Fresh cut roses are the mainstay of the flower industry. Because of this a great deal of research has been done on the physiology of roses and their keeping qualities. The major POST HARVEST PROBLEMS for roses are their failure to open, accompanied by bent neck and wilting. These factors severely reduce their flower vase life. Customers assess the quality of their purchase on the APPEARANCE and DURABILITY of the flowers. The problems can generally be attributed to WATER STRESS (caused by lack of water, air embolisms, (air bubbles in the water uptake system), or bacteria/fungi induced stem blockage), or a lack of FLOWER FOOD to meet energy requirements.

PROBLEMS can be largely avoided if a proper regime of flower care is followed through from harvest to vase. Growers, shippers, sellers and florists all have a responsibility to take steps that prolong flower freshness.

GROWERS generally follow a standard post-harvest regime adopted by the industry. Flowers are cut and immersed in a conditioning solution of water, flower food(sucrose), and bacticide, for 2-24 hours. Flowers can take up water and nutrient in a disease free environment. Further treatment with ethylene inhibitors may be used to slow the aging process. The flowers are kept cool until delivery.

FLORISTS receive flowers that may have been out of the water for some time. Stems need to be recut (preferably underwater) to limit air embolisms and then immersed in water in clean containers. The inclusion of a flower food may be beneficial, especially if the flowers are at a tight bud stage and need to grow and develop further. When the FLORIST makes up roses for the CUSTOMER they must be protected against stress from dehydration or heat (as in courier vans). Roses that leave the shop dry will probably develop bent neck within 24 hours. The addition of flower food to the vase will not prevent this happening. Flospac sachets have been developed to solve these problems by containing flowers in transit between florist and vase.

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