Influences on Vase Life of Red Boronia

Boronia heterophylla, commonly called red boronia, is grown for cut flower production in Australia, Israel, New Zealand, and the United States, however, there is little published information about its vase life. This study evaluates commonly-used vase solution additives and the influence of bacterial numbers in the vase solutions and stem segments.

Two stages of maturity were evaluated: late harvest, indicated by incipient petal closure and fading below the calyx, and normal harvest maturity, characterized by open, bright pink petals. The nine vase solution treatments were as follows:

1) 8-HQC (250mg/L)
2) Distilled water control
3) Acidified distilled water
4) Citric acid (10 mM)
5) Citric acid (10 mM)+ sucrose
6) Citric acid + chlorine (SDIC,   50mg/L)
7) Citric acid (10 mM)+ sucrose +   chlorine
8) STS pulse (0.5 mM for 10.5   hours), then into distilled water
9) Citric acid (1.43 mM)

Vase life was ended when more than 50% of the flowers on the leafy racemose inflorescence exhibited wilting. The evaluation room was held at 20C and 58-65% relative humidity with 12-hour light cycles. Bacterial presence in the vase water and the plant stems was also measured.

The STS pulse resulted in an average vase life of 12.9 days. The next longest vase life was citric acid (1.43 mM) at 9.6 days. Treatments that included chlorine had the shortest vase life, only 4 days. The control, with distilled water only, had a vase life of 6.3 days. Considering all treatment variables, this study indicated that inhibiting the effects of ethylene was a more important factor than reducing bacterial counts in increasing vase life.

Williamson, V.G., D.C. Joyce, 2013. Boronia heterophylla vase life is influenced more by ethylene than by bacterial numbers or vase solution pH. Postharvest Biology and Technology, 84:28-35.


Delay Regreening in Cut Calla Lily

The leaf-like spathe of Zantedeschia (calla lily) regreens approximately two days after it fully opens, therefore being a limiting factor for the flowers’ postharvest quality. This research evaluated the application of plant hormone solutions as a short-term pulse or a continuous vase solution in hopes of postponing the regreening of the spathe tissue.

 ‘Best Gold’ flowers were used in this experiment. Discs of spathe tissue, obtained using a cork borer, were used in preliminary trials to evaluate various concentrations of synthetic plant hormones including BAP (cytokinin), Zeatin, CPPU and GA3 (gibberellin). Combinations of BAP and GA3 were applied to whole stems as a pulse treatment or a continuous vase solution.

The preliminary trial indicated that regreening of spathe tissue treated with a simultaneous application of BAP and GA3 was postponed by up to five days longer than treatments of BAP and GA3 applied alone. The vase solution study found that application of BAP and GA3 as a 24-hour pulse was equally effective as a continuous vase solution in delaying regreening. This delay allows for a seven day extension of the vase life of Zantedeschia ‘Best Gold’.

Chen, J., K.A. Funnell, D.H. Lewis, J.R. Eason, and D.J. Woolley. 2013. Cytokinin and gibberellin delay regreening of spathe tissue of Zantedeschia ‘Best Gold’. Postharvest Biology and Technology 84(61-65).


Floral Preservatives and Consumer Perception

Despite extensive evidence that floral preservatives extend postharvest longevity in most fresh flowers, the use of these preservatives among traditional florists varies. This study aimed to determine if the presence of floral preservatives or if the knowledge gained about the function and effectiveness of floral preservatives increased consumers’ perception of quality, purchase intention and price of a floral arrangement.

A survey was used to evaluate the aspects of this study. The survey included four figures: 1) a photo of a floral arrangement, 2) the same photo with an unlabeled packed of preservative propped against the vase, 3) a photo of the same arrangement with a second, close-up photo of the clearly labeled packet of preservative and 4) the same photo sequence as figure 3 with an additional 191-word message describing the three functions of floral preservatives. For each figure, the survey participants were asked to rate the quality of the floral arrangement, indicate whether they would purchase the arrangement and what price they would say the arrangement is worth. Additional questions about floral preservatives were asked on the latter figures.

The survey data indicated that as consumers become more knowledgeable about floral preservatives, they attribute higher quality to floral arrangements with preservatives, are willing to pay more for arrangements with preservatives, and their purchase intention frequency increases. Though many participants did not appreciate the benefits of floral preservatives before reading the message about their function and effectiveness, providing that message increases the consumers’ appreciation of the role of preservatives on quality and value of floral products.
The overarching conclusion of the study was that florists should always use preservatives in their processing of fresh floral arrangements, consider providing a message about the function and effectiveness of floral preservatives and market the fact that preservatives are being used.

Jenkins, M.M., K.A. Williams and L.A. Brannon. 2013. Increased Knowledge about Floral Preservatives Influences Consumers’ Perception of the Quality and Value of a Floral Arrangement Purchase, HortTechnology, 23(2) pp 142-148.

Megan Bame

Megan Bame is a freelance writer in Salisbury, North Carolina. Contact her at [email protected]