The display life of individual flowers was determined for 8 cultivars of Easter cactus (Rhipsalidopsis hybrids) and 5 cultivars of Holiday cactus (Schlumbergera hybrids). For Easter cactus and Holiday cactus cultivars. the display life of individual flowers ranged from 7 to 12 days and from 4 to 6 days, respectively. In a second study, flowering plants were exposed to 0, 0.4, or 1.0 μl·liter-1 ethylene (C2 H4) for 48 h and were evaluated at 0 and 5 days after C2 H4 treatments. Plant responses to C2 H4 were dependent on C2 H4 concentration, cultivar, and stage of floral development: Easter cactus cultivars were less sensitive to C2 H4 than Holiday cactus cultivars. There was no correlation between display life of individual flowers and sensitivity to C2 H4. These studies demonstrate that: 1) there is substantial genetic variation within and between genera for postharvest performance; and 2) display life of individual flowers and plant sensitivity to C2 H4 should be evaluated when selecting for postharvest performance.