Challenges of specialty cut flowers

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Across the United States and Canada, demand for local specialty cut flowers is increasing, and production has correspondingly jumped.

To accurately assess the needs of the industry, John Dole, Cristian Loyola and Rebecca Dunning electronically surveyed 1098 cut flower producers and handlers regarding their cut flower production and postharvest problems, and customer issues.

The results were analyzed and are detailed in the article, North American Specialty Cut Flower Production and Postharvest Survey, as found in open access journal HortTechnology.

This research effort determined the nature of production and postharvest issues and provides a guide for how to best address them.

Results

Analysis showed that the main perceived production problem was insect management. Crop timing proved to be the second-most important problem, and disease management was ranked third.

Crop timing encompasses a range of related issues, such as determining the correct harvest stage, harvest windows that are too short, flowering all at once or lack of control of when the crop is ready to harvest.

The main postharvest problems were temperature management, hydration and flower food management. Regarding on-farm postharvest handling, hydration and vase life were the two most mentioned issues.

For postharvest storage and transport, damage and hydration were the most commonly reported issues.

The survey results will allow researchers and businesses to focus on the major cut flower production and postharvest issues, and on crops that are most in need of improvement in North America.

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