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This well-known phenomenon is the premature wilting of the flowers that are sensitive to vascular blockages, such as Rosa, Bouvardia, Chrysanthemum and Gerbera.

Leaf yellowing is a sign of insufficient natural plant growth hormones, regulating the production of leaf green in the leaf. Before being cut, the mother plant took care of the production of these hormones. After cutting there is a shortage of these substances due to interrupted ‘juice flow’ from the mother plant.

Leaf yellow is nothing other than loss of “leaf green”, also known as chlorophyll. A number of factors influence the yellowing such as ethylene and light (see table).

Bent-neck in rosesPremature harvesting is the core problem of bent-neck in roses. The stem right under the bud is not strong enough to carry the weight of the growing bud/flower. When the stem bends in this way, the vascular bundles are pinched shut and the flower’s water supply is cut off. The leaves, on the other hand, remain healthy.

Botrytis cinerea (grey mould) is a fungus which causes a loss of quality in flowers like Rosa, Chrysanthemum, Gerbera and Lisianthus. The place of origin, season, hygiene during processing and storage, weather conditions and climate control play an important role in the appearance and development of Botrytis. The fungus thrives on both living and dead plant materials. The infection starts when miniscule little mould spores, spread through the air. Starting as a little white speck (‘pock’) on the flower petals, it spreads right to the bottom of the flower.

Stems carry the flower and give the flower access to water. The stem should remain undamaged to enjoy the flowers as long as possible. Do not remove bark or thorns from the stem. Did you know that stem scrapers and thorn removers belong to the top 10 list of torture treatments for flowers?

Effects of stem scraping
Scraping damages the stem bark, the flowers natural protection, causing a large stem wound. Result: a quickly wilting flower, a short vase life, extra waste for the florist/retailer and a disappointed customer.

If there is one flower species known to want to rise above all, it’s the tulip. Tulipa grow about 10 cm after cutting, during transport and whilst in the vase depending on the cultivar. Sometimes gerberas, anemone and antirrhinums also want to grow when cut and put in vases. Florists cannot do much to prevent this, growers can.

Most tulips tend to continue to grow after being harvested by the grower. This causes difficulties in combining  tulips with other flowers in mixed bouquets, because they grow above the rest after a few days. Cut flower food also stimulates this growth.