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Horticultural Sciences

"Florida's agricultural industry generates more than $103 billion in annual economic impact and employs more than 500,000 people. Florida's farmers produce nearly 300 commodities, and winter vegetables and citrus consistently lead the national rankings. To meet the needs of this diverse industry, research and extension programs in the areas of fruit and vegetable production, postharvest technology and weed science are delivered on a county, regional and statewide basis using a variety of methods including field days, intensive hands-on training, and distance learning. Excellence in programming facilitates the exchange of information and technology and contributes to the professional development of extension faculty and the agricultural clientele they serve."
--- Extension Programs, Horticultural Sciences Department

Editorial Team

  • Steve Sargent - Editor, Approver
  • Chris Gunter - Chair
  • aaguirre1 - ICS Editor


Introduction to Southern Highbush Blueberry Cultivation in Containers

HS1476/HS1476by Gerardo H. Nunez, Martin Zapien, and Douglas A. PhillipsFebruary 1st, 2024Blueberry bushes prefer well drained, acidic soils with high organic matter content. These soil characteristics are not common in many parts of the world. Thus, blueberries are traditionally grown in soils amended with pine bark and elemental sulfur. The need to create optimum conditions for the roots of blueberry bushes has recently led to blueberry cultivation in containers filled with soilless substrates. The intended audience for this publication is commercial blueberry growers. The purpose of this publication is to complement existing information sources by introducing the materials and practices used for blueberry cultivation on container-based farms.Critical Issue: Agricultural and Food Systems

Symptoms of Nitrogen and Iron Deficiency in Luffa

HS1475/HS1475by Qiansheng Li, Marina Gluck, Yanlin Wang, Wendy Mussoline, Qingren Wang, Yuncong Li, and Guodong LiuNovember 15th, 2023Luffa (Luffa aegyptiaca, synonym Luffa cylindrica) is a tropical and subtropical climbing plant belonging to the cucumber family (Cucurbitaceae), natively cultivated in South and Southeast Asia. There are two main species of luffa grown in Florida: smooth luffa (Luffa aegyptiaca Mill.), primarily grown in small gardens and angled luffa (Luffa acutangula (L.) Roxb.), basically grown for commercial production ( It is commonly called sponge gourd, Egyptian cucumber, or Vietnamese luffa. Young fruits are edible and rich with nutritional and medicinal value (Partap et al. 2012; Azeez, Bello, and Adedeji et al. 2013). The mature fruit has strong fibrous insides, which can be used as natural porous fiber (Siqueira, Bras, and Dufresne 2010; Sivakandhan et al. 2020) for dishwashing or shower scrubbing. This publication is written for growers, state and county Extension faculty, and students interested in crop production.Critical Issue: Agricultural and Food Systems

Protecting Blueberries from Freezes in Florida

HS216/HS968 by J. G. Williamson and D. A. PhillipsNovember 13th, 2023Blueberries bloom in late winter or early spring in Florida, making the flowers and young fruit highly susceptible to freeze and frost injury. Killing freezes can occur as late as mid to late March throughout much of Florida, long after the initiation of bloom, especially for early-ripening southern highbush blueberry cultivars. This publication describes conditions that often occur in commercial blueberry fields during and after bloom when the potential for freeze damage exists. Practices that growers can use to minimize freeze damage are also discussed.Critical Issue: Agricultural and Food Systems

Citrus Fruit Pigments

HS1472/HS1472by Fariborz Habibi, Ali Sarkhosh, Jeongim Kim, Muhammad A. Shahid, Fred G. Gmitter Jr., and Jeffrey K. BrechtNovember 2nd, 2023Citrus fruits enjoy popularity among consumers due to their enjoyable flavor, health-beneficial properties, and nutritional value. The peel and flesh pigmentation of different citrus species and cultivars ranges from green, to yellow, orange, pink and red. Pigmentation is influenced by genetics, environmental conditions, and tree management. Mature fruit of edible citrus are diverse in size, flavor, and peel and flesh color. The external color of citrus fruits is one of their most important quality characteristics, but the internal pigments also play a significant role in determining their health benefits. The edible part of citrus fruits, including sweet orange, mandarin, pummelo, grapefruit, lime, and lemon, has distinct attributes and pigments. Critical Issue: Agricultural and Food Systems

Perennial Peanut as a Potential Living Mulch and Nitrogen Source for Citrus and Other Orchard Crops in Florida

HS1474/HS1474by Muhammad A. Shahid, K. Leaks, A. R. Blount, and Cheryl MackowiakNovember 2nd, 2023The concept of using a perennial peanut as a living mulch and source of biological nitrogen in fruit and nut crop orchards is not a new idea. In Central and South America, perennial peanuts have long been incorporated as a living groundcover into palm, coffee, cacao, plantain, and citrus, as well as into other fruit and nut production orchards. This cover crop may pose as a viable, environmentally-friendly option for production in Florida, too.Critical Issue: Agricultural and Food Systems