Dr. Zhanao Deng
Professor of Environmental Horticulture
Dr. Zhanao Deng develops new ornamental plant cultivars for Florida growers and consumers.
Current breeding efforts are directed toward the developing and releasing new caladium and gerbera cultivars, genetic sterilizing lantana and nandina, and evaluating and selecting superior Florida-native plants.
Dr. Deng's research activities focus on:
- understanding inheritance of horticultural and aesthetic traits important to Florida growers and consumers;
- investigating genetic bases for disease resistance traits;
- developing new genetic, genomic, and molecular tools for increased breeding efficiency; and
- applying new biotechnological advances to ornamental plant breeding and genetics.
The primary goal of Dr. Deng's research program is to develop new cultivars for the Florida environmental horticulture industry and to satisfy the need of plant materials for Florida-friendly landscaping.
Florida’s environmental horticulture industry is a very important contributor to the state’s economy, employment, and rural development. Florida growers in this dynamic industry and consumers both face significant challenges, including devastating diseases, environmental stresses, and biological invasion.
In response to industry and consumers' needs, the focus of Dr. Deng's research program has been to develop new cultivars with novel colors or coloration patterns, enhance container/landscape performance, improve disease resistance and stress tolerance, genetic sterility (or non-invasiveness), or other characteristics of interest to the industry and consumers.
To increase breeding efficiency and expedite cultivar development, the research team studies the pattern of inheritance for important horticultural or aesthetic traits, investigates the genetic bases of these traits, and develops new genetic, genomic, and molecular tools that can be applied to ornamental plants.
Extension: Evaluating and Selecting Ornamental Plant Cultivars
Florida is among the largest producers and consumers of ornamental plants in the nation. Florida producers ship large volumes of ornamental plants to domestic and international markets.
The major thrust that drives the industry is the constant introduction and use of new cultivars. New cultivars with new or improved horticultural characteristics, improved production and/or landscape performance, disease resistance, or stress tolerance keep Florida growers competitive and increase their profitability in domestic and global markets. New cultivars—with these attributes—also result in better performance for Florida consumers and can improve Florida consumers' quality of life.
Dr. Deng's Extension program serves to deliver research-based information and educational materials on new ornamental plant cultivars to county Extension faculty and clientele, including growers and consumers, so they can make better decisions when selecting new cultivars for production or consumption.
Lab Phone Number: 813-419-6603 Staff Member Contact Information Keri Druffel, Bio Scientist II firstname.lastname@example.org Alexander Schaller, Grad Student email@example.com Maria Pantoja, OPS Field Tech firstname.lastname@example.org Geovanny Garcia, Ag Assistant II email@example.com Samjhana Khanal, Grad Student firstname.lastname@example.org Brooks Parrish, Grad Student email@example.com
Gulf Coast Research and Education Center
14625 County Road 672
Wimauma, FL 33598
- Ph.D. Horticulture (Plant Breeding and Genetics), Huazhong Agricultural University, 1988
- M.S. Horticulture (Plant Breeding and Genetics), Huazhong Agricultural University, 1985
- B.S. Horticulture (Pomology), Sichuan Agricultural University, 1982
Professional Service and Awards
- UF/IFAS Plant Breeders Workgroup, Secretary, 2013–2016
- UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Graduate Scholarships and Awards Committee, 2012 – Present
- American Society of Horticultural Science, Cross-Commodity Publication Awards Committee, 2013–2016
- American Society of Horticultural Science, Outstanding International Horticulturist Awards Committee, 2012–2015
- South China Agricultural University, ‘Ding Ying’ Guest Professor, 2013–2015
- American Society of Horticultural Science, Fellows