Postharvest ornamentals

Flower & plant quality is a major consumer sales argument. Wageningen Food & Biobased Research has been researching the quality of ornamental horticulture chain products for over 20 years.

The three main aspects to ensure that consumers are offered good quality ornamental horticulture products are good-quality seed material, transport in optimal conditions, and proper processing upon arrival. Good seed material is part of the preparations for the sometimes long road from producer to consumer. After harvesting, flowers and plants are prepared for transport by methods such as pre-cooling, the addition of water and protection against the bacteria and fungi they may encounter on the way. Wageningen Food & Biobased Research is developing various methods and protocols to achieve the best possible transportation of ornamental horticulture products while maintaining quality and durability.

Optimal transport conditions

Optimal transport conditions can vary greatly for the different groups of ornamental horticulture products such as flowers, plants, bulbs, cuttings, seedlings and trees. The principle is to transport flowers at low temperatures and plants at moderate temperatures. But what are the exceptions? How long can specific varieties be transported? Are there opportunities in controlled atmosphere (CA) transport? What type of packaging best suits the ornamental horticulture chain? Which plants can be packaged in such a way that they can manage their own climate? How can you protect them from fungi? Wageningen Food & Biobased Research has a wealth of knowledge and experience in-house to answer these questions and more, while continuing to search for innovations that will benefit the ornamental horticulture sector.

Quality and durability

Consumers only purchase flowers and plants of a good quality that will last a long while. This requires another major step in the chain after transport over air, sea, road or rail: The processing of ornamental horticulture products once they arrive. Wageningen Food & Biobased Research is performing research into the proper processing of flowers and plants to allow the ornamental horticulture products to recover from their journey, and ensure that consumers are happy with the selection. Examples include Dutch tulips that bring the spring to New York as early as January; partly due to the expertise of Wageningen Food & Biobased Research in relation to optimal transportation over sea and a proper procedure upon arrival. Knowledge from and research by Wageningen Food & Biobased Research is also why consumers in the Netherlands can enjoy flowers and plants from both the Dutch Westland region and South America.