3 Caring for Fresh Flowers and Foliage Lesson 2Caring for Fresh Flowers and Foliage
4 Interest ApproachHere is a package of flowers I purchased from a florist. Inside is a packet of preservative. What do you think the preservative is made out of? Why do the flowers need it? Notice that some of my flowers are not looking so healthy. What do you think is the cause of their deterioration?Go to a local florist or grocery store and purchase a bunch of flowers that have been there awhile. Ask if you can get them at a discount since they are old. Be sure to get a floral preservative packet if you don’t already have one.
5 Student Objectives 1. Explain the basic requirements of cut flowers. 2. Understand the causes of deterioration and death of flowers.3. Describe the steps of effective conditioning of flowers and foliage.4. Explain the importance of using floral preservatives.5. Learn about commercial packing and shipping.
7 When a Flower Is Cut, What Are Its Needs? Even though flowers have been removed from a plant, it still photosynthesizes - produces food from sunlightThere are certain requirements that are needed by the flowers in order to survive: water, food/sugar, healthy environment and sanitation
8 High quality waterA flower is 90% water. When a plant has enough water it is said to be turgid. As flowers photosynthesize, they need waterFlowers like acidic water (pH below 7). This allows for better water uptake. Perform a pH test to determine if the water is acidic or basic (pH above 7)Ph is the amount of hydrogen ions or hydroxide ions in the waterPreservatives make the water more acidic
9 Salinity is the measurement of the total dissolved salts in water Water is classified as either hard water (which contains a high level of minerals), or soft water (which has been treated to lower mineral levels)Hardness effects the pHSalinity is the measurement of the total dissolved salts in waterSalt clogs the xylem of the stem preventing water movementCauses wilting and weakening of stemMust be less than 200 ppm
10 Food and sugar Healthy environment Cut flowers are in need of sucrose and dextrose (glucose)The flower gets these from the stored sugar it has and from the provided preservativesHealthy environmentFlowers need an environment free of ethylene gases, which causes deterioration of flowersFruit should not be stored in a cooler because they give off ethylene gas
11 Conditioning (the process of treating flowers in order to extend their life) occurs when the flowers and foliage arrive at the design siteWarm water should be used - between 100 to 1100F; Better for uptakeRecut stems and remove lower foliageLeave flowers out at room temperature for 2-3 hours; Again it is better for water/food uptakeOnce the flowers are hardened off (full of water after conditioning), they can be put into a cooler of FCoolers provide better humidity control than regular refrigerators
12 SanitationThese are procedures used when handling fresh flowers that will ensure they last longerHands, knives, shears, containers and work area need to be kept sanitaryUse a disinfectant soap to clean tools and work area; Also use bleach to clean the bucketsBacteria can be reduced by continual cleaning of work areas, coolers and containers on a regular basis
13 What Causes a Flower to Deteriorate and Die? When a flower is cut from the mother plant, it starts to die because the flower no longer has a water or food sourceDeath of a flower is called senescenceHumans must intervene to provide the necessary water and foodThere are five causes of flower deterioration: genetic life, wilting, harvest time, ethylene gas and disease/damage
14 Genetic life:Each flower has a certain inherent life span based on its geneticsOur goal is to achieve the maximum life span allowed by natureFlower: life span:Daylily 1 dayDutch iris daysRose daysCarnations daysChrysanthemums days
15 Wilting: Caused by either excessive water loss or lack of absorption Blocked vascular tissue could be another causeTranspiration (water loss in the process of respiration) is caused by warmer temperatures and lower humidityRespiration is the process of burning glucose to create energyStem blockage is the most common cause of poor absorption; Due to clogged xylem
16 Timing of harvest:This is the time the flowers are cut from the mother plantTime of day - flowers should never be cut when they are wiltedAvoid cutting in the heat of dayEvening time is best because there is a decrease in photosynthesisMorning time is second best because the plant is full of waterStage of flowering - best time to harvest is right before the flower fully opensExceptions include the daisy and flowering bulbs (harvested as bulbs) and the calla lily (develops after it is cut)
