Native Plant Production

College of Agricultural Sciences

Horticulture and Landscape Architecture

El Paso 


Primary Topic:

Natural Resources and Sustainability

Other Topics:

No additional topic areas, only my selection from previous question

Lead Mentor:  

Jennifer Bousselot

Assistant Professor

Internship Overview:

Nursery-propagated native plant species are a tool for habitat restoration, and their use extends beyond wildland areas as urban residents seek to create wildlife corridors. As perceived demand for native plants increases due to water conservation concerns and restoration practices, the industry is working to develop protocols for growing these species, which have unique growing requirements. Native plants can underperform in the retail market due to lack of research on native plant propagation, marketing strategies, and lack of public knowledge regarding native plants.

Goals, Scope and Objectives:

We seek to optimize native plant performance through examining substrate components used during the finishing period, defined as the growth period spanning from propagule to acceptable retail size. We previously found that cultivated native plant species have a high tolerance of, and, in some cases, a preference for non-peat organic matter. We investigate how native plants finished using these alternatives perform in a retail setting. These findings will identify pathways for reducing peat use within the industry and will elucidate characteristics that consumers look for when purchasing native plants.

With which stakeholder group(s) will the intern work?

Extension, horticulture, and green industries.

What student learning outcomes do you anticipate and what are the opportunities for professional development?

The intern will gain hands-on experience in the horticultural aspects of native plant cultivation. Additionally, the intern will interact with professionals and gain experience in the areas of Extension and horticulture. The intern will also assist with outreach and community events refining their public speaking and engaged scholarship skills. Therefore, the intern will not only learn about the scientific aspects of these areas but also network with professionals.
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