Click Here to Support AFE



The American Floral Endowment (AFE) strives to aid in the ongoing success of our industry through supporting impactful research which faces current challenges and provides new advances. For over 60 years now, AFE has been the ‘go-to’ source for funding research projects and communicating the results, along with the researchers, to the floral industry.

In 2022-2023, AFE will support 15 research projects in total. With 5 new research projects and 10 continuing projects totaling over $500,000 in funding from the Endowment, Gus Poesch Research Fund, and the Thrips & Botrytis Research Fund. These projects range in focus including plant breeding, disease and insect management, post-production, and production technology/protocols.

“This research continues AFE’s mission of addressing industry challenges and acting as the catalyst for floriculture advancement. Findings from this research will help businesses increase profitability through ensuring high quality product and sharing best practices to streamline processes,” said Dr. Terril Nell, AFE Research Coordinator.

Newly Funded Projects for 2022-2023

  • Developing Foliage Stock Plant, Liner and Finish Plant Production Protocols for Temperate Climates: Roberto Lopez, Michigan State University
  • Manipulating Light Quantity, Quality, and Duration to Improve Timing, Yield, and Quality of Cut Flowers: Roberto Lopez & Caleb Spall, Michigan State University
  • Co-application of Biopesticides and Chitosan for Optimized Suppression of Botrytis Infection in Greenhouse Floriculture: Anissa Poleatewich, University of New Hampshire
  • Altering Petunia Development Rate to Improve Cutting Yield and Crop Production Efficiency: Ryan Warner, Michigan State University
  • Supporting the U.S. Specialty Cut Flower Industry Through Diagnostics, Disease Management and Outreach (GP): Francesca Hand, The Ohio State University

Continuing Projects for 2022-2023

  • Advancing Nighttime Lighting to Control Flowering of Photoperiodic Floriculture Crops: Qingwu Meng, University of Delaware
  • Fluorescence Imaging: A Low-cost Method for Early Stress Detection: Marc Van Iersel, University of Georgia
  • Optimizing the Efficacy of Beneficial Bacteria against Botrytis Blight in Greenhouse Crops: Michelle Jones, The Ohio State University
  • Can Western Flower Thrips be Managed in Commercial Greenhouses with UV Light?: Bruce Parker, University of Vermont
  • Using Sub-zero Temperatures for Long-Term Storage of Cut Flowers: John Dole, North Carolina State University
  • Engineering Floral Fragrance to New Heights using a Synthetic Biology Approach: Thomas Colquhoun, University of Florida
  • Developing Protocols to Prevent Leaf Necrosis on Cut Flowers in the Post-Harvest Environment: James E. Faust and Guido Schnabel, Clemson University
  • Evaluation of Alternative (non-fungicide) Treatments Including Biological Control Agents and Systemic Acquired Resistance-Inducing Compounds for Botrytis Control: Jim Faust, Guido Schnabel, and Melissa Munoz, Clemson University
  • Use of CRISPR to Develop Powdery Mildew Resistance in Gerbera Daisy: Dayton Wilde, Wayne Parrott, and Heather Gladfelter, University of Georgia
  • Use of Microbial Biostimulants and Beneficial Bacteria: Michelle Jones, The Ohio State University

To see a full list of our currently funded projects, click here. This list will be updated on July 1, 2022, at the beginning of our fiscal year to include the new projects.

AFE-funded university researchers work directly with industry members to understand challenges and critical needs. These researchers, along with the help of highly talented graduate students, continue to identify solutions and provide guidelines for all segments of the floral industry to prepare for our future in the present day. In many areas, AFE research has transformed industry practices resulting in costs and labor savings.

Want to Get Involved?

We want to hear from you! What industry challenges keep you up at night? Contact AFE’s Research Coordinator, Dr. Terril A. Nell (

And, please remember that AFE has an active internship program and scholarship program to develop the next generation of floriculture professionals.  If you are interested in hosting an intern, please contact Program Coordinator, Candice Musgrove (

Please consider making a contribution to support AFE’s research and other industry programs. It is through the engagement and participation of industry members that we are able to continue to support new research and increase the overall sustainability of our industry.

See the Findings and Ask a Researcher – Attend Our Grow Pro Webinar Series!

Our nationally recognized researchers, hosts, and speakers will offer ‘how-to’ advice based on AFE-funded and other research projects. The webinar topics are current and offer long-term opportunities for growers to focus on increased profit, greater sustainability, and improved labor efficiency. The monthly webinar presentations occur on a Tuesday each month and are 30-40 minutes in length plus a 15-minute question and answer period with the researchers. See the full calendar and register here.