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Janowska, B.;  Andrzejak, R. PGRs Improve Post-Harvest Longevity of Florists’ Greens. Encyclopedia. Available online: https://encyclopedia.pub/entry/26880 (accessed on 19 June 2024).
Janowska B,  Andrzejak R. PGRs Improve Post-Harvest Longevity of Florists’ Greens. Encyclopedia. Available at: https://encyclopedia.pub/entry/26880. Accessed June 19, 2024.
Janowska, Beata, Roman Andrzejak. "PGRs Improve Post-Harvest Longevity of Florists’ Greens" Encyclopedia, https://encyclopedia.pub/entry/26880 (accessed June 19, 2024).
Janowska, B., & Andrzejak, R. (2022, September 05). PGRs Improve Post-Harvest Longevity of Florists’ Greens. In Encyclopedia. https://encyclopedia.pub/entry/26880
Janowska, Beata and Roman Andrzejak. "PGRs Improve Post-Harvest Longevity of Florists’ Greens." Encyclopedia. Web. 05 September, 2022.
PGRs Improve Post-Harvest Longevity of Florists’ Greens
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Florists’ greens are a very important element of floral compositions, and their vase life must match that of the flowers. Florists’ greens include foliage, the leafy and non-leafy stems of herbaceous plants, trees, bushes, and phylloclades. The post-harvest longevity of florists’ greens is influenced by genetics. Also strongly affected by the growing conditions and the conditions of the transport of the florists’ greens and the conditions when supplying them to markets are also significant. Moreover, florists’ greens are not supplied with growth regulators, which play a critical role in their ageing process. The cytokinins (CKs) and gobberellins (GAs) are considered to be inhibitors of ageing; however, unfortunately, their content in plant tissues decreases during the progressive ageing process, while the amount of plant growth regulators (PGRs) that accelerate ageing increases.

