March 15, 2013
A project underway at the University of Guelph is working toward introducing domestic wildflowers into commercial landscaping applications.

U. of G. Plant Agriculture graduate student Jeremy Boychyn and professor Alan Sullivan are working to introduce local wildflower species to the landscape and cut-flower industry, in part to tap into, consumer interests in native species.

A news report states that Boychyn is studying the wildflowers’ characteristics to find how the plants will fare using low water and fertilizer. The report goes on to reveal that the researchers feel wildflowers will cut down on production costs for producers and provide an environmentally friendly commercial option for landscapes.

Another benefit cited in the report is that native wildflowers don’t run the risk of introducing unfamiliar pests to surrounding plants.

The project includes eight species of native flowers including eastern bluestar, Carolina lupine, blue false indigo, blazing star, prairie blazing star, eastern blazing star, button snakeroot and barrelhead gayfeather.

Boychyn is quoted in the article, “These local species were chosen based on floral characteristics that I thought would be popular in landscapes and for bouquets and flower arrangements.” Trial tests are underway to show how the plants respond to different levels of herbicide, fertilizer and water.

“Making the public aware of the importance of incorporating native wildflowers into their gardens and landscapes has opened an environmentally friendly and cost-effective niche in the industry that will benefit producers in Ontario,” he says.

This research is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), the OMAFRA-funded Highly Qualified Personnel program and Flowers Canada.