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Grow Pro Webinar Series

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Starting in May 2021, AFE will be hosting new monthly webinars on production areas and topics that directly impact growers.

Our nationally recognized researchers, hosts, and speakers will offer ‘how-to’ advice based on AFE-funded and other research projects to help the industry navigate through these ever-changing growing challenges. The webinar topics are current and offer long-term opportunities for growers to focus on increased profit, greater sustainability, and improved labor efficiency.

Webinar presentations will be presented on a Tuesday each month and are 30-40 minutes in length plus a 15-minute question and answer period with the researchers.  This is unique in that the audience gets to ask questions directly of the researcher for any issues you may be experiencing around the topic. For efficiency, the presentations are pre-recorded followed by a live Q&A.

All webinars are FREE and open to anyone in the industry – thanks to our generous sponsors!  Sponsorship information is listed below, or contact AFE at

Series Schedule and Registration Pages:

June 22nd & 29th, 2021 at 1PM (EST)

Optimizing LED Lighting for Flower Crops

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Sponsored by Apogee Instruments, Inc. and Fluence by OSRAM

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Jim FaustSpeakers: Jim Faust, Clemson University (Part 1) & Erik Runkle, Michigan State University (Part 2)

Part 1 – June 22nd
Growers seek to optimize plant growth while maintaining production costs. Interest in LED lighting has surged in recent years due to the potential energy savings. Growers continue to wonder if supplemental lighting with LEDs is needed for their greenhouse operations. Jim will explain how to determine if your location and crops justify adding supplemental lighting.

Erik RunklePart 2 – June 29th
Questions abound when considering use of LED lighting. Choices of fixtures and light quality can be very confusing. Erik Runkle has been evaluating LED lighting since they were first available to the greenhouse industry. He will simplify the selection and use of LEDs, both indoors and in greenhouses.


July 27th, 2021 at 1PM (EST)

Making Sense of Artificial Intelligence in Floriculture

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Dean KopsellSpeaker: Dean Kopsell, University of Florida

Description: Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being mentioned in all aspects of agriculture. The idea of AI in floriculture and other segments of agriculture seems like scientists are bringing ‘Star Wars’ concepts to your businesses. Once you hear about the opportunities with AI, the future will seem much brighter as AI will be supporting your decisions for many aspects of your business. AFE has supported projects on use of handheld monitors for monitoring plant nutrition and to provide early detection of western flower thrips. There are so many more opportunities. Take this opportunity to understand AI in just 30 minutes.

August 24, 2021 at 1PM (EST)

Heat Delay in Poinsettias

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Speaker:  Jim Faust, Clemson University

Jim FaustDescription: Heat delay of poinsettia flowering is of growing concern across the U.S. as climate change has caused fall weather patterns to be less predictable and many regions of the country are experiencing higher average temperatures. A few extra degrees of heat at the wrong time can easily cause a one to two week delay in flowering, which can be disastrous for growers. Our research has focused on improving our understanding of the timing and magnitude of the high temperatures that cause heat delay and developing practical solutions to help growers avoid missing target market dates. Our results reveal that poinsettias are not equally susceptible to high temperatures throughout the fall. There are specific weeks of the poinsettia season that high temperatures will cause the largest delays in flowering. We have also identified the specific temperatures during the day and night that are most critical to avoid. By increasing our understanding of the variables that contribute to heat delay, we have identified practical solutions to avoid missing target market dates, such as cultivar selection and black-clothing. These solutions will be discussed, so that growers have practical options for addressing this phenomenon.

September 14th, 2021 at 1PM (EST)

Managing Impatiens Downy Mildew with Variety Selection and Production Practices

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Sponsored by PanAmerican Seed Company and Syngenta

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Margery DaughtreySpeaker: Margery Daughtrey, Cornell University

Description: Impatiens was once one of the most popular bedding plants until Impatiens Downy Mildew (IDM) devastated landscape plantings around the world. Plants often looked good in production but died once planted in the landscape. After a decade of breeding and technology, impatiens are back with two new series offering a high degree of resistance to IDM. Margery Daughtrey, plant pathologist at Cornell University, will discuss the attributes of Beacon (PanAmerican Seed) and Imara XDR (Syngenta Flowers) series and share practical tips to optimize the performance of these plants from propagation to planting in the landscape. You will learn that using protectant fungicides during production is a good idea, even when impatiens are highly resistant to downy mildew.

