65945 - Ornamental Plants and Floriculture

Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Moduli: Maria Eva Giorgioni (Modulo Mod 1) Enrico Muzzi (Modulo Mod 2)
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures (Modulo Mod 1) Traditional lectures (Modulo Mod 2)
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: First cycle degree programme (L) in Ornamental plants and landscape protection (cod. 8523)

Learning outcomes

At the end of the 1st Part, the student will acquire the basic knowledge for greenhouse structure choose, growing systems and microclimate control under glass and in open air, in relation to the environmental needs of the most important ornamental plants and the present economic context. The 2nd Part will provide knowledge to critically process the physiological, agronomic, technical and economic information about the production of cut flowers, flowering pot plants, green foliage plants, perennials, ornamental shrubs, trees and high-quality propagation material. At the end, the student will be able to select the most suitable cultivar for a low maintenance and sustainable landscaping, too.

Course contents

1st Part- General aspects (50 hours including 12 hours for practical activities)

- Ornamental plant production (5 hours): present national and international importance of cut flower, pot plant, woody plants and nursery production, estimated area trend, growing systems, types and quality of crops. Planned and seasonal growing cycles. Practical activities: Visit to companies and sales centers for ornamental plants.

- Greenhouse structures and management ( 15 hours): interaction between indoor climatic conditions and physiological plant responses. Temporary and permanent greenhouses. Greenhouse climate control: heating, cooling, ventilation, humidity control, carbon dioxide enrichment and artificial lighting. Energy efficiency and saving. Benching. Watering and fertilization systems for container and field growing.

Practical activities: Visit to companies with modern examples of greenhouse.

- Soilless growing (7 hours): choose of substrates in accordance to their chemical and physical properties, plant requirements and growing systems. Hydro and aeroponic systems. Growth regulators for canopy architetture control and flowering planning.

Practical activities: mixing and evaluation of substrates for potplants and propagation, inside the greenhouses of the University (Imola). 

- Propagation (23 hours): references to physiology and techniques for gamic and agamic propagation (seeding, cutting, budding, grafting, micropropagation) and management of nursery production. Root pruning techniques and timing. Quality and certification of nursery materials. Plant variety right and protection.

Practical activities: propagation activity inside the greenhouses of the University.

2nd Part - Ornamental plants (70 hours including 18 hours for  practical activities)

Module N. 1: herbaceous plants and shrubs (50 hours)

Cultivar identification, soil and climatic requirements, propagation, sustainable growing systems and production planning for cut flower species (model plants: rose, chrysanthemum, orchids, geophytes), flowering pot plants (bedding plants, geranium, poinsettia, anthurium, phalaenopsis), ornamental foliage plants (e.g. Araceae, Moraceae, Maranthaceae), perennials, shrubs and ornamental trees (deciduous, evergreen, broad leaf and coniferous species).

Module N. 2: ornamental trees (20 hours)

Morpho-physiological characteristics, ornamental value and pedo-climatic requirements of the most important ornamental evergreen and deciduous trees, included in the families: Aceraceae, Betulaceae, Cupressaceae, Fagaceae, Hamamelidaceae, Hippocastanaceae, Leguminosae, Magnoliaceae, Oleaceae, Pinaceae, Rosaceae, Tilliaceae, e Ulmaceae. Species choose according to climatic conditions, landscaping and maintenance requirements.

Practical activities: visit to companies, parks and gardens.


- ppt presentations, used during lectures and supplied by the professor on iol.unibo.it

For the investigation of specific subjects included in the 1st part:

Bakker J. C., Bot G. P. A., Challa H., Van de Braak N. J., Greenhouse climate control . Wageningen Pers, 1995

Boodley J.W., The commercial greenhouse. Delmar Pubbl. 1998.

For propagation and nursery production:

Hartmann H. T., Kester D. E., Geneve R.L., Davies F.T., Plant propagation: principles and practices . Prentice Hall 2002. ISBN: 0136792359

For the investigation of specific subjects included in the 2nd Part:

Boodley J.W., The commercial greenhouse. Delmar Pubbl. 1998.

Buffin M.W. Winter flowering shrubs. Timber Press, 2005.

Nav J., Perennial manual propagation and production. Ball Pubbl., Batavia USA, 1996.

For species identification:

Phillips R., Rix M., Bulbs. Pan Books Ltd. London

Phillips R., Rix M., Shrubs. Pan Books Ltd. London

Phillips R., Rix M., Trees. Pan Books Ltd. London

Pollock M., Griffiths M., Illustrated dictionary of gardening. RHS, London 2005.

Bibliografic information on specific subjects will be supplied on demand.

Teaching methods

Class lectures, practical activity inside the greenhouses in Imola and CAAB (Bologna), 2 visits to commercial and experimental greenhouses, nurseries, gardens and parks to discuss about the use and management of ornamental plants.

Assessment methods

The learning test is based on a final single exam, concerning parts 1 and 2 and modules N. 1 and 2; it includes a written test and an oral examination. The evaluation takes into account the level of knowledge and skills acquired by the student in relation to the contents of the 1st and 2nd part and his ability to elaborate information and solve practical case.

The exam includes:

- written test about species identification. The student has to botanically identify 15 plants (genus and species) represented by photos or as plant in vivo, included in the species (herbaceous, shrubs and trees) represented in the ppt presentations, used during lectures. Test time: 30 min. Minimum number of right identifications: 10 species. Passing the written test is the limiting requirement for the next oral part of examination.

Right identification of the 15 species involves the acquisition of 6 points.

- oral exam including 4 questions (two on ornamental trees), aimed to verify the student's ability to process 1 and 2 parts together, to choose matherials and growing systems in accordance with plant physiology, growing cycle, market requirements and economic aspects.

The oral exam is about 60 minutes long.

Each of the four questions involves the acquisition of 6 points

Practical activities are usefull but not essential for the exam passing and could be replaced by alternative activities, after agreement with professor.

Teaching tools

Overhead projector and PC for lectures; glass-greenhouses ( in Imola-Scarabelli and Bologna CAAB) for practical activity. A collection of ornamental shrubs is available in greenhouse area in Imola for species identification, and at least 2 guided visits have been planned to nurseries, commercial companies, experimental fields and green areas.

Office hours

See the website of Maria Eva Giorgioni

See the website of Enrico Muzzi


Good health and well-being Affordable and clean energy Climate Action

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.