longevity florists’ greens 8HQC 8HQS GAs CKs

1. Introduction

‘Florists’ greens’ is a conventional term that describes all of the bouquet additions that are used in modern floristry. Florists’ greens include foliage, the leafy and non-leafy stems of herbaceous plants, trees, bushes, and phylloclades. It is often the case that florists’ greens extend to the fruiting and flowering shoots that end in inflorescences consisting of small flowers [1][2][3]. The commercially available florists’ greens include species that are grown under cover, such as in greenhouses and polytunnels, for cut flowers and as potted plants for indoor decoration. Annual and perennial outdoor plants are also frequently grown because their cultivation cost is much lower [1][2][3][4]. The post-harvest longevity of florists’ greens is influenced by genetics [1]. Of the species that are grown in greenhouses, those with leathery, succulent, or waxy cuticle-covered leaves are particularly durable, such as those that are found in the following species: Anthurium cultorumZantedeschia sp., Hippeastrum sp., Spatiphyllum sp., Monstera deliciosaPhilodendron selloum, and Syngonium podophyllum. The species with colorful leaves, including Cordyline terminalis and C. fruticosa, are becoming increasingly important in this regard. Phylloclades are particularly durable. They have modified lateral shoots that resemble the structure of true leaves and perform their functions, such as those that are found in Ruscus sp. and Asparagus sp. In a dry environment, they are less likely to lose water through transpiration, and it is this negative water balance that is created by the loss of moisture from the leaf blades, or by the blockage of the conducting vessels preventing water uptake, that is the most important reason for the ageing of florists’ greens [5][6][7]. Among garden perennials, the leaves of Hosta sp., Heuchera sp., Bergenia cordifoliaPaeonia sp., Stachys lanataVinca majorPulmonaria saccharataDictamnus albus, and Astilbe x arendsii stand out for their good longevity. When it comes to annual plants, Molucella laevis and Bupleurum griffithii are widely cultivated. In the case of these species, entire shoots are used [7].
Yellowing, drooping, wilting, or withering leads to the loss of the ornamental value of the florists’ greens, which have great variation among species and cultivars in terms of the post-harvest longevity, the resistance to transport conditions, and the storability [6][8]. Florists’ greens are divided into three groups based on their storability [6]. The first group includes fern species of the CyrtomiumPolystichum, and Anturium cultorum genera [6][9], as well as Ruscus [6][10], which can be stored more than 3 weeks. The second group covers species of the Asparagus and Pteris cretica genera, which can be stored for 2–3 weeks. The last group includes species that can be stored for 10–14 days, such as Asparagus virigatus, as well as Nepfrolepis exaltata, and its cultivars [6].
The post-harvest longevity of florists’ greens is strongly affected by the growing conditions—the more they match the requirements of each species, the better the longevity will be [5]. The conditions of transporting florists’ greens and the conditions when supplying them to markets are also significant. Dry transport exacerbates the water stress that is initiated when the leaves and the leafy shoots are cut from the parent plants [1]. Moreover, florists’ greens are not supplied with growth regulators, which play a critical role in their ageing process [5][6]. Cytokinins (CKs) and gibberellins (GAs) are considered to be ageing inhibitors; however, unfortunately, their content in the plant tissues decreases during the progressive ageing process, while the levels of the regulators that accelerate the ageing process—ethylene, salicylic acid (SA), brassinosteroids (BR), abscisic acid (ABA), and jasmonic acid (JA)—increase [11]. In ageing leaf cells, membrane-damaging enzymes become active [2], proteolysis [12][13] and the breakdown of chlorophyll accelerates [1][6][10], and free radicals are produced in large quantities in the cells, destroying the cell components [14]. The production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) is one of the earliest responses of plant cells to ageing [15][16]. The ROS are formed as by-products of the aerobic energy metabolism, as well as from plant exposure to various biotic and abiotic stresses [17][18][19]. Under normal conditions, the ROS production in cells is kept low by the antioxidant enzymes. This balance can be disrupted by antioxidant depletion or the excessive accumulation of ROS, leading to oxidative stress, and resulting in damage to cellular macromolecules and membranes, as well as increased lipid peroxidation [20][21]. One of the most important ROS is hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), due to its relative stability and its ability to diffuse through membranes. H2O2 plays an important role during ageing, as it is a signal molecule of the ageing process. Its accumulation is indicative of oxidative stress [22].
A decrease in the chlorophyll content is the first visual symptom of leaf ageing [23][24]. The accompanying degradation of proteins, due to the increased proteolytic enzyme activity [25], results in the accumulation of ammonium and free amino acids, including free proline, which maintains the osmotic balance between the cytoplasm and the vacuole, and affects the protein structure and synthesis [24][26][27]. Delaying proteolysis is fundamental to slowing down ageing. Specific endo- and exo-proteases hydrolyze the peptide bonds that release the amino acids. The final products of hydrolysis, including ammonia (NH3), are dangerous to the cells, therefore, they are converted into less toxic forms, such as amides, which are also easier to transport [28]. The protein and RNA degradation, on the other hand, coincide with the loss of photosynthetic activity, due to chlorophyll breakdown [23].