17 Ethylene gas exposure: Ethylene gas is a natural plant hormone produced by aging flowers, fruits and vegetablesCommon signs of ethylene exposure include large amounts of fallen petals, dropped florets and yellowing leavesGrowers and wholesales prevent this by using ethylene inhibitors - products that block or tie up the gasDisease or damage:Flowers grown/cut should be of the highest qualityMust always be inspected for disease/damage
18 Flowers Sensitive to Ethylene AlstroemeriaPeruvian lilyAnemoneBaby’s breathBouvardiaCarnationsCornflowerDelphiniumFreesiaLilySnapdragon
19 How Are Cut Flowers and Foliage Conditioned to Maximize Vase Life? Conditioning plant materials include the following steps:1. Flowers should be unpacked and inspected upon receiving2. Prioritize the order of processing; Wilt-prone and expensive flowers first3. Remove sleeves, ties and any foliage that might contact water in the container4. Under warm water, re-cut all stems, removing 1-2 inchesWarm water has less air bubbles than cold
20 5. Use specific treatment solutions as needed Ex. Roses should be treated with an additional preservative6 . Place cut flowers in a floral preservative solution mixed at the proper concentrationToo little preservative encourages bacterial growth; Too much can cause toxicity7. Let the flowers remain at room temperature for 2-3 hours to increase water uptake8. Place the flowers in a cooler set at F with a high humidity level and constant light
21 9. Milky stems should be treated quickly by dipping them in boiling water for five seconds; Then place them in the floral preservativeYou can also burn them with a match or put them in a warm preservative solution10. Roses that have lost turgidity near the flower head are called bent necksThey can be revived by placing the stems in a warm preservative solution and recutting them under water
22 Reviving a Bent NeckCourtesy of Interstate Publishing
23 Review of Conditioning Process 1. Be sure to start with clean buckets.2. Unpack flowers immediately.3. Remove lower foliage.4. Re-cut 1-2” off old stem under warm water.5. Place flowers in plastic bucket with floral preservative.To reinforce this process, I usually bring in several bunches of flowers and have the students go through the entire process themselves. Of course, we review the process again before they begin.Each student is responsible for removing the sleeves, foliage, cutting them under water, preparing the floral preservatives, and setting them out.We then are able to use these flowers for their floral designs.6. Leave flowers out for 2-3 hours.7. Put flowers into the cooler to complete the process.Courtesy of Corinne Banowski
24 Review of the Basic Needs of Fresh Cut Flowers Courtesy of Interstate Publishing
25 How Does a Floral Preservative Extend the Life of Cut Flowers? Floral preservatives will extend the life of cut flowers as opposed to using plain waterA preservative contains sugar as a supplemental food source, an acidifier to decrease the pH, and a bactericide to kill bacteria in a vase or stemPre-treatments are used before preservatives to reduce ethylene exposure and to hydrate flowers that are wilt proneAll flowers can benefit from hydration solution treatment
26 How Are Flowers Sent From the Field to the Florist? The majority of cut flowers used in the united states are produced in foreign countriesThe commercial packing and shipping process affects the life span of the flowersFlowers are graded - separated into groups based on factors such as quality, uniformity and sizeAlso graded by stem quality, length and strengthFlowers are then placed in bundles and sleeved for shipping
27 Common Bunch Sizes for Major Floral Crops Courtesy of Interstate Publishing
28 Some flowers are packaged individually; For example, gerbera daisies After bundling, the flowers are boxed for shipment and precooled - a method of quickly replacing the warm air with cool air inside the box; Also known as dry packedFlowers such as snapdragons and gladioli are packed in hampers and stored uprightThen the flowers are shipped via air and then truck to the marketplace
29 Examples of Flower Packaging Some flowers are packaged in sleeves, like carnations; some are packaged individually, like Gerbera daisies.Here, workers are packaging flowers in bunches, like statice.Courtesy of Delmar Publishing
30 SummaryWhat do cut flowers need in order to survive once they are cut from the mother plant?What are some causes of flower deterioration?What causes a flower to wilt?List the steps involved in processing cut flowers.Why are floral preservatives added to the water?How are cut flowers packaged by the growers and shipped to the wholesalers?
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