ALEXANDRIA, VA: For satisfied floral customers, cut flowers need to have high quality and a long vase life, but bending of the scape (stalk) is a major postharvest issue that can leave flowers unmarketable and customers unsatisfied. American Floral Endowment (AFE) funded researchers from the University of Florida screened 14 gerbera varieties for scape bending, flower quality and vase life.
Reducing scape bending in the gerbera daisy, research #454 includes the following best practices to eliminate scape bending:
- Choose varieties that are less susceptible to scape bending or that easily recover. (Most susceptible varieties included Guarda, Fiction, Pink Elegance, Primrose, Sonata, Teresa and Testarrosa)
- Avoid storing cut gerbera and never store in boxes.
- Unpack immediately, cut stems and place in a freshly made hydration solution, particularly one formulated especially for gerbera.
- Provide physical support to stems while hydrating. They should not touch the bottom of the container.
- Hold or display physically supported stems in a commercial hydration solution at 42 degrees Fahrenheit for no more than two days.
- Always use a commercial hydration solution, rather than hydrating in water.
- Provide flower food packets to customers.