Consumer acceptance of an organically-grown ornamental

Alex Bolques, Edwin R. Duke, Gary W. Knox, Tim Hewitt

Abstract


Organically grown greenhouse herbs have been successfully produced and marketed. We believe this success indicates a potential market for organically grown ornamentals to environmentalist consumers and for use in landscapes requiring plants grown with minimal synthetic inputs. Organically grown crops have a higher perceived value by consumers and also are often more costly to produce than conventional crops. Currently organic herbs and nursery crops compose only 90 acres in Florida out of the estimated 14,500 acres in the US organic crop. Methods for organic container plant production were studied by comparing conventional and alternative production components such as substrates, organic fertilizers, and alternatives to chemical weed control. Lantana 'New Gold' and Buddleia 'Royal Red' were successfully grown using these organic production methods. Based on plant salability, Lantana 'New Gold' was used in a consumer acceptance and pricing study at a retail garden center. Conventional and organically grown lantanas were marketed side by side in the garden center at different prices. Garden center staff recorded the number of each group purchased each day for a two-week period. Based on sales records, consumers chose conventionally grown lantanas in preference to the higher priced organically grown lantanas.

Keywords


alternative media; organic methods; organic ornamentals; organic fertilizer; organic substrate

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283