The green industry has a $13.5 billion financial impact on the state, according to the Texas Nursery and Landscape Association.
"This research touches not only the producers of agricultural products but most homeowners and consumers throughout the state," Brown said. "We'll be working with some of our corporate programs to look at public/private partnerships as we do with other things."
Malinowski said he has gathered many native hibiscus and already-released cultivars, and he is crossing them to accumulate the traits that he prefers in the plants.
He is cross-pollinating the flowers by hand. If successful, a fruit will develop at the bottom of the stem within three days, he said.
"Now it depends on how fast we can propagate them," Malinowski said. A new cultivar can't be propagated from a seed. The new, promising lines must be propagated from cuttings.
"That's the only way we are able to multiply each unique plant that we have now," Malinowski said. "It's not an easy task. We are experimenting with different variables."
He said being able to do tissue cultures in a lab, as the commercial industry does, would be much faster.
Brown said vegetative propogation is the only way to make sure the new plant looks exactly like the selection that the cutting comes from rather than having a segregating population or differing plants, which occurs when seed is planted from a cross between two different plants.
The hibiscus can basically be grown from San Antonio north to Canada, as long as the required winter period is long enough for them to go dormant after the first frost, Malinowski said. The plants resprout from the root the following spring.
Malinowski said he believes the new crosses will be sold as potted plants and can be pla
|Contact: Dr. Dariusz Malinowski|
Texas A&M AgriLife Communications