The demand for large-headed spray roses has increased considerably in the past two years. That’s good news for spray rose breeders and growers. However, florists and consumers can enjoy so much more of this trendy product: research reveals a simple trick to prolong the vase life of spray roses by 30%! Here's how your high-quality spray roses will be stronger and prettier.
Investigation by Interplant
Worldwide renowned breeding company Interplant Roses recently asked an independent company to conduct a qualitative study among florists and traders. The purpose was to investigate the impact of the cutting stage of spray roses on their vase life. By running these tests and sharing the results, Interplant Roses wants to improve both the understanding of the product with florists and enhance the consumer experience and perception of spray roses.
Spray roses are harvested mainly according to the prescribed auction regulations. In general, Dutch auctions divide the offer at their sales platforms and at the clocks into 5 stages of maturity. These correspond with the cutting stages of growers. • 1 = flower is raw, closed • 2 = flower is slightly open • 3 = flower starts blooming • 4 = flower is clearly open, but not fully. • 5 = flower is fully open You can imagine that some flowers are harvested and sold at cutting stage 5, like anthurium, gerbera, and many spray chrysants. Other flowers need to be cut in a less mature stage, so they will bloom further from there.
The Interplant Research Department carried out various vase life tests in cooperation with external advisors as they suspected that spray roses are harvested too early. This study tested the vase life of spray roses when harvested at different cut stages. Results show when spray roses are harvested at cutting stage 3 (CS3), vase life improves by up to a staggering 30%, in comparison with other cut stages. That is an astonishing result. Furthermore, the flowers have a better opening and the percentage of drooping necks reduces considerably, provided that bacteria-free and clean water is being us. This finding is extremely important for the entire spray rose chain, from grower to consumer.
An Independent Qualitative Study
At the end of 2018, Interplant Roses requested an independent company to conduct a qualitative study among florists and traders. “We were interested in understanding the perception of traders and florists regarding the quality of spray roses, especially since the demand for large-headed spray roses has increased”, says Robert Ilsink, CEO of Interplant Roses. The research findings by the Dutch marketing bureau Concept Factory showed that the flower is loved by all but there were issues with the vase life. This motivated Interplant Roses to increase its research activities. Over the following months, evaluations were held with auctioneers, growers, fellow breeders, growing consultants, traders, and other relevant parties. Menno Nan, auctioneer at Royal FloraHolland: “the outcome of the research was surprising yet simple. Tests clearly show the improvement of vase life when the right cut stage is maintained.”
As said before, spray roses are harvested mainly according to the prescribed auction regulations. “Our Interplant research department carried out various vase life tests in cooperation with FlowerWatch as we suspected that spray roses are harvested too early” according to Robert Ilsink. The vase life tests were performed using different types of spray roses, ranging from regular to Trendsetter and Flow spray roses. Several cut stages were tested per variety under identical conditions (picture 1). It became apparent that the initial cut stage had a large influence on key factors such as flower opening. The graphic below makes it clear that cutting more open (cutting stage 3) extends the vase life significantly and gives a better blooming stage (up to 4.5) in the end. In short: more and longer floral pleasure.
Investing in Finding the Right Stage
Growers should invest time and effort in finding the right cutting stage for each rose variety. Growers like Voorn Spray Roses are already ahead with this, as you can read in their article about this on Thursd. The opening of buds largely depends on the availability of sugars in the cut flowering stems. When harvested too tight, for instance at cut stage 2, there is insufficient energy in the stem to support the opening of the buds and subsequent flowering. As a result, the consumer gets a below-standard product that does not fully open and does not obtain the optimal vase life. The research by all parties involved indicates, that harvesting more open increases the vase life of large-headed spray roses by up to 30%. In addition, harvesting more open has a positive impact on the opening of the blooms and diminishes the percentage of drooping necks significantly. Varieties with a lower petal number were less affected by a tight cut stage and showed less variation in vase life. Jeroen van der Hulst, managing director of FlowerWatch: “For the research assignment we tested around 150 bunches of roses with different cutting stages of 50 varieties during a month. The impact on the vase life when harvested more open is amazing. It is very clear that growers should invest in finding the right cutting stage for each rose variety and not be afraid to harvest large-headed spray roses more open.”
The outcome of our research was simple yet astonishing: vase life is improved when the right cut stage is maintained. Research reveals a simple trick to prolong the vase life of spray roses by 30%! Time to share this with florists, growers, and traders! As a follow-up of the investigation, Interplant Roses has visited important traders and auctioneers to inform and discuss the outcome of the tests. Of course, it is very important that the florists are well aware of this too, and make the right choices when purchasing spray roses. Here lies an important task for the wholesalers. After all, selling spray roses with the right cut stage creates a win-win situation for all of us in the chain. Interplant is convinced that the investment of time and effort into this research will pay itself back in every way. Robert Ilsink concludes: “Together we are responsible to provide a great consumer experience and improving sales.”