Growers use all their skills in the cultivation of mother plants to harvest perfect flowers. The question is whether 100 percent of the genetic potential of the cut flowers is realised in the consumer’s home. By Anabel Evans
Cut flowers, similar to any living product, have a limited life span once they have been cut from the mother plant. And while breeders are conscious of the need to optimise vase life characteristics, the ability to measure the vitality of a cut flower as it travels through the supply chain remains a myth. We currently have to be content with estimations.
Variety data on vase life is commonly based on tests conducted in conditioned rooms. These judgments become worthless, however, unless careful control is assumed for the quality of the handling, right from the cutting moment to the point of sale. Apart from environmental conditions during storage and shipment, the post-harvest treatments to counteract the impact of removal from the mother plant, and hence the flower’s source of water and nutrient uptake, are critical. Almost all cut flowers are hydrated after harvest, but is water enough? 

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