Postproduction Performance of `Gloria' Azalea in Response to Flower Maturity and Simulated Transport

in HortScience
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  • 1 Environmental Horticulture Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611

Dormant-budded `Gloria' azaleas (Rhododendron sp.) at various maturity levels (one, eight, or 32 individual open flowers) were moved from the greenhouse to postproduction rooms. Postproduction rooms were maintained at 21 ± 1C, relative humidity 50% ± 5%, and 12 hours of daily irradiance at 12 μmol·s–1·m–2 from cool-white fluorescent lamps to simulate home conditions. Using predetermined categories, the number of tight, showing-color, candle, and open-flower inflorescences were recorded. After 2 weeks postproduction, plants chosen at the start of postproduction with eight or 32 individual open flowers had the best flowering uniformity and flower color. In a second experiment, azaleas with one, eight, or 32 individual open flowers were placed into simulated transport for 4 days at 16 ± 1C. Plants with one individual open flower had greatest longevity, but those with eight open flowers had the best overall postproduction performance. In a final experiment, azaleas at similar maturity levels were placed in simulated transport at 5, 16, or 27C for 2, 4, or 6 days. After 2 weeks postprodudion, there was no difference due to simulated-transport temperature or duration on flowering performance or flower color. Longevity was good for plants held 2, 4, or 6 days at 5C and for plants held for 2 days at 16 or 27C.

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