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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 maki
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Source:University of Florida


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