Harvest stage – The best stage in which to harvest depends on variety. Some varieties are cut,when the petals are just beginning to unfold and show color, while others are harvested when more open. Harvesting at a tighter stage may be necessary if flowers are going to be stored dry, but flower food must be used following storage to assure proper opening and maintenance of flower color. For best postharvest performance, growers must identify the harvest stage for each variety grown.
Peony flowers are prone to wilting so getting flowers into the cooler rapidly is critical. Flowers should be stored cold at 33° – 35° F (1 - 3° C) and at a humidity of 80 – 85%. Higher humidity levels should be avoided to minimize Botrytis.
In most cases, the use of Floralife® HydraFlor® Clear ULTRA 100 is best, provided flowers are not going to be stored. Supplemental sugar provided by Floralife® Clear (ULTRA) 200, Floralife® Express Clear (ULTRA) 200 or Floralife® 200 eZ Dose® is important for flowers that are stored.
Peony flowers are sensitive to Botrytis infection. Production fields should be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized between crops to prevent a carry-over of Botrytis spores from one crop to the next. Following harvest, humidity levels of 90% or higher should be avoided. The use of Floralife® Transport paper during shipping will help to reduce the incidence of Botrytis.
Most Peony varieties do not exhibit a sensitivity to ethylene.
Receipt of Flowers
Flowers should be inspected for insects and diseases upon receipt and immediately processed placed into a cooler at 33° – 35° F (1 – 3° C) at 80 – 85% humidity. At retail, removal of the plastic sleeves may help to reduce Botrytis since sleeves may maintain condensation and high humidity that promotes the growth of Botrytis.
Peony flowers require sugar to maintain flower color and extend vase life. Properly mixed by Floralife® Clear (ULTRA) 200, Floralife® Express Clear (ULTRA) 200 or Floralife® 200 eZ Dose® should be used following the recutting of stems. Use of clean buckets with cold water is highly recommended. Ideally, flowers should be processed quickly upon arrival, and placed in the cooler for 2 – 4 hours or overnight.
Considering the need for sugar by Peony flowers, it is recommended that customers receive a packet of flower food and all arrangements be made with Floralife® Clear 300.
Browning of petals
Can be caused by Botrytis infection. Keeping flowers cold and avoiding humidity levels above 90% will help to minimize the incidence of Botrytis. Sanitation and cleanliness of coolers, cutting tools, tables and floors using Floralife® D.C.D.® or Floralife® Cleaner Plus at the grower, wholesaler and retailer levels are critical for effective Botrytis control.
Failure of flowers to open
Flowers may not open properly if they were harvested too tight, stored too long or not provided with flower food solutions
Numerous studies with Peony flowers have shown that flower color fades if the flowers are not provided flower food (sugar).