Senescence of sweet pea (Lathyrus odoratus L.) flowers was associated with a climacteric rise in ethylene (C2H4) production. Pretreatment for 8 min with 4 mM silver thiosulfate (STS) doubled the vase life of the flowers and enhanced opening of buds on the spike. An overnight pulse at 20°C with 4% sucrose also promoted bud opening. A combined STS and sucrose treatment improved flower quality by promoting bud opening of spikes cut with tight florets, and by delaying floret senescence and abscission in both fresh and stored flowers. Aminooxyacetic acid (AOA) was less effective than STS in extending the vase life of sweet peas.