Sustainable Pathogen Management in Specialty Cut Flower Production 

Cut flowers are among the most profitable floriculture products, worth $333 million in annual national sales (NASS, 2023). Cut flower producers include a diverse combination of large-scale international operations growing traditional crops such as roses, chrysanthemums, and carnations, and small-scale local operations growing specialty cut flower crops such as ranunculus, dahlias, and lisianthus, among many others. The floriculture industry has recently seen an increase in popularity and sales of these crops, with the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers boasting over 2,900 members (ASCFG, 2024), up from only 500 in 2014. However, soilborne diseases caused by bacteria, fungi, and oomycetes can cause significant losses, estimated to be 50-75% in crops grown directly in field soil, including ornamentals. Soilborne diseases are…

Research Proposal Applications Now Open for 2025-2026 Funding

Calling all University Researchers! We are now accepting new research proposal applications for the 2025-2026 funding cycle. The application deadline is August 1, 2024. Funding innovative research is a critical pillar of our mission to be the trusted source and catalyst for floriculture advancement. New research proposals should support forward-thinking exploration of cost and labor savings, pest and disease management, sustainability, and other solutions to promote not just healthier, longer-lasting flowers and plants, but a healthy and robust floriculture industry as well. The primary research priorities are listed below. They are focused on all floricultural crops, including fresh-cut flowers and greens, flowering and foliage potted plants, bedding plants, and perennials. Projects benefiting any industry segment, from grower to the consumer will be…

Empowering Growers with Research-Driven Strategies and Solutions

The increase in challenges growers face is never-ending. From the new thrips invasion, to disease management, to water and nutrition of crops, AFE is here to help!If you haven’t yet had a chance to participate in the American Floral Endowment (AFE)'s Grow Pro Webinar series, you and your team are missing out. Monthly educational webinars featuring nationally recognized researchers and speakers provide the latest research-driven strategies, solutions, and practical advice to help navigate through these ever-changing challenges.Webinars are 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 a unique opportunity for the audience to ask questions directly to the expert about issues they may be experiencing around the topic. “AFE is a leader…

AFE’s 2024 Fundraising Campaign: R.I.S.E. to Support!

R.I.S.E. up to support the floral industry! In an effort to continue to increase support for important research, education, and other floriculture programs to advance our industry, the American Floral Endowment (AFE) has launched its annual fundraising campaign running from May 15th through June 28th with a goal of $100,000 in industry support.  The Endowment's annual summer campaign theme touts the overall tagline of R.I.S.E., representing AFE’s core programs: Research, Internships, Scholarships, and Education for the floral industry. These resources are vital to the ongoing growth of floral; the Endowment is welcoming the industry to R.I.S.E. up with us to help fund ongoing success and support for all segments, ages, and levels. You can check out the campaign launch video featuring industry supporters and AFE's Chairman, Ken Young of Phoenix Flower Shops, by clicking here. Make a…

Funding Innovation for the Industry: 2024-2025 Research Projects

A core value of our mission is to help address industry challenges and struggles through the funding of cutting-edge research. We understand the important role research plays in sustaining our industry, and as a result, much of the research that has transformed industry practices in the past 60+ years has been sponsored by AFE, helping to provide longer-lasting, better-quality flowers and plants. We are committed to continuing to support advancements like this, and accept new proposals from researchers each year.  AFE’s Research Committee and the Society of American Florists Growers Council carefully review these proposals and evaluate them for their focus, reach, and benefit to the industry. If selected, an independent scientific peer review is carried out.  We are pleased…

Cultivating Excellence: Announcing the 2024 Paul Ecke, Jr. and Altman Family Scholars

Six individuals dedicated to the horticulture industry have excelled in their fields, earning them scholar status in two prestigious educational funding programs through the American Floral Endowment (AFE). The Paul Ecke, Jr. and Altman Family scholarships help fund the education of full-time graduate students pursuing a career in horticulture or floriculture. Those who receive the scholarships are rewarded for their accomplishments as they continue working toward growth in the industry. The 2024 recipients are Savannah Mead, West Virginia University, Paul Ecke, Jr. Scholarship, first year; Jack Bobo, North Carolina State University, Paul Ecke, Jr. Scholarship, second year; Greta Gallina, University of Georgia, Altman Family Scholarship; Jessica Brown, Michigan State University, Altman Family Scholarship; Haramrit Gill, Texas A&M University, Altman Family…

Applications Now Open for 2024-2025 Educational Grants

We are now accepting applications for our 2024-2025 Educational Grants. The deadline to apply is June 1, 2024. Our Educational Grants help fund wide-reaching industry learning programs that provide solutions and focus on ongoing and new educational opportunities. We are committed to providing funding for various resources that empower the floral industry to invest in continued education. These grants can provide financial assistance to support educational opportunities of all kinds, including national industry conventions, event programs, or virtual events, and they allow us to collaborate with and sponsor national, state, and local association educational programs. Working with important industry organizations including state and national nonprofits, and university programs, our funding helps current industry members, students, and young professionals expand their educational opportunities and professional development. Our…

AFE On the Road

The AFE team has been busy the past few weeks! From North Carolina, to California, our staff has been busy from coast to coast attending floral industry events, networking, and planning for the future! Staying connected with the industry allows us to see first-hand the impact of our programs and research, and allows us to hear directly from industry members about the challenges they’re facing so we can adapt our programs to help.  Read on to learn more about all of the AFE staff adventures so far in 2024! AFE Board Meeting and NC State Tour Twice a year, the AFE Board meets in person to engage in strategic discussions and review past, present, and upcoming initiatives, charting the course…

Altering Petunia Development Rate to Improve Cutting Yield and Crop Production Efficiency

Researchers at Michigan State University, funded by AFE, are exploring how to breed new varieties and improve petunia crop to make production more efficient. This project is working to understand the genetic materials of different petunia varieties, and evaluate their development and performance to maximize efficiency. Read more below, and explore our other currently funded projects here. The rate at which plants produce new nodes is a fundamental trait with numerous implications for ornamental crop production. The benefits of understanding the genetic regulation of development rate and being able to manipulate development rate in the breeding of new cultivars include: 1) Reduction in crop production time:  Crop production time for annual bedding plants is a function of the rate of development,…

The Fred C. Gloeckner Foundation Joins with the American Floral Endowment 

Amplifying Floriculture Research Advancements The American Floral Endowment (AFE) and the Fred C. Gloeckner Foundation are pleased to announce a new partnership and joining of forces promoting a shared vision of cultivating and funding innovation, advancements, and growth through floriculture research. Through this partnership, the American Floral Endowment will provide a new home for the Fred C. Gloeckner Foundation, transitioning the Foundation to a new fund within AFE. The new Fred C. Gloeckner Foundation Research Fund will continue the Foundation's current mission of providing a source of funding for research and education in floriculture while maintaining its robust history. The Fred C. Gloeckner Foundation Research Fund complements AFE's research efforts and amplifies floriculture growth through combining efforts, ultimately resulting in more significant achievements and…