And it is that passion that has created his latest research project – propagating unique winter-hardy hibiscus.
Malinowski said he's very much a grass and forage researcher, but this falls in line with his master's degree in horticulture.
"I like the hardy hibiscus and have been crossing them for four years," he said. "I started getting crosses that were unique in my yard."
A collaboration of Steve Brown, Texas Foundation Seed Service program director, and Malinowski determined commercialization of the flowers would fit in AgriLife Research's effot to work with non-traditional or under-utilized crops that have value because of drought tolerance.
The hardy hibiscus also is a great candidate because it is a carefree plant. It doesn't have to be watered once it gets established, it is low maintenance and has little disease or insect pressure, he said.
To date, Malinowski has produced about 500 crosses. From that number, he has planted about 150 of them around the Vernon area in yards of fellow researchers and at the Texas Foundation Seed facilities.
Only about 25 percent to 30 percent of those have bloomed so far, but 12 have exceptional qualities, Malinowski said.
"The hardy hibiscus found on the market are primarily white, red and pink and are mostly of the same size and shape," he said. "I'm trying to give them diversity, with some spider-type petals, and some new colors, such as lavender, and combinations of colors."
Brown said this research is really another example of how plant- improvement programs at AgriLife Research extend beyond what most think as conventional crops.
The nursery and greenhouse industry in Texas is a $2 billion industry, Brown said.
The green industry has a $13.5 billion financial impact on the state, according to the Texas Nursery and Landscape Association.
"This research touches not only the producers of agricultural products but most homeowners and consumers throughout the state," Brown said. "We'll be working with some of our corporate programs to look at public/private partnerships as we do with other things."
Malinowski said he has gathered many native hibiscus and already-released cultivars, and he is crossing them to accumulate the traits that he prefers in the plants.
He is cross-pollinating the flowers by hand. If successful, a fruit will develop at the bottom of the stem within three days, he said.
"Now it depends on how fast we can propagate them," Malinowski said. A new cultivar can't be propagated from a seed. The new, promising lines must be propagated from cuttings.
"That's the only way we are able to multiply each unique plant that we have now," Malinowski said. "It's not an easy task. We are experimenting with different variables."
He said being able to do tissue cultures in a lab, as the commercial industry does, would be much faster.
Brown said vegetative propogation is the only way to make sure the new plant looks exactly like the selection that the cutting comes from rather than having a segregating population or differing plants, which occurs when seed is planted from a cross between two different plants.
The hibiscus can basically be grown from San Antonio north to Canada, as long as the required winter period is long enough for them to go dormant after the first frost, Malinowski said. The plants resprout from the root the following spring.
Malinowski said he believes the new crosses will be sold as potted plants and can be planted in yards. They will begin to bloom when the night is short, around late June, and continue flowering all season long until a frost.
He also is trying to develop dwarf plants with huge flowers for patios and smaller gardens.
Brown said it could be three years from the time commercially acceptable selections are made before Malinowski's propagations could be available in a nursery or retail outlet.
Timing for the market will require some greenhouse work, Brown said. Cuttings must be taken in the fall or early spring and put into a greenhouse to increase the numbers. In early spring, rooted plants will need to be exposed to extended day-lengths and elevated temperatures to change the timing of the bloom.
"If we get 60 to 100 mother plants, then at that point we would license it to a commercial greenhouse or nursery to expand it from there," he said.
"Then they will do cuttings and greenhouse day-length adjustments and so forth to multiply the variety to the retail strength needed," Brown said.
He said to target the flowering-plant market in retail and garden stores, they will try to get the plants to bloom in early June, rather than July, "because typically consumers want to see a budding plant, not a picture of what they are buying."
Dr. Dariusz Malinowski | EurekAlert!
Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product
02.12.2016 | Purdue University
New findings about the deformed wing virus, a major factor in honey bee colony mortality
11.11.2016 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
05.12.2016 | Information Technology
05.12.2016 | Earth Sciences