2. Harvest and Pre-Treatment of Florists’ Greens

The healthy and undamaged leaves or shoots are cut early in the morning, due to the good tissue turgor pressure [6][7][8][29][30], or before the evening, due to the accumulation of assimilates in the tissues. It is advisable to cut the fully mature, undamaged leaves. Cutting the young leaves is not advisable, as they do not maintain their ornamental value for long after cutting [7].
Immediately after harvesting, florists’ greens should be placed into containers with water or should be conditioned and cooled [6][7][8]. The temperature for cooling, storing, and transporting the florists’ greens is species-dependent. Most of the species of florists’ greens prefer a temperature range of 2–4 °C. However, a temperature of at least 7 °C must be ensured for topical plant species at all of the stages of marketing [6][7].
The conditioning of the florists’ greens is a treatment that is carried out by the producer of the plants. It prevents water loss from the tissues, protects against the damaging effects of ethylene, inhibits the growth of microorganisms, and prevents the tissues from losing too many reserves [7][31]. Cooling the leaves of perennials at 4 °C immediately after cutting has, in most cases, a beneficial effect on their longevity in compositions. At the same time, these leaves should be kept in water for at least 12 h in order to ensure their better condition and a longer post-harvest longevity (Bergenia and Dictamnus). For outdoor ferns, however, it is better to place the ends of the petioles into boiling water (for up to 10 s) [7]. The conditioning takes 4–24 h. Short conditioning (4 h) takes place at 18–20 °C, while long conditioning (24 h) is carried out in a freezer at 4–5 °C [31]. There was an attempt to use a standard cut flower medium containing 2% sucrose and hydroxyquinoline esters—sulphate or citrate (8HQS and 8HQC)—at a concentration of 200 mg·dm–3 in order to condition the florists’ greens, however it was not shown to have a positive effect on the florists’ greens of most species (Table 1Figure 1) [3][7][32][33].
Figure 1. Leaves of Zantedeschia elliottiana ‘Black Magic’. (A) control (B) conditioned in GA3 at a concentration of 300 mg dm−3 and stored in 8HQC.
Table 1. Vase life of florists’ greens after the application of 8HQC + 2% sucrose.
Species Vase Life (Days) Effect of the Preservative Source
In H2O In 8HQC + Sucrose
Adiantum hispidulum 15 13 - Skutnik [7]
Adiantum tenerum 15 3 - Skutnik [7]
Areca lutescens 10 13 + Skutnik [7]
Arum italicum 15.5 14.5 (in 8HQS) 0 Janowska and Schroeter-Zakrzewska [33]
Asparagus densiflorus ‘Sprengeri’ 16 15 0 Skutnik [7]
Asparagus falcatus 16 25 + Skutnik [7]
Asparagus setaceus 38 24 - Skutnik [7]
Asparagus virgatus 25 38 + Skutnik [7]
Cyclamen persicum 41 29 - Skutnik [7]
Eucalyptus cinerei 15 16 0 Skutnik [7]
Hippeastrum × hybridum 10 10 0 Skutnik [7]
Hosta plantaginea 10 6 - Skutnik [7]
Hypericum calycinum 50 35 - Skutnik [7]
Hypericum inodorum‘Magical Beauty’ 11 18.8 (conditioning in 8HQS/17.8 (holding solution in 8HQS) + Janowska and Śmigielska [3]
Molucella laevis with/without leaves 20/20 10/17   Skutnik [7]
Nephrolepis cordifolia 16 18 0 Skutnik [7]
N. exaltata 23 22 0 Skutnik [7]
Paeonia lactiflora 21 14 - Skutnik [7]
Pteris cretica 13 20 + Skutnik [7]
Pulmonaria saccharata 5 4 - Skutnik [7]
Zantedeschia aethipica 17 8 - Skutnik [7]
Zantedeschia elliottiana‘Florex Gold’ 10.3 6.1 (in 8HQC)/6.2 (in 8HQS) - Janowska and Jerzy [32]

