How to Prolong the Vase Life of Cut Flowers Using Ethylene

Flowers are exquisitely beautiful especially when they haven’t been cut from their mother plants. But as soon as these flowers are cut and brought indoors, wilting reduces their beauty and quality. When a flower starts to wilt, its vase life is shortened; consequently, its market value falls. With these impinging factors coupled with improper post harvest handling and practices, one can hardly see a “blooming” cut flower industry.

To address this problem in cutflower production, scientists and experts from Postharvest Horticulture Training and Research Center (PHTRC) at UP Los Banos, Laguna, developed and introduced ethylene adsorbent and Florafresh to give cut flowers their maximum potential vase life.

Florafresh

Florafresh is a liquid mixture of biocide, sugar, buffer, and water applied to maintain the freshness of some cutflowers while prolonging their vase life. It is best applied to mums, gladioli, roses, carnations, and orchids.

One can easily apply Florafresh by following these simple steps:

  1. Mix one part of Florafresh to 10 parts of water.
  2. Use a clean sharp knife or shear in cutting the stems. This is necessary to prevent crushing the stem and to facilitate water/solution absorption in the cells. Remove leaves that are submerged in the solutions. Dead leaves trigger the growth of fungi and bacteria.
  3. Soak the cut flowers in about 1-inch deep solution. Florafresh is guaranteed as more effective compared to using plain water or other holding solutions because it lengthens the vase life of flowers two-folds or more. One can expect normal opening of flowers and better color retention of petals even if the flowers are harvested immaturely.

Aside from being easy to use, Florafresh is affordable. Growers need only to spend P3.50 to treat a dozen of cutflowers.

Ethylene adsorbent

Ethylene is a gas emitted by any harvested commodity. It causes ripening and deterioration in fruits, vegetables, and ornamentals. In cut flowers, when ethylene gas concentration is high, the petals start to fade and fall.

Ethylene adsorbent (EA) in sachet form is made up of indigenous waste materials that directly absorb ethylene gas from a storage space, transport container, or pack of various horticultural produce. One can experience its optimum results when used with modified atmosphere packaging and storage (MAP).

EA is effective in delaying the deterioration of important cutflowers such as chrysanthemum, gladioli, and white dendrobium. EA is so easy to use and is applicable both in treating small or large bulks of postharvest produce. When used with MAP, one should use the specified numbers of EA depending on MAP requirement. When dealing with large bulk loads, EA sachets should be evenly distributed within the shipment.

To maintain the effectiveness of EA sachets, it is important to store and pack unused sachets in a cool place, preferably inside a refrigerator. Stored absorbents that have turned brown or lost their violet hue are no longer effective to use.

EA was designed to cater to a wide range of users, which include farmers, housewives, retailers, shippers, exporters, and tissue culture practitioners.

It is safe to use, environment-friendly, affordable, and cheap costing only P3 per sachet.

For more information, please contact Postharvest Training Research Center (PHTRC), UP Los Banos, College, Laguna at Tel. No. (049) -536-3259, 536-2444.

source: Mary Charlotte O. Fresco of BFAR Digest

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