”

Supply: https://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/information/2023/02/07/uf-ifas-plant-breeders-can-play-cupid-for-valentines-day/  

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