October 19, 2021 at 1PM (EST)

Sensors & Advances in Technology

Speaker: Krishna Nemali, Purdue University

Description: Smart N-Sensor technology for floriculture crops will be presented.  This technology uses images of plants to estimate whole-plant N content.  The technology is reliable, easy to use, and low-cost (minimal to a few hundred dollars).  Using the technology, floriculture growers can non-destructively quantify plant N status whenever needed for optimizing fertilizer application in greenhouses.  The technology offers either smartphone (for small-scale operations) or micro-controller (for large-scale operations) based models.


November 9, 2021 at 1PM (EST)

Sell the Highest Quality and Longest Lasting Cut Flowers
(webinar for Retail and Wholesale segments)

Sponsored by Smithers Oasis/Floralife

Speaker: Loann Burke, AIFD, AAF, Furst Florists

Description: Are you up to speed on the latest in flower care and handling?  What should you do to make sure the flowers you present to your customers are at their best?  We’re taking you back to the basics on proper care and handling techniques and why it’s important to make sure everyone on the team is trained properly.  AFE has supported the development of ‘industry friendly’ handling techniques for cut flowers.  Loann Burke AIFD, AAF, PFCI, a highly acclaimed retail florist and event specialist, will demonstrate many of the key steps every florist should use to assure flower quality and longevity.  From flower box to finished design, Loann will take you through every step of the process and show you the tricks of the trade to keep your flowers fresh and your customers coming back.

December 7, 2021 at 1PM (EST)

Control and Management of Powdery Mildews

Margery DaughtreySpeaker: Margery Daughtrey, Cornell University

Description: Powdery mildew is one of the most conspicuous plant disease problems that growers face. If you grow roses, gerberas, poinsettias, rosemary, phlox or verbenas (to name a few!) you are very aware of how rapidly this fungus disease can build up to an epidemic. Plant breeding efforts have provided some cultivars that are less susceptible to powdery mildew. But knowledge of which plants are prone to this disease, how unusual symptoms might fool you, and how best to deploy fungicides is critical for growing healthy flower crops. Cornell plant pathologist Margery Daughtrey will give an in-depth discussion of integrated pest management strategy for powdery mildew—including what to grow, what to scout for, and some effective treatment programs using fungicides and/or biofungicides.


Past Webinars of the Series

May 18th, 2021 at 1PM (EST)

The Current Status of Growing Media

Click Here to Watch
Youtube’s auto-generated closed captioning is available in multiple languages.

Brian JacksonSpeaker: Brian Jackson, NC State University
Moderator: Melissa Munoz, Clemson University

Description: Growing media seems to change constantly as growers seek a medium to grow plants successfully at the least costs. There have been major changes in growing media in the last 10 – 15 years.
Topics will include:
What is important in a good growing media?
Are there new components that growers should consider and are the components sustainable?
What should growers be asking their supplier when selecting a high-quality growing media?

Become a Grow Pro Webinar Sponsors!

To better communicate new research results from AFE-funded university studies and other advancements, monthly webinars are being conducted free of charge for the industry.  To help cover expenses to create these webinars, sponsors are needed.Sponsors will be recognized during webinars, and on the AFE website.

Sponsorship Opportunities start at $1,000.  There can be several sponsors per webinar – or if a sponsor commits to a $2,500 sponsorship, they can become a single/sole sponsor of the event.  **Please confirm sponsorship availability for the $2,500 sponsorship opportunity prior to submitting the form.

Sponsors receive their logo/name on promotional emails and communications, their logo on the webinar slides, and promotion on AFE’s social media platform.  Additionally, they will receive recognition in AFE’s newsletter, and the opportunity to send one promotional piece through AFE’s newsletter with a link, following the webinar.

Sponsorship Form

Additional Resources for Growers – Check them out!

Currently Funded Research | Final Research Reports | Research Applications & Information

AFE’s Grower Newsletter | Need Interns? Become an Internship Host | AFE Career Center

About AFE:
The American Floral Endowment (AFE) is the national floral industry nonprofit organization that funds scientific research, educational grants, scholarships, and internships to advance the industry. For 60 years, AFE has identified solutions to critical industry challenges through research, grants, and other important programs.