Postharvest characteristics of zinnia and sunflower cut flowers as influenced by shipping, hydration and preservatives

Everett R. Emino, Becky Hamilton


Harvested zinnia flowers, in Experiment 1, were either kept dry, placed in plain water or placed in a hydrating solution (Hydroflor® 100 at 30 mL 3.78 L[sup-]) and a floral preservative (Floralife Crystal Clear®), and stored at 2C for 2 days. Afterwards, flowers were placed in a simulated postharvest interior environment consisting of either water or a preservative solution. Experiment 2 repeated Experiment 1, without shipping simulation. Experiment 3 treatments were water replenished with a water and a hydrating solution, and preservative replenished with preservative. Sunflowers were treated as described for zinnia Experiments 1 and 3. Results clearly show a significant benefit of a hydrating solution and floral preservative for zinnia. Flowers lasted longer with that treatment, except for dry shipping where hydration appear to be the most important factor in longevity. Water vs. preservative solutions resulted in 8 days vs. 14 days longevity respectively using an 80% acceptance threshold. Similarly, flowers in a hydrated-preservativewater treatment lasted 9 days vs. 13 days for those in the hydrated- preservative-preservative treatment. Sunflowers lasted 19 days with only a one-day difference between water and preservative treatments. Thus, as compared to zinnia (which demonstrated a distinct benefit from preservatives) sunflowers did not have a corresponding beneficial response.


senescence; transport; fresh flower food; floral preservatives; specialty cut flowers

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283