26 Jul 2010

Want a Long Lasting bouquet? Don’t Mix Fruit With Fresh-Cut Flowers – Ethylene Shortens Flower Shelf-life

[One of my constructions using Ti leaves, rocks, bamboo, wheat grass, dendrobium and horsetail.]

Not everyone knows that if you want your cut flowers to last, you should keep them away from ripening fruit, especially apples and bananas.  Artists and grocers love to combine cut flowers and ripe fruit for aesthetics, but if you’re one for practicality, and are trying to get the best value out of your cut flowers, keep them far away from ripening fruit because ethylene, a plant hormone and bi-product from ripening fruit, will radically shorten the shelf-life of flowers.

As with anything there are exceptions, and one exception is if you are using the fruit as an element in the design, such as using a melon for a container, or if you know that a particular flower has been cultivated specifically to resist ethylene (right now, this is rare, but there may be more cultivars in the future).  I would stick to tropical flowers if using a fruit container, since many tropicals are not sensitive to ethylene.

Here are a list of flowers I’ve collected that are not or are minimally affected by ethylene:

  • Anthurium,
  • Aster,
  • Callas,
  • Chrysanthemum,
  • Dendrobium,
  • Gerbera daisy,
  • Ginger,
  • Heliconia (Parrot Flower),
  • Iris,
  • Liatris,
  • Protea,
  • Snapdragon (some cultivars are ethylene resistant, most are not resistant),
  • Strelitzia (Bird of Paradise)

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