Relating Frequency of Floral Purchases to Product Behavior

Research in Taiwan evaluated the purchasing habits of floral industry customers to identify how product behavior influences purchase frequency. Product behavior is a result of consumer product knowledge, attitude, loyalty and expected product benefits. By identifying the factors affecting purchase frequency, the industry can create more effective market strategies.
Previous research suggested the frequency of floral purchases is an indicator of the market’s maturity. For example, in a poorly developed floral market, the average consumer  makes only 1 to 2 purchases in a year; however, in a fully developed market, 15 to 20 purchases per person per year would be expected.
The data were collected from six communities in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, collectively representing a global community due to the diverse lifestyles and international status of Kaohsiung. Individuals in public areas were surveyed. Floral products were defined as fresh products of cut flowers, potted flowering plants or foliage plants.
Six factors were identified as the main dimensions of product behavior in the floral market:

1) Using flowers as daily essentials.
2) Perceived product value (includes monetary value, quality, longevity).
3) Negative attitude toward flowers.
4) Using flowers as gifts.
5) Event-based usage (special occasions).
6) Experience in receiving flowers.

The study also assessed the current level of purchase frequency. Eighteen percent of the participants reported zero purchases in the past year. Those who made 1 to 2 purchases, identified as “low-frequency buyers,” made up 37.9% of the survey participants. Medium-frequency purchases were the most common with 39.4% reporting 3 to 14 purchases per year. Only 4.7% made purchases more than 15 time per year indication a high-frequency habit.
As expected, statistical analysis showed that those who consider flowers as essential to daily life buy flowers more frequently than others, and participants with a negative attitude toward flowers are less likely to buy flowers. In this study, the categories, “perceived product value,” event-based usage,” and “experience in receiving flowers” were not significant for participant floral purchase frequency. Individuals who fit in the category, “using flowers as gift,” are more likely to become frequent floral purchases.
Considering a previous study that suggested income is not the primary variable for flower purchasing, creating positive attitudes about flowers and promoting more reasons and occasions for flower gifting may best utilize the industry’s marketing efforts.    

Huang, Li-Chun. 2005. Floral Product Behaviors and Their Influence on Consumer Floral Purchase Frequency. HortTechnology 15:(4) pp. 766-771.

Preventing Black Shoots in Oriental Lilies   

A collaborative effort between Applied Plant Research and Dutch lily growers found that the incidence of black shoots is directly related to the soil temperature before the bulbs are harvested and the temperature during storage. Black shoots is a result of freeze damage that leaves the entire shoot inside the bulb blackened.
The damage occurs when the low soil temperatures of the fall gradually break the dormancy of the shoot. As the temperature rises (possibly during storage), the new shoot starts to develop. When the bulbs are then placed at freezing temperature, the developing shoots are “frost-bit.”
Bulbs that arrived in mid-January were a) frozen immediately, b) stored at 2C for three weeks, c) stored at 10C for three weeks. Those that were frozen immediately displayed no incidence of black shoots. A small percentage of the bulbs stored at 2C developed black shoots; however, 100% of the bulbs stored at the warmest temperature prior to freezing had black shoots.
The study concluded that Oriental lily bulbs should be frozen as soon as possible after harvest, or kept at temperatures as close to 0C as possible during transportation and storage.

Gude, H. and H. Kok. 2006. Black Shoots in Oriental Lilium. FloraCulture International. 16:(2).

PGR Treatment for Black Iris

Iris nigricans, known as black iris, is a native plant of Jordan that naturally grows to a height of 20-30 cm. One green stalk arises from the rhizome bearing a single flower that is 12-15 cm in diameter. The flower size and color—a glossy black-dark lilac—make it an attractive cut flower. However, commercial market standards would require a longer, firmer stem. This experiment observed the affect of gibberellic acid (ProGibb T&O), paclobutrazol (Bonzi), and chlormequat (Cycocel) applied as a drench and as a spray at various rates. The growth retardants Bonzi and Cycocel were tested to assess the market potential of black iris as a potted plant. Those results will not be discussed here.
The rhizomes tested were about 18 grams with 10 buds. They were planted one per pot in peat moss in a three-liter plastic pot. The pots were placed in greenhouse where the environmental conditions were maintained at 26C day and 15C night, 50% relative humidity.
The growth regulators were applied (50mL/pot) when the plants were approximately 10cm high with 4 fully expanded leaves. GA3 was sprayed at a rate of 125, 250, 375, and 500 mg a.i./L and drenched at 0.25, 0.5, 1, and 2 mg a.i./L. A control treatment, receiving no growth regulators, was included in the experiment.
GA3 treatment did not affect the following parameters: leaf number (12-16), fresh weight (10-16 g), dry weight (1.6-2.3 g), flowering percentage (90-100), flower number (1.3-2.9 per pot), length (8-10 cm)or width (10-12.5 cm) of flower, fresh weight (6.1-8.2 g) or dry weight (0.57-0.79 g) of flower.
It did affect number of days to flower and flower stalk height and weight. Plants sprayed with 250 mg/L were the tallest at 37.3 cm compared to the control, which measured an average of 31.8 cm. Plants sprayed with 375 mg/L displayed the most rapid flowering at 160 days after planting, compared to a control of 190 days. Interestingly, a 1 mg/L drench of GA3 delayed flowering to 200 days. Drenching generally produced taller, stronger flower stalks compared to spray application. The time to flower is likely related to the height and weight of the flower stalk. By flowering later, the stalk has more time to bulk up as photosynthetic products are directed to vegetative growth longer. Conversely, an earlier flowering date diverts energy resources from the vegetative flower parts to promote flower production.
The study concludes a treatment of 1 mg/L GA3 drenched on black iris will result in an acceptable cut flower with firm stalks and a height of 40 cm.
Al-Khassawneh, N.M., N.S. Karam, R.A. Shibli. 2006. Growth and flowering of black iris (Iris nigricans Dinsm.) following treatment with plant growth regulators. Scientia Horticulturae 107 pp. 187-193.