Horticulture Research

horticulture-collage.jpg Our research focuses on developing innovative approaches to quality, nutrition, flavour, market access and sustainability in a range of horticultural products that are of strategic importance to export and domestic markets.

Our expertise 

Fruit and vegetable innovation

We develop approaches to improve the yield, quality, and security of supply of fruit and vegetable produce in response to changing markets, trends, climate and resource sustainability. We work closely with research collaborators both locally and overseas, and have strong relationships with key industry partners and local communities.

High-value plant products and services

Our focus is on high-value horticultural products and services, including conservation programmes for native and cultivated plants. We also provide management and science-based solutions to maximise quality and yield of existing high-value horticultural products.

Applied plant and horticultural science

Extending fundamental scientific knowledge of fruit and vegetable crops is a crucial aspect of modern horticulture. Examples of our fundamental research interests include hormonal control of horticultural plant development, plant responses to sunlight and UV radiation, and the biology of crop pests and disease-causing organisms.

Seed science and technology

Our research focuses on seed quality, including germination, dormancy, coating technologies and storage, with a focus on regulating and improving post-harvest seed quality.

Joint Graduate School of Horticulture and Food Enterprise

This joint school with Plant & Food Research is developing and progressing research initiatives that deliver New Zealand’s export growth targets in agriculture and food.

For more information about our research activity, select individual researchers' names below.


Dr Jason Wargent
Dr Nick Roskruge         
Professor Julian Heyes             


Shining a light on crop growth

Dr Jason Wargent has helped establish a company called Biolumic Ltd, to produce lighting technology that will offer tight control over food and crop quality and productivity. This emerged from Dr Wargent’s research into the ways UV light affects the growth of various fruit and vegetable crops.

Biolumic Ltd has been given funding by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the Central Energy Trust and Manawatu Investors’ Group, which will help him develop LED lighting systems.

The systems use very precise parts of the lighting spectrum to deliver a “light recipe” that can protect a plant from stress and maximise its growth productivity. The technology could be used to grow crops indoors or to prime plants grown outdoors to grow better later in life.

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