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Mid-Florida Research & Education Center

Mid-Florida Research & Education Center

Jianjun Chen, Ph.D.

Professor, Plant Physiology

Dr. Jianjun Chen is a professor of plant physiology in the Department of Environmental Horticulture. He is a researcher and educator who focuses on landscape and ornamental plant function. Chen’s­­­ research emphasis is centered on understanding the environmental physiology of ornamental, medicinal, and bioenergy crops in the Florida. Chen has a split assignment with responsibilities in research and extension.

After earning his master’s degree and doctorate in plant breeding and plant genetics from the University of Wisconsin, Chen joined MREC in 1998. His research initially focused on tropical foliage plants, and has since evolved to also incorporate plant physiology, molecular biology, cultivar development, and invasive species management. Dr. Chen’s current research focuses on four major areas:

  1. Environmental physiology of ornamental, medicinal, and bioenergy crops
  2. Somatic cell genetics and their application for new cultivar development
  3. Sustainable management of invasive species
  4. Phytoremediation for improving environmental quality ­

Jianjun Chen, Ph.D.
Room #161
2725 S. Binion Road
Apopka, FL 32703-8504

Phone: (407) 814-6161
Fax: (407) 814-6186

  • Education
    • Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics - 1991 
    • M.S., University of Wisconsin-Madison, Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics - 1988
    • B.S., Huazhong Agricultural University, Horticultural Sciences - 1982 
  • Recent Research Publications
    • Fan, S., Jian, D., Wei, X., Chen, J., Beeson, R. C., Zhou, Z., & Wang, X. (2017). Micropropagation of blueberry ‘Bluejay’ and ‘Pink Lemonade’ through in vitro shoot culture. Scientia Horticulturae, 226, 277-284.

    • Lyu, S., Wei, X., Chen, J., Wang, C., Wang, X., & Pan, D. (2017). Titanium as a Beneficial Element for Crop Production. Frontiers in Plant Science8, 597. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2017.0059

    • Sun, Y., Hung, C., Qiu, J., Chen, J., Kittur, F. S., Oldham, C. E., Henny, R. J., Burkey, K. O., Fan, L., & Xie, J. (2017). Accumulation of high OPDA level correlates with reduced ROS and elevated GSH benefiting white cell survival in variegated leaves. Scientific Reports7, 44158. doi:10.1038/srep44158

    • Guan, X., Li, Z., Zhang, Z., Wei, X., Xie, J., Chen, J., & Chen, Q. (2017). Overexpression of EaZIP gene devoid of transit peptide sequence induced leaf variegation in tobacco. PLoS ONE12(4), e0175995. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.017599

    • Wei, X., Chen, J., Pan, D. & Zhang, C. (2016). Differential gene expression in Rhododendron fortunei roots colonized by an ericoid mycorrhizal fungus and increased nitrogen absorption and plant growth. Frontiers in Plant Science7, 1594. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2016.01594

    Popular Extension Publications

    • Henny, R. J., & Chen, J. (2018) Using Gibberellic Acid and Ethephon to induce flowers on tropical foliage plants (ENH1186). Gainesville, UF/IFAS. Retrieved from

    • Schall, W. L., Huo, H. & Chen, J. J. (2018). Cultural guidelines for commercial production of Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata ‘Bostoniensis’) (EP550). Gainesville, FL: UF/IFAS. Retrieved from

    • Huo, H., & Chen, J. (2018). Planting and propagation of snapdragons in Florida (ENH1285). Gainesville: UF/IFAS. Retrieved from

    • Chen, J., & Henny, R. J. (2016). Cultural guidelines for commercial production of purple passion plant (Gynura aurantiaca) (ENH1079). Gainesville: UF/IFAS. Retrieved from

    • Henny, R. J., & Chen, J. (2016). Spathiphyllum flowering - Keys to the future (ENH1047). Gainesville: UF/IFAS. Retrieved from

    • Henny, R. J., & Chen, J. (2016). Florida foliage house plant care: Adenium obesum (ENH1213). Gainesville: UF/IFAS. Retrieved from

Chen’s research projects are designed to examine new cultural, biological and chemical disease control methods on landscape and ornamental plants. He also conducts research on how enviornmental factors, such as hours of daylight or temperature, affect plant growth.

Chen’s extension program supports the mission of the University of Florida by working directly with Florida landscape industry professionals through teaching in the Pest Management University program and the Integrated Pest Management short course. Chen is passionate about incorporating scientifically-based information into various extension activities including workshops, field days and publications through a coordinated effort with other state extension faculty members and county agents. Chen’s extension program has two primary focus areas: integrated water and nutrient management for foliage plant production and improving plant quality during propagation, production and interiorscape.