Characterization of Postharvest Disorders and the Effect of Shipping on Shelf Life of 22 Vegetative Annual Cultivars

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  • 1 Texas A&M Univ., Horticultural Sciences, College Station, TX 77843-2133
  • 2 Texas A&M Univ., Horticultural Sciences, College Station, TX 77843

Vegetative annuals are increasing in popularity among greenhouse growers and consumers but little is known about their postharvest shelf life. Twenty-two cultivars from ten species of vegetative annuals were grown to marketability with optimum greenhouse culture. Plants were then subjected to one of three shipping durations (0, 1, or 2 days) in simulated shipping i.e., a growth chamber at 26.7 ± 0.3 °C, 0 μmol·m-2·s-1, and 50% relative humidity. The plants were then moved to simulated postharvest environment i.e., growth room at 21.1 ± 1.3 °C and 6 μmol·m-2·s-1 to evaluate shelf life. Flower number and plant quality rating were measured weekly in addition to observations of plant appearances. Some of the postharvest disorders noted on several species and cultivars were stem die back, leaf chlorosis, stem elongation, bud abortion, flower drop, and flower fading. The majority of the cultivars maintained their quality one-week postharvest although flower drop was common. After the first week of shelf life, decline in vegetative and reproductive tissues were noted in most plants. Cultivars from nine species: Argyranthemum frutescens (L.) Sch. Bip, Bracteantha bracteata (Vent.) Anderb. & Haegi, Calibrachoa hybrid Lave Lex, Diascia ×hybrida, Lantana camara L., Nemesia ×hybrida, Petunia ×hybrida, Sutera hybrida, and Sutera cordata showed decreased flower number and/or quality rating due to shipping duration, with increased shipping duration causing accelerated postharvest disorders. The only species unaffected by shipping duration was Angelonia angustifolia Benth.

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