Production Factors Affecting the Longevity and Quality of Flowering Plants

in HortScience
Author: Terril A. Nell1
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  • 1 Dept. of Environmental Horticulture, Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The quality and longevity of flowering potted plants and cut flowers are affected by the cultivar grown and cultural practices used during production. Preharvest factors may account for 70% of the life of flowering plants. Longevity is directly related to the cultivar grown. In potted chrysanthemums, longevity has been increased by 100% by carefully selecting a long-lasting variety. Cultural factors, such as fertilization practices, may increase longevity by 40% to 50%. Chrysanthemums grown without fertilizer during the final 3 weeks of production lasted 10 to 14 days longer than plants receiving fertilizer for the entire crop. Flower and plant quality is influenced by cultivar and cultural practices. Poinsettia bract edge burn, a marginal burn or spotting on the bracts, appears to be caused by a calcium deficiency that may be triggered by use of cool day temperatures or warm night temperatures and use of cultivars sensitive to this disorder. Light compensation point and carbohydrate status of the plant at flowering have not been related to differences observed in flower longevity and quality.

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