Floral Storage Recommendations
Leading florist around the world have discovered the benefits of using Ethylene Control sachets and filters in their operations. Whether you are shipping flowers, orchids, bulbs, cuttings or bare root stock.
Or, if you are a consumer who has just received a flower for personal use, the life cycle of flowers are extended well beyond that of flowers not shipped or stored with Ethylene Control! If you are a florist with a walk-in cold storage box, Ethylene Filters are a must. Our ten pack of 20 gram sachets work great in reach-ins. Why not include Ethylene Control sachets with your next inbound shipment of flowers, you will be delighted with the results.
Ethylene – Sometimes called the Death Hormone
Floriculture Development Officer
British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
Ethylene (C2H4) is considered to be a plant hormone, a growth regulator, and a potentially harmful pollutant of ornamental crops. It has sometimes been called the death hormone, because it promotes the aging and ripening of many fruits and flowers. It is a simple organic substance that is active at very low concentrations. Ethylene and related substances are produced when almost any material is incompletely combusted or burned. It also evolves naturally from plant materials that are aging, ripening or rotting. Many ripening fruits and vegetables generate ethylene as do certain micro-organisms.
Ethylene toxicity and damage is of particular importance in the shipping and handling of floral products. Ethylene gas is often added to banana ripening rooms at food wholesalers. This can cause problems for floral products if they are handled and distributed from the same building.
John Elgar – HortResearch, Mt Albert
Ethylene gas is a pollutant generated naturally by all vegetation, especially that which is cut and/or decaying, ripening fruit and vegetables, and some senescing flowers. It is also produced from coal gas, petroleum gas, and in exhaust fumes of internal combustion engines, such as those used in some forklifts, heating systems, etc.
Ethylene reduces the longevity of some flowers and foliage by causing rapid wilting of petals (e.g. carnations), shedding or shattering of petals (e.g. snapdragons, delphiniums), or other changes to petal tissues, such as loss or change of colour (e.g. orchids). Therefore, flowers which are sensitive to ethylene should not be held in the same coolstore as ethylene-producingfruit, vegetables or foliage, or be exposed to exhaust fumes.
Low temperatures can reduce both the rate of ethylene production and the sensitivity of flowers to it. For instance, carnations stored at 0°C would need to be exposed to higher ethylene concentrations for a longer duration before petal in-rolling resulted, whereas a shorter exposure and/or a lower concentration of ethylene at 30°C may be sufficient to cause damage.
Ethylene Gas is a pollutant generated naturally by all vegetation.
Ethylene Gas, Flower Bulbs & Cut Flowers
Don’t mix fruit, bulbs and flowers
UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS , the ethylene gas released by the natural ripening process of particular fruits and vegetables can shorten the flower life of particular cut flowers, inhibit the development of immature flower buds, and cause damage to developing flower bulbs.
Ethylene gas is a naturally-occurring plant hormone. It is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas released during the natural ripening process of fruits and vegetables. It’s okay to have around –it is always around– but proper care should be given in the following situations:
- When storing flower bulbs in an enclosed space ethylene gas released by apples and other fruits can build up in an enclosed space such as a refrigerator, and cause the embryonic flowers inside the bulbs to abort or not fully form (each bulb contains a fully formed flower inside, ready to emerge and bloom). People often store bulbs in refrigerators prior to planting.
- When forcing flower bulbs as above, bulbs stored in enclosed spaces can suffer from ethylene exposure.
- When storing or displaying cut flowers, certain bulb flowers and other flowers can suffer shortened vase life or incomplete development of their immature flower buds when exposed to ethylene gas.
What ethylene exposure can do to flowers/bulbs:
- cause partial or incomplete flower abortion
- retard growth of the plant
- cause growth abnormalities such as excessive leafiness, stimulated growth of daughter bulbs
- shorten lifespan of cut flowers
- inhibit development of immature (unopened) flower buds
Ranking the sensitivity of various cut flowers to ethylene gas:
- not very sensitive: Tulips, Daffodils
- moderately sensitive: Lilies, Freesias, Agapanthus, Alstromeria, Anemone, Dahlia, Eremurus, Gladiolus, Dutch Iris, Nerine
- especially sensitive: Carnations (most sensitive of all)
Factors that may determine effects of ethylene exposure:
- ventilation, exposure
- a particular cultivar’s sensitivity factor (each cultivar reacts differently)
- the stage of development of the flower, plant or bulb