Dr Fryni Drizou

Fryni is researching and implementing plant health and pest and disease management strategies across RHS Gardens, Shows and Plant Centres

What do you do?

I assist RHS Gardeners with their plant health problems by collecting and examining samples of pests and diseases at each site. I am currently creating bespoke ‘pest and disease’ profiles that will help develop a pest management plan based on the problems present at each RHS Garden.
I carry out field and laboratory work to understand the distribution and prevalence of pathogens, such as Phytophthora species, and how their impact and spread in gardens can be controlled.
Additionally, I provide training on plant health and emerging pests and diseases for RHS Garden staff, RHS members and RHS Flower Show exhibitors, as well as carrying out inspections at flower shows to ensure that good plant health practises are followed. I provide entomological and phytopathological advice to RHS members through RHS Gardening Advice. 

“I was always fascinated with plants. During summer holidays I found my interest in nature but it wasn’t until my undergraduate studies that I really fell in love with insects and pathogens.”

Why is your team’s research important?

Plants have evolved alongside different organisms in natural ecosystems and as a result, have developed defence mechanisms that allow them to co-exist in balance with insects and pathogens.
Intensive agriculture and misuse of pesticides have disturbed this balance and led to the emergence of pests that are very difficult to control. In addition, climate change in combination with global plant trade has led to the introduction and establishment of new pests that plants are not familiar with.
Plant health aims to protect plants from pests and diseases. Understanding the mechanisms underlying plant-pest interactions is a crucial step towards the development of control methods to protect plants. Additionally, the encouragement of biodiversity in gardens helps to minimise outbreaks of pest and diseases as well as the need to use pesticides. Lastly, promoting and implementing biosecurity is an important step for safeguarding our gardens and the environment.

Projects I’m working on now

  • HOMED: holistic management of emerging forest pests and diseases

Completed projects

I have researched how plants defend themselves against herbivorous insects and pathogens and how they communicate with other organisms in their environment


I am proud of the impact the whole Plant Health team has on the wider Society.


Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.