3. Growth Regulators and Post-Harvest Longevity of Florists’ Greens

Research into the post-harvest longevity of florists’ greens started quite late, i.e., at the beginning of the last century. It can be linked to the increasing importance of green plant additions in floral compositions. As the ageing process of the florists’ greens is different to that of the flowers, in most cases the same measures that are used for the flowers cannot be used for them [29][34]. International research is focusing on the use of growth regulators in the post-harvest treatment of florists’ greens. Their effectiveness has been shown to depend on the species, the cultivar, the concentration, and the method of application, therefore, there is no ready-made recipe that can be used for all of the species and all recommendations must be backed up by research. The growth regulators from the group of CKs and GAs are used in order to conditioning the florists’ greens [1][3][4][6][8][11][29][30][31][32][34][35][36]. The most important GA is gibberellic acid (GA3). Of the CKs, benzyladenine (BA), which is a synthetic CK, is the most commonly used growth regulator. Few studies to date point to the possibility of using topolines (Ts) [1][28][37] and ionic liquids [1][38] in order to extend the post-harvest longevity of florists’ greens (Table 2).
Table 2. Growth regulators that are used to extend the vase life of florists’ greens.
Species Growth Regulator Concentration Source
Alchemilla mollis BA 25 mg·dm−3 Janowska et al. [29]
GA3 25 and 50 mg·dm−3
MemT and MemTR 75 mg·dm−3
Arum italicum GA3 100 mg·dm−3 Janowska [8], Janowska and Schroeter-Zakrzewska [33]
Asparagus densiflorus ‘Myriocladus’ GA3 0.25 mmol·dm−3 (pulsing) Skutnik et al. [39]
  1 mmol·dm−3(dipping)
BA 0.1 mmol·dm−3 (pulsing)
  1 mmol·dm−3(dipping)
Asparagus falcatus BA 0.1 and 1 mmol·dm−3 Skutnik and Rabiza-Świder [40]
GA3 1 mmol·dm−3
Asparagus setaceus BA 0.1 mmol·dm−3 (pulsing) Skutnik et al. [41]
1 mmol·dm−3(dipping)
Asparagus umbellatus BA 50 and 250 mg·dm−3 Pogroszewska and Woźniacki [42]
Campsi radicans GA3 500 mg·dm−3 (dipping) Pogroszewska and Woźniacki [42]
BA 50 mg·dm−3 (conditioning)
Cimicifuga racemosa GA3 500 mg·dm−3 (dipping) Pogroszewska and Woźniacki [42]
BA 250 mg·dm−3 (dipping)
Codieum variegatum GA3
BA
250 mg·dm−3 (conditioning)
50 mg·dm−3 (conditioning)
250 mg·dm−3 (dipping)
Pogroszewska and Woźniacki [42]
Convallaria majalis GA3, [Q-C2][Gib], [Gib][Ach], [Chol][Gib], [Q-C12][Gib] 50 and 100 mg·dm−3 Szymaniak et al. [38]
Cordyline ‘Glauca’ BA, GA3 1 mmol·dm−3 Koziara and Suda [43]
Dieffenbachia sp. GA3 1 mM Koziara i Sikora [41]
Geranium platypetalum GA3 25 and 50 mg·dm−3 Janowska et al. [31]
Hedera helix GA3
BA
250 mg·dm−3 (conditioning)
500 mg·dm−3 (dipping)
50 mg·dm−3 (conditioning)
250 mg·dm−3 (dipping)
Pogroszewska and Woźniacki [42]
Hemerocallis × hybrida ‘Agata’ MemT, MemTR
[Q-C2][Gib]
[Gib][Ach], [Chol][Gib],
[Q-C12][Gib]
50 and 100 mg·dm−3
100 mg·dm−3
50 and 100 mg·dm−3
Janowska et al. [1]
Heuchera hybrida ‘Chocolate Ruffles’ BA
MemT
MemTR
50 and 100 mg·dm−3 Janowska et al. [1]
×Heucherella
‘Solar Power’ and ‘Kimono’
BA 100, 300, and 600 mg·dm−3 Janowska et al. [30]
Hosta ‘Golden Tiara’, ‘Minima Glauca’ and ‘Crispula’ BA
GA3
0.1 mmol·dm−3
0.25 mmol·dm−3
Rabiza-Świder et al. [44]
Limonium latifolium [Gib][Ach]
[Q-C12][Gib]
GA3, BA, MemT,
MemTR
50 and 100 mg·dm−3
100 mg·dm−3
25, 50, and 75 mg·dm−3
Janowska et al. [1]
Janowska et al. [37]
Monstera deliciosa GA3 25 and 50 mg·dm−3 Farahat and Gaber [45]
Schefflera arboricola GA3
BA
250 mg·dm−3 (conditioning)
500 mg·dm−3 (dipping)
50 mg·dm−3 (conditioning)
250 mg·dm−3 (dipping)
Pogroszewska and Woźniacki [42]
Spathiphyllum wallisii GA3
BA
0.25 and 1 mM
0.1 and 1 mM
Koziara i Sikora [41]
Spathiphyllum wallisii ‘Castor’ GA3
BA
250 mg·dm−3 (conditioning)
500 mg·dm−3 (dipping)
50 mg·dm−3 (conditioning)
250 mg·dm−3 (dipping)
Pogroszewska and Woźniacki [42]
Thalictrum aquilegifolium BA 50 mg·dm−3 (conditioning)
250 mg·dm−3 (dipping)
Pogroszewska and Woźniacki [42]
Zantedeschia aethiopica BA
GA3
0.1 mM
0.25 and 1 mM
Skutnik et al. [34]
Zantedeschia albomaculata
‘Black Eyed Beauty’
‘Albomaculata’
GA3
Memt, MemTR
50 and 100 mg·dm−3
25, 50, and 75 mg·dm−3
Janowska and Stanecka [35]
Janowska et al. [36]
Zantedeschia elliottiana
‘Florex Gold’
‘Black Magic’
GA3 200 and 300 mg·dm−3
100, 200, and 300 mg·dm−3
Janowska and Jerzy [32]
Zantedeschia sp. ‘Sunglow’ GA3 400 mg·dm−3 Janowska and Stanecka [35]

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