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Post Harvest Handling of Fresh Cut Flowers and Plant Material

Post Harvest Handling of Fresh Cut Flowers and Plant Material

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Sustainable technology
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http://community2gard.insanejournal.com
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http://row2grow.insanejournal.com
Sustainable technology
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Published by: ElizabethGraceGibson on May 01, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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12/09/2012

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Kansas State UniversityAgricultural Experiment Station andCooperative Extension Service
COMMERCIAL SPECIALTY CUT FLOWER PRODUCTION
Whether you grow fresh flowers for the localfarmers’ market and retail florist or have a largeoperation that sells truckloads to the nationalwholesales market, you need to move your productfrom the field to your consumers in a manner thatensures a high quality product. Below are the top10 reasons why flowers do not last.1.Food depletion2.Attacked by bacteria and fungi3.Normal maturation and aging4.Wilting—water stress and xylem blockage5.Bruising and crushing6.Fluctuating temperatures during storage andtransit7.Color change—bluing8.Accumulation of ethylene9.Poor water quality10.Suboptimal cultural practices or conditionsAs a grower, you need to be aware of theseproblems and how to solve them with good post-harvest care. Cold storage and proper attention tomaintaining optimum cold storage temperatureswill slow normal maturation and aging, attack bybacteria and fungi and bluing of flowers, besidessolving any improper temperature control prob-lems. Consistent use of floral preservatives, carefulhandling and good sanitation practices will solvefood depletion, poor water quality, bruising andcrushing, wilting, and bacterial and fungal attack problems. Ethylene accumulation can be handledby using Silver Thiosulfate, by having goodsanitation practices and good ventilation. Lastly,suboptimal cultural practices and conditions canonly produce substandard flowers. You cannotimprove the quality of flowers after harvest.Postharvest handling of cut flowers includesboth harvest and handling. Harvest includes thedecision of when, how and where to cut and theactual act of cutting the flower. Handling is every-thing else involved in preparing the flowers formarket. Exactly how these steps are done dependson the crop, the market and the operation size.
Harvest
The most important factors for harvest arewhen, how and where—“when” the plant materialwill reach the optimum stage of development and“when” during the day to harvest. Each plantmaterial has its own best harvest stage and thiscan vary depending on the use of, and market for,the plant material. Materials for preserving usuallyare harvested more mature than those for fresh,wholesale markets. Some general rules of thumbfor when to harvest are: spike type flowers—harvest when one-fourth to one-half of the indi-vidual florets are open; daisy type flowers—harvest when flowers are fully open. Table 1 liststhe specific optimum harvest stage for a variety of plant materials. These are for a national wholesalemarket. For local markets, the material can be moremature.The other “when” is, when is the best time of day for harvesting flowers. The best time is thecoolest part of the day and when there is no surfacewater from dew or rain on the plants. Also,
POSTHARVEST HANDLING OF FRESHCUT FLOWERS AND PLANT MATERIAL
 
