Special Issue "Sustainability and Quality in Ornamental Horticulture: Challenges and Perspectives"

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395). This special issue belongs to the section "Horticultural and Floricultural Crops".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 28 February 2020.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Valentina Scariot
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences, University of Torino, Italy
Interests: floriculture; ornamental plants; medicinal and aromatic plants; soilless cultivation; biostimulants; nursery management; stress physiology; ornamental quality; postharvest physiology and techniques; phytochemicals.

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Cut flowers and ornamental plants are mainly desired for their decorative function. Thus, high-quality products are needed to meet the expectations of customers. Within the last decades, globalisation has had a major impact on the ornamental horticulture industry. The production and market for cut flowers and ornamentals are changing, raising sustainability concerns.

This brings with it challenges and opportunities for growers and the whole supply chain.

Research programs need to apply multidisciplinary approaches to improve existing ornamental crops and develop novel products, as well as new methods of propagation, cultivation, and postharvest handling.

This Special Issue invites original research and reviews developed to understand the current ornamental horticulture challenges, forecast future changes and identify opportunities to grow the overall market.

Prof. Valentina Scariot
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Agronomy is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • cut flowers and foliage
  • ornamental plants
  • propagation
  • open-field cultivation
  • protected cultivation
  • soilless culture
  • lowering control
  • temperature
  • light
  • water
  • nutrition
  • media
  • plant growth regulation
  • postharvest
  • supply chain
  • environment sustainability
  • quality
  • traceability

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Cultivation Substrate Composition Influences Morphology, Volatilome and Essential Oil of Lavandula Angustifolia Mill.
Agronomy 2019, 9(8), 411; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9080411 - 26 Jul 2019
Abstract
Aromatic plants are commonly produced for ornamental, cosmetic and medicinal purposes. Their morphological traits and the amounts and compositions of the volatile substances and essential oils (EOs) produced can be influenced by several factors, including the cultivation technique. In the present study, the [...] Read more.
Aromatic plants are commonly produced for ornamental, cosmetic and medicinal purposes. Their morphological traits and the amounts and compositions of the volatile substances and essential oils (EOs) produced can be influenced by several factors, including the cultivation technique. In the present study, the influence of substrate composition on Lavandula angustifolia Mill. production was evaluated. In particular, substrates containing mixes of peat (P), green compost (C) and/or demolition aggregates (A) were tested in the following ratios: 70%:30% v/v, P:C; 70%:30% v/v, P:A; and 40%:30%:30% v/v, P:C:A. The P:C mixture allowed to obtain the best results in terms of survival rate, compactness of the plant and flower production. The P:C:A led to higher yields and better quality of EOs, with higher amounts of linalool, an important compound for medicinal uses. The volatiles and the blooming trend were not affected by the different cultivation substrates. Therefore, substrate composition in pot lavender cultivation can be regulated depending on the final use of the plant, successfully using locally sourced material in addition to peat. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Application of Proximal Optical Sensors to Fine-Tune Nitrogen Fertilization: Opportunities for Woody Ornamentals
Agronomy 2019, 9(7), 408; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9070408 - 23 Jul 2019
Abstract
Today, high amounts of residual nitrogen are regularly being reported in the open field production of hardy nursery stock. In some cases, excessive fertilizers or side-dressings are applied when circumstances are not favorable for uptake. Aquatic as well as terrestrial ecosystems are sensitive [...] Read more.
Today, high amounts of residual nitrogen are regularly being reported in the open field production of hardy nursery stock. In some cases, excessive fertilizers or side-dressings are applied when circumstances are not favorable for uptake. Aquatic as well as terrestrial ecosystems are sensitive to enrichment with nutrients, but growers also benefit when losses are avoided. In this study, the potential of proximal optical sensors to optimize nitrogen fertilization was investigated in four woody species: Acer pseudoplatanus L., Ligustrum ovalifolium Hassk., Prunus laurocerasus ‘Rotundifolia’ L. and Tilia cordata Mill. For three consecutive growing seasons, plants were grown under three different fertilization levels to generate different nitrogen contents. Plant growth and nitrogen uptake were monitored regularly and combined with sensor measurements including Soil Plant Analysis Development (SPAD), Dualex and GreenSeeker. Here, we show that optical sensors at the leaf level have good potential for assisting growers in the sustainable management of their nursery fields, especially if leaf mass per area is included. Nevertheless, care should be taken when plants with different leaf characteristics (e.g., wax-layer, color, and leaf thickness) are measured. When all measuring years were considered, high correlations (R2 ≥ 0.80) were found between area-based foliar nitrogen content and its non-destructive proxy (i.e., chlorophyll)measured by Dualex or SPAD. Based on our results, we recommend a relative rather than absolute approach at the nursery level, as the number of species and cultivars produced is very diverse. Hence, knowledge of absolute threshold values is scarce. In this relative approach, a saturation index was calculated based on the sensor measurements of plants grown in a reference plot with an ample nitrogen supply. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Different LED Light Intensities and 6-Benzyladenine Concentrations in Relation to Shoot Development, Leaf Architecture, and Photosynthetic Pigments of Gerbera jamesonii Bolus In Vitro
Agronomy 2019, 9(7), 358; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9070358 - 07 Jul 2019
Abstract
A mixture of red and blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs; at a ratio of 7:3, respectively) were used to analyze the effects of different photosynthetic photon flux densities (PPFDs) (40, 80, and 120 µmol m−2 s−1 hereafter known as LED 40, 80, [...] Read more.
A mixture of red and blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs; at a ratio of 7:3, respectively) were used to analyze the effects of different photosynthetic photon flux densities (PPFDs) (40, 80, and 120 µmol m−2 s−1 hereafter known as LED 40, 80, and 120, respectively) on the micropropagation of Gerbera jamesonii Bolus shoots. The experiment also examined the effect of 6-benzyladenine (BA) in 1, 2.5, and 5 µM concentrations in the media. Biometrical observations and analyses of leaf morphometry and photosynthetic pigment content were conducted. Shoot multiplication increased with an increasing BA concentration. A PPFD of 80 µmol m−2 s−1 and 5 µM BA is suggested as efficient for shoot propagation and economically viable. LED 120 increased the leaf blade area and its width, and circularity and elongation ratios. The intensity of light did not affect the fresh weight, which increased at higher BA concentrations (2.5 and 5 μM). The dry weight content decreased with increasing cytokinin concentration; the greatest content was observed on media with 1 µM BA under PPFD 120 µmol m−2 s−1. LED 80 increased the photosynthetic pigments content in the leaves in comparison to the standard intensity of LED 40. Increased BA concentration raises the content of chlorophyll a. Full article
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Sustainability of Ornamental Plant Production in Different Cultivation Areas

Mariani L., Toscano S., Romano D., Ferrante A.

The ornamental plant production is widespread in greenhouses especially in Euro-Mediterranean area. A quantitative assessment of greenhouse energy consumption and of its variability in space and time is strategic to improve the sustainability of cultivation. Ornamental crops grown in greenhouse do not have particular production season since the consumer’s demand is constant through the year. However, the cultivation areas with their environmental parameters can strongly affect the sustainability of the production. A dynamic simulation model of greenhouse energy balance with an hourly time step was developed and parameterized for a state-of-the-art greenhouse to evaluate the lighting and heating requirements for rose flowers crop growing. This ornamental crop has been used as model species, for its wide spreading and high energy requirement for flower induction and development. The energy demand for roses production has been analyzed for the period 1973-2014. Results provide useful information as the roses cultivation has different energy needs for greenhouse production in different sites of the Euro-Mediterranean area with relevant effects on economic and environmental sustainability.

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