Southern Research and Outreach Center - Waseca, MN

Southern Research
and Outreach Center

35838 120th Street
Waseca, MN 56093
Map to SROC (.pdf)

Phone: (507)835-3620
Fax: (507)835-3622

Charlie Rohwer, Ph.D.

Charlie with oderiferous Echinops hybrid

Contact Information

Southern Research and Outreach Center
35838 120th St.
Waseca, MN 56093



PhD, University of Minnesota, 2008. Applied Plant Sciences
, Michigan State University, 2002. Horticulture
BS, Iowa State University, 2000. Agricultural Biochemistry and Horticulture

Research Interests and Activities

I enjoy working with plants because they are pretty, smelly, delicious, and complex, and a clear lack of consciousness means we can play with them at will. I'm interested in what makes plants work, or more specifically, how we can make plants do what we want. In addition to all of the things that make any plant interesting, plants are variable and malleable. My interest is finding plants (or varieties) that do what we want, or environments or treatments that cause a plant to do what we want. Maybe we want a plant to grow bigger, yield more, resist pests or diseases, or be prettier. What if we grow plants closer together, will they yield more? Does one variety do better than another variety when it's grown closer together? Can we use plant hormone treatments to enhance a plant's defense against pests? Does the quality, quantity, or duration of daylight affect flowering? Can we hold a tomato on the vine longer and make it ripen more slowly after harvest?

These are some of the questions I have researched in the past. I began working with Dr. Vince Fritz in July 2008. We are studying the potential to enhance beneficial phytonutrients in plants, specifically glucosinolates in Brassicas. These compounds have been linked with the prevention of various forms of cancer. We are studying cultivar differences in various light and mulch environments, but also studying the potential for exogenous plants hormones to increase glucosinolate concentration in the plants.

I also help coordinate other horticulture research at the SROC. I oversee the ornamental flower breeding plots at the SROC and work on various vegetable research.  I am also in charge of our new hop research plots.

For all of these projects, I ensure we have a place to grow the plants, we have all of the materials we need, and the plants get into and out of the field when they should and in the right condition. I design specifics of how the experiments will be set up in the field, what data will be collected, and how the data will be analyzed. I also extract and analyze many of the phytonutrients we study using HPLC, and I help to disseminate results as necessary. Most importantly, I get to spend time outside with plants of a very regular basis.


Rohwer, C.L. and J.E. Erwin. 2010.  Spider mites (Tetranychus urticae) perform poorly on and disperse from plants exposed to methyl jasmonate.  Ent. Exp. Appl. 137(2):143–152.

Rohwer, C.L. and J.E. Erwin, J. 2008. Horticultural application of jasmonates: a review. J. Hort. Sci. and Biotech. 83(3):283–304.

Rohwer, C.L. and R.D. Heins. 2007. Daily light integral, prevernalization photoperiod, and vernalization temperature and duration control flowering of Easter cactus. HortScience 47(2):1596–1604.


Rohwer, C. and J. Erwin. 2007. Preference and performance of Tetranychus urticae on horticultural species treated with methyl jasmonate. Plant Biol. & Botany 2007 Poster and Abstract Book, p.69

Rohwer, C.L. and J.E. Erwin. 2006. Jasmonate-induced changes in polyphenol oxidase, peroxidase, and proteinase inhibitors in horticultural species. HortScience 41:1072.

Rohwer, C.L., L.Y. Wong, D.C. Zlesak and J.D. Cohen. 2006. Teaching assistants as a source of continuity and improvement in the classroom. HortScience 41:1055.

Rohwer, C.L., R.M. Warner and J.E. Erwin. 2003. Ethephon alters vegetative and reproductive growth and development of marigold, celosia, pansy, salvia, and calceolaria. HortScience 38:713.

Rohwer, C.L. and R.D. Heins. 2001. Easter cactus flowering under varied temperature, daylength, and light conditions. HortScience 36:591.

Rohwer, C.L. and R.J. Gladon. 2001. 1-methylcyclopropene delays ripening of pink and light red tomatoes. HortScience 36:466.


Vegetable Research

Nutraceutical Research

Hops Research

Curriculum Vitae (.pdf)

Hodgson Memorial Arboretum


 All presentations are .ppt files.