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Table 1. Optimal Stage of Development for Harvest of Fresh Cut FlowersCommon NameSpeciesStage of Development
African Marigold
Tagetes erecta
fully open flowersAllium, Ornamental Onion
 Allium
one-fourth to one-third florets openAnnual Gaillardia, Blanket Flower,
Gaillardia pulchella
fully open flowersIndian Blanket FlowerAstilbe
 Astilbe
hybridsone-half florets openBachelor’s Button
Centaurea
spp.flowers beginning to openBearded Iris
 Iris
Bearded cvs.colored budsBee-Balm, Fragrant Balm,
 Monarda didyma
almost open flowersOswego TeaBlack-eyed Susan, Yellow Oxeye
 Rudbeckia
spp.fully open flowersDaisy, English Bulls-eyeCalendula, Pot Marigold
Calendula officinalis
fully open flowersCanterbury Bells
Campanula
spp.one-half florets openChina Aster, Annual Aster
Callistephus chinensis
fully open flowersClarkia, Farwell to Spring
Clarkia unquiculata
one-half florets openClimbing Lily, Glory Lily
Gloriosa superba
almost fully open flowersCockscomb
Celosia argentea
one-half florets open
var. cristata
Columbine
 Aquilegia
hybridsone-half florets openColumbine Meadow Rue
Thalictrum aguilegiifolium
one-half florets openCommon Grape Hyacinth
 Muscari botryoides
one-half florets openCommon Mignonette
 Reseda odorata
one-half florets openCommon Stoc
 Matthiola incana
one-half florets openCommon Garden, Late Tulips
Tulipa
cvs.half-colored budsCommon Foxglove, Finger
 Digitalis purpurea
one-half florets openFlower, Purple FoxgloveCommon Sunflower
 Helianthus annuus
fully open flowersCoreopsis, Tickseed,
Coreopsis grandiflora
fully open flowersLance CoreopsisDaffodil, Narcissus, Jonquil
 Narcissus
cvs.Goose neckstageDahlia
 Dahlia
cvs.fully open flowersDaylily
 Hemerocallis
cvs.half-open flowersDelphinium
 Delphinium
spp.one-half florets openDutch Iris
 Iris x hollandica
colored budsEnglish Daisy, True Daisy
 Bellis perennis
fully open flowersFleabane
 Erigeron
hybridsfully open flowersFreesia
Freesia
hybridsfirst bud beginning to openGarden Forget-me-Not,
 Myosotis sylvatica
one-half florets openWoodland Forget-me-NotGlads
Gladiolus
cultivars1 to 5 buds showing colorGlobe Thistle
 Echinops ritro
half-open flowersGoldenrod
Solidago
spp.one-half florets open
 
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Table 1. Optimal Stage of Development for Harvest of Fresh Cut Flowers, continuedCommon NameSpeciesStage of Development
Joseph’s Coat, Amaranth
 Amaranthus tricolo
one-half florets openFountain Plant, TampalaKaffir, Lily, Clivia
Clivia miniata
one-fourth florets openLarkspur, Annual Delphinium
Consolida ambigua
2 to 5 florets openLily-of-the-Valley
Convallaria majalis
one-half florets openLisianthus
 Eustoma grandiflorum
5 to 6 open flowersLove-in-a-Mist
 Nigella damascena
open flowersLupine
 Lupinus
cvs. Russellone-half florets openMontebretia
Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora
one-half florets openNasturtium
Tropaeolum majus
fully open flowersNerine
 Nerine bowdenii
oldest buds almost openPansy
Viola x wittrockiana
almost open flowersPeony
Paeonia
cvs.colored budsPerennial Gaillardia, Blanket
Gaillardia x grandiflora
fully open flowersPerennial & Annual Baby’s Breath
Gypsophila
spp.flowers open but not overly maturePincushion Flower
Scabiosa
spp.half-open flowersPoppy Anemone
 Anemone coronaria
buds beginning to openRanunculus
 Ranunculus asiaticus
buds beginning to openSea Holly
 Eryngium
spp.fully open flowersShowy Stonecrop Sedum,
Sedum
spp.fully open flowersLive-foreverSiberian Squill, Blue Squill
Scilla siberica
half-open flowersSnapdragon
 Antirrhinum majus
one-third florets openSpeedwell
Veronica
spp.one-half florets openStatice, Sea-lavendar
 Limonium
spp.almost fully open flowersSummer Phlox, Garden Phlox,
Phlox paniculata
one-half florets openFall PhloxSunflower Heliopsis, Hardy Zinnia,
 Heliopsis helianthoides
fully open flowersOrange Sunflower, False SunflowerSweet Pea
 Lathyrus odoratus
one-half florets openSweet William
 Dianthus barbatus
one-half florets openSweet Violet, English Violet,
Viola odorata
almost open flowersGarden Violet, Florists VioletTall Gayfeather, Blazing Star,
 Liatris spicata
one-half florets openButton SnakerootTiger, Asiatic, Oriental lilies
 Lilium
spp.colored budsTorch-Lily, Common Poker Plant,
Kniphofia uvaria
almost all florets are showing colorFlame FlowerTrue Monkshood
 Aconitum napellus
one-half florets openTuberose
Polianthes tuberosa
majority of florets openYarrow
 Achillea filipendulina
fully open flowersZinnia
 Zinnia elegans
fully open flowersInformation in this table gathered from various sources listed at the end of this publication.

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