COLD STORAGE AND TRANSPORTATION CONDITIONS FOR CUT FLOWERS CUTTINGS AND POTTED PLANTS.

R. M. Rudnicki, J. Nowak, Danuta M. Goszczynska
The use of cold in ornamental and floriculture plant production is almost as old as the entire ornamental horticulture industry. In the first half of this century most of small floriculture farms were located near or within the urbanized area, close to marketing centers, and to potential consumers. At that time little attention was paid to vase-life, storage conditions and transportation methods of cut flowers and potted plants, although quite a lot of research was conducted toward post-harvest preservation of fruit and vegetables. A steady development of floriculture industry, specialisation of growers in the production of particular species as well as a great concentration of cultivation areas led to developing free markets for flowers, in large cities and urbanized centers. All of these changes created a temporary overproduction of flowers and great losses of the produced commodities. In order to limit these losses growers and scientists initiated the research toward the elaboration of suitable methods for the preservation of flowers after harvest and for their long distance transportation to marketing centers. They soon found low temperature treatment to be the most important factor enabling the preservation of freshly cut flowers for days and even weeks without a great loss of their quality. In the next step the cold has been used in refrigerated trucks and containers applied for long distance transportation of floriculture plants.

The energy crisis which occurred in the early 70s resulted in a great shift in cultivation areas for floriculture plants from relatively cold climates in the northern sphere toward warmer climates. Thus, new production areas were created in countries which hadn't had any tradition in the commercial production of flowers eg. Columbia, Israel, Mexico, Kenya. This shift concerned mainly the plants requiring high temperatures during the cultivation in the greenhouse and long periods of growth. The increasing costs of air transportation forced many growers, wholesalers and exporting companies to use widely truck transportation and containerized transportation of flowers overseas by merchant ships. This, in turn, required new methods for handling flowers after harvest, as well as during and after transportation.

Crucial progress in post-harvest handling of cut flowers and potted plants has been achieved during the last 20 years. The idea of "the chain of life" (Staby et al., 1978) was introduced to the floricultural industry in USA and Canada. The idea was based on the refigeration of cut flowers and other commodities starting from the harvest, through storage, grading, packing, transportation until the final florist's shop. The optimum temperature and the optimum length for the storage and transportation periods have been determined for various flowers in order to preserve an overall quality. New methods of cut flowers and potted plants packing, precooling, and appropriate transportation systems have been discovered and introduced to the practice. Also the industry has developed new storage procedures for cut flowers, cuttings and potted plants. All of these achievements have created new production and marketing opportunities for growers, wholesalers and exporters. Improved methods of storage and transportation allowed for a better adjustment of flowers supply to the requirements of the market and to a great extent eliminated flower losses.

Rudnicki, R. M., Nowak, J. and Goszczynska, Danuta M. (1991). COLD STORAGE AND TRANSPORTATION CONDITIONS FOR CUT FLOWERS CUTTINGS AND POTTED PLANTS.. Acta Hortic. 298, 225-236
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.1991.298.27
https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.1991.298.27

Acta Horticulturae