Postharvest decline symptoms after simulated shipping and during shelf life of 21 cultivars of vegetative annuals Academic Article uri icon


  • Twenty-one cultivars from nine species of vegetative annuals were grown under optimum greenhouse production practices until maturity. At harvest, they were subjected to 0, 1, or 2 days of simulated shipping. After shipping, plants were rated for quality, and flower abscission was counted postship and weekly for 3 weeks in a simulated retail environment. There were few decreases in flower number and quality directly postship, but decline symptoms became evident as time lapsed in the postharvest environment. Flower abscission resulting from increased shipping duration occurred on Sun Chimes Coral diascia (Diascia hybrida) and Aromatica White nemesia (Nemesia hybrida). During the postharvest evaluation, Dreamtime Copper bracteantha (Bracteantha bracteata), Superbells Trailing Blue calibrachoa (Calibrachoa hybrid), Aromatica White nemesia, and Candy Floss Blue sutera (Sutera cordata) were the only cultivars to abscise all flowers (<0.4 flowers) by the end of the first week. Five cultivars still had flowers at termination of the experiment. Of these five, four were bracteantha cultivars including Florabella White, Florabella Gold, Dreamtime Cream, and Sundaze Golden Yellow, and Cascadias Pink petunia. After 2 weeks postharvest, 12 of the 21 cultivars that were shipped 1 or 2 days did not have a high enough quality rating (<3.0 points) to be considered marketable. Each species in this study had one or two postharvest decline symptoms common to all cultivars of that species. However, cultivars within species also varied in their postharvest decline symptoms and longevity. More optimum environmental conditions, better care, and faster turnover in the retail market are needed to improve shelf life of vegetative annuals sold in containers.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Starman, T. W., Beach, S. E., & Eixmann, K. L.

citation count

  • 11

complete list of authors

  • Starman, Terri W||Beach, Shannon E||Eixmann, Kristen L

publication date

  • January 2007