Floriculture is a branch of horticulture which deals with the cultivation and management of ornamental plants for gardens, floristry and the global floral related businesses. Largely, floriculture crops are comprised of annual bedding plants, foliage plants/houseplants, container gardening/pot plants, cut flowers/cut greens and perfumery. Annual bedding and garden plants are generally raised from nursery stocks as an annual biennial or perennial aesthetic plants. Bedding plants are grown in controlled environment at garden centers in nursery trays or flats, in containers/pots, in hanging pouches/baskets for retail. Foliage or flowering house plants are called potted indoor plants used in houses and other private/public establishments for interior-scaping to improve the environment. Economic aspects of ornamental horticulture are as important as the aesthetic ones. The floriculture products such as cut-flower, ornamental foliage plants and cut foliage contribute approximately 90% share to floriculture business globally. It is estimated that the global floriculture trade will increase up to US$ 49 billion in 2023.
Producing floriculture crop plants needs scientific knowledge and suitable skills/art to make the product valuable for the propagator and consumer. Flower or floral arrangement is an art of selecting and organizing flowers and foliage according to the elements and principles of design in order to attain a pleasing and interesting design. Arranging flowers is an artistic activity and a way to express creativity. Arrangement of cut flowers, potted plants and green cuts in any landscape display need a lot of passion, experience and skills. There are plenty of associations that promote floral design regionally and worldwide.
Flowers or floriculture plants arranged through appropriate design principles brings great value to the product. Ornamental plants or their products are presented on range of auspicious occasions e.g. dignitary receptions, weddings, funerals, births, graduation parties birthdays, anniversaries, religious celebrations etc.Terrariums, Dish gardens, and Totem offers novel art of arrangment and displaying ornametal plants. Terrariums are usually transparent covered glass containers in which plants are grown to view the enclosed miniature ecosystem inside. Any type of clear container e.g. empty fish bowls, fish tanks, glass bottles, old glass jars, jugs etc. can be used for terrariums. Once planted, these usually require minimal effort to maintain and lid of jar can be opened for maintenance to access the plants inside.Dish gardens are small scale miniature gardens that are placed within shallow and open containers such as “dishes”. Dish gardens are commonly situated within plastic or ceramic dishes. The dish garden can be landscaped to represent a scene in nature, the plants used in a dish garden should be compatible that can stay small in size or grow very slowly (cacti/succulents are commonly used). Small fairy furniture or small othe orament sucluptures can be added in dish garden to make it more natural.Specialty ornamental plants are trained on totem poles to display their appropriate aesthetic display. Totem poles are made of wrapping sphagnum moss around the plastic or cane pole to provide upright support to display indoor climbing plants like Pothos, Philodendron and Monstera etc.
Taking into consideration the commercial and environmental importance of ornamental plants, ornamental horticulture courses have been designed at SQU to build student’s knowledge about principles and practices involved in floriculture production systems. The main purpose of such courses are to augment students understanding about the trade of floriculture products locally and globally, science of production and art of displaying/arrangements of plants/flowers. Students are provided basic to advance knowledge of flowering and foliage plants economic and environment impact, selection of plant materials for outdoor and indoor landscaping (interior-scaping).
Recognizing the floriculture products environmental, trade and marketing significance, a Floriculture (CROP 3213) course was taught at the Department of Crop Sciences of the College of Agricultural & Marine Sciences at Sultan Qaboos University during Fall 2018. Students were thoroughly educated and mentored by Dr. Mumtaz Khan and Omar Al-Manthri in floriculture production and management skills of bedding plants, indoor foliage plants, cut flowers and art of floriculture display. Students got hands on training in the art of floriculture particularly in displaying their skills through Terrarium, Dish garden and Totem. At the conclusion of the course, students displayed their products at an open exhibition for evaluation by judges and for the public at the Crop Science Department lobby. Distinguished spectators included Dr. Abdullah Al-Sadi, Dean of the College of Agricultural & Marine Sciences, Dr. Rashid Al-Yahyai, Dr. Ahmed Al-Maskri, Dr. Rhonda Janke, Dr. Anvar kacimove, Dr. Ali Maktoomi, Dr. M. Farooq, Dr. Villa, Dr. Riaz Shah, Dr. Malik Al-Wardy, Dr. Slim Zkri, Dr. Lyutha Al-Subhi and many more. The exhibition was very well received by the audience consisting of faculty members, students, staff; and the organizers look forward to demonstrating such rewarding activities in future too.