Reduced End-of-production Fertilization Rate Increased Postproduction Shelf Life of Containerized Vegetative Annuals Academic Article uri icon


  • Twenty-one cultivars of vegetative annuals were treated with 0%, 50%, or 100% of the production fertilization rate of 300 mgL1 N starting 2 weeks before and continuing until harvest. At harvest, plant width, flower number, and quality rating were measured. The plants were then placed in a simulated interior environment where flower number was counted and quality rating was assigned to each plant weekly for 3 weeks. Overall, 14% of the cultivars maintained a marketable quality (i.e., quality rating of 3.0 of 5) for 3 weeks, 43% for 2 weeks, 38% for 1 week, and one cultivar did not maintain quality during the postharvest evaluation. Reduced end-of-production fertilization rate (EPFR) resulted in higher quality ratings for at least one additional week of simulated shelf life for three cultivars, including Dreamtime Copper bracteantha (Bracteantha bracteata), Vanilla Sachet nemesia (Nemesia hybrida), and Bridal Showers sutera (Sutera hybrida). Comet White and Sunlight argyranthemum (Argyranthemum frutescens) retained flowers an additional 2 weeks and Caritas Lavender angelonia (Angelonia angustifolia), Dreamtime Copper bracteantha, Liricashowers Deep Blue Imp. and Starlette Trailing Purple calibrachoa (Calibrachoa hybrid), Vanilla Sachet nemesia, Cascadias Pink petunia (Petunia hybrida), and Bridal Showers sutera retained flowers an additional 1 week when treated with 0% compared with 50% or 100% EPFR. Four cultivars had decreased plant width at harvest with 0% EPFR. These results indicate that reducing fertilization 2 weeks before harvest can prolong shelf life of some vegetative annuals. Differences in the length of shelf life and responses to reduced EPFR occurred among cultivars of all the affected species. Reduced EPFR did not increase the shelf life of two species, including diascia (Diascia hybrida) and lantana (Lantana camara).

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Beach, S. E., Starman, T. W., Eixmann, K. L., Pemberton, H. B., & Hcinz, K. M.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Beach, Shannon E||Starman, Terri W||Eixmann, Kristen L||Pemberton, H Brent||Hcinz, Kevin M

publication date

  • January 2009