Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


UF researchers develop ways to keep the bloom on the rose


They may not be able to make love last, but a team of University of Florida researchers has figured out how to at least make the flowers go the distance.

A UF environmental horticulturist has developed ways to extend flower quality and vase life by three or more days through post-harvest techniques so consumers see a difference in the flowers they purchase – not only on Valentine’s Day but throughout the year.

“Our research has shown that keeping flowers cold as they move from the field to the florist is critical,” said Terril Nell, who has been involved with the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences postharvest floral program for more than two decades.

Growers and retailers also need to understand the importance of proper treatment and sanitary conditions. Consumers can extend vase life by two to three days by using properly mixed commercial flower foods. Using clean, sanitized containers will help to keep all cut flowers fresh longer.

Additionally, Nell and his research team are working with growers and retailers nationally and internationally to spread the word about how best to make flowers last longer.

“Sometimes the differences we achieve relate to the flower quality as well as vase life,” said Nell, who began working with roses because of their popularity and economic value. He also works with carnations, lilies, gerbera, chrysanthemums and alstromeria.

One of the commonly seen quality issues with roses has been ”bent neck” – a bending of the stem immediately below the flower that leads to wilting and failure of the flower to open. Bent neck typically occurs in the first three days after purchase.

“Generally, this problem has been greatly reduced due to use of improved handling procedures from grower to consumer and better rose varieties developed by rose breeders,” Nell said. “As seen with the reduction of bent neck over the last five to eight years, the results of this research programs are making a difference with consumers already. We hope to make even greater strides in the next two to three years.”

Consumers can make a difference in flower longevity, too.

For instance, when choosing roses, buyers should look for freshly cut stems. Re-cut the stems, use a commercial flower food and place the flowers in a clean vase. Keep roses in a cool place, away from heat vents and out of direct sunlight.

The findings also can be applied to lilies and alstromeria, to keep their leaves green even after they go into a vase. Previously the leaves of these crops were susceptible to yellowing, said Nell.

He anticipates that floral sales will increase if flowers perform better by withstanding the test of time.

“It is already proven that flowers are the most popular gift to receive, that they consistently increase a sense of individual well-being, and are even capable of increasing creative thought and output in workplace settings,” Nell said. “If we can help make floral products last longer, their value to consumers will be greater.”

He expects that with improvements to rose quality and longevity, people will buy flowers more often, which will benefit all elements of the floral industry.

“Our whole business relies on the feelings flowers give to people,” said Charles Kremp, owner of Kremp Florists in Philadelphia. “It is important for flowers to arrive to retailers looking their best and to remain looking good after they are purchased by the consumer.”

In the past, fresh flowers kept their quality longer because they were sold in local markets in the vicinity of the fields where they were grown, said Kremp, who has been in the floral industry more than 50 years. When the floral industry began shipping flowers by air to retailers, the quality and longevity declined for the consumer.

“With Terril’s research, people today are receiving flowers of a better quality that last longer than when roses were grown and sold in the same location,” Kremp said.

The beauty and ephemeral nature of Valentine’s Day flowers represent a unique investment in memories, said Nell. A behavioral study shows that fresh flowers have an immediate impact on happiness and increase life satisfaction and enjoyment.

“It’s not enough to offer consumers a beautiful flower,” Nell said. “It needs to come with an extended warranty to remain lovely for a reasonable period of time. Our research is providing scientific basis for that kind of guarantee.”

Terril Nell | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht First time-lapse footage of cell activity during limb regeneration
25.10.2016 | eLife

nachricht Phenotype at the push of a button
25.10.2016 | Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation

26.10.2016 | Awards Funding

3-D-printed magnets

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>