Harvesting spray roses at the right maturity stage can extend their shelf life by up to 30 per cent

HARMELEN, Netherlands: Dutch rose breeder Interplant Roses, recently investigated the impact that the cut stage of spray roses has on the flowers vase life. By running these tests and sharing the results, Interplant Roses wants to improve florists’ understanding and experience and consumer perception of spray roses.

Their research department tested the vase life of spray roses when harvested at different cut stages. Results show when spray roses are harvested at cut stage 3 (CS3), vase life improves by up to 30%, in comparison with other cut stages. Furthermore, the flowers have a better opening and the percentage of drooping necks reduces considerably, provided that bacteria-free and clean water is being used. This finding is extremely important for the entire spray rose chain, from grower to consumer.

At the end of 2018, Interplant Roses requested an independent company to conduct a qualitative study among florists and traders. “We were interested in understanding the perception of traders and florists regarding the quality of spray roses, especially since the demand for large-headed spray roses has increased,” says Robert Ilsink, CEO of Interplant Roses. The researched findings by Concept Factory, showed that the flower is loved by all but issues are experienced with vase life. This motivated Interplant Roses to increase its research activities.

Over the following months, evaluations were held with auctioneers, growers, fellow breeders, growing consultants, traders and other relevant parties. Menno Nan of Royal FloraHolland says, “The outcome of the research was surprising yet simple. Tests clearly show the improvement of vase life when the right cut stage is maintained.”

Spray roses are harvested mainly according to the prescribed auction regulations. “Our Interplant research department carried out various vase life tests in cooperation with FlowerWatch as we suspected that spray roses are harvested too early,” according to Robert Ilsink.

The vase life tests were performed using different types of spray roses, ranging from regular to Trendsetter and Flow spray roses. Several cut stages were tested per variety under identical conditions. It became apparent that the initial cut stage had a large influence on key factors such as flower opening.

Growers should invest in finding the right cutting stage for each rose variety. The opening of buds largely depends on the availability of sugars in the cut flowering stems. When harvested too tight, for instance at cut stage 2, there is insufficient energy in the stem to support the opening of the buds and subsequent flowering. As a result, the consumer gets a below standard product that does not fully open and does not obtain the optimal vase life.

The research by all parties involved indicates, that harvesting more open increases vase life of large-headed spray roses up to 30%. In addition, harvesting more open has a positive impact on the opening of the blooms and diminishes the percentage of drooping necks significantly.

Varieties with a lower petal number were less affected by a tight cut stage and showed less variation in vase life. Jeroen van der Hulst, Flower Watch: “For the research assignment we tested around 150 bunches of roses with different cutting stages of 50 varieties during a month. The impact on the vase life when harvested more open is amazing. It is very clear that growers should invest in finding the right cutting stage for each rose variety and not be afraid to harvest large-headed spray roses more open.”

Interplant is positive that these results will help in further research as the company continues to focus on extending the vase life of spray roses. In the coming months, Interplant Roses will visit important traders and auctioneers to inform and discuss the outcome of these tests. Of course, it is very important that the florists are well aware of this too and make the right choices when purchasing spray roses. Here lies an important task for the wholesalers. Hoven De Mooij: “Selling spray roses with the right cut stage creates a win-win situation for all of us in the chain”. Interplant is convinced that the investment of time and effort into this research will pay itself back in every way. Ilsink: “Together, we’re responsible to provide great consumer experience and to improve sales”.

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