Our most traditional Christmas season flower, the poinsettia, needs to be manipulated for  height, for more uniform shipping. This can be done with growth-inhibiting chemicals, which have limited availability in Canada because of the cost of registering chemicals for relatively small markets such as ours.

To compete, Canadian flower producers have turned to natural approaches. Plant agriculture Prof. Theo Blom (pictured above) of the University of Guelph, touched on some of these approaches at a News@Noon session on campus last week. There, he described his team’s research underway with support from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Flowers Canada and the Canadian Greenhouse Conference, among others, to help flower producers compete using natural management approaches and virtually no growth inhibitors. I cover his presentation in my Urban Cowboy column in the Guelph Mercury.

Thanks to Jim Fenn at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs for the photo of Theo, taken following last week’s presentation.