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 gr
Source:University of Florida