Scientific name and introduction
Bouvardia spp. Bouvardia flowers are a relatively recent addition to the florist’s palette. Their bright salmon, red, and white colour range and interesting flower form offer interesting design possibilities.
Quality characteristics and criteria
Bouvardia flowers are normally harvested with two to three outer flowers open. Purchase when one or two flowers are open on each stem. Avoid flowers that have yellowed foliage, or are showing signs of wilting. If the flowers have been pretreated to prevent the effects of ethylene, there should be little shattering when the flower bunch is shaken.
Grading and bunching
There are no formal grade standards for Bouvardia, but top quality flowers will be uniform in maturity and colour, free of defects, and have good quality foliage and long stems. Flowers are normally bunched with 10 stems and sleeved prior to packing.
Accelerated wilting and abscission result from exposure of flowers to ethylene.
Pretreatments Because of their ethylene sensitivity, Bouvardia flowers should be pre-treated with 1-MCP or STS. Research has shown STS to be superior pre-treatment because it protects not only open flowers but also the developing buds from the effects of ethylene. Trreatment for 4 hrs. to 24 hrs. with water containing detergents such as Agral LN or Nonoxynol-8,5 prior to dry storage prevents early wilting of the flowers.
Although previous recommendations have been to store Bouvardia at 7° to 10°C, this species is not chilling sensitive, and therefore should be stored, like most temperature cut flowers, at 0° to 1°C.
Bouvardia may be packed in horizontal boxes.
Bouvardia exhibits leaf yellowing and is wilt sensitive. In some markets a special preservative formulation is sold that can reduce leaf yellowing. Re-cut stems underwater and use good sanitation procedures to reduce the frequency of wilted flowers. Postharvest performance differs greatly among the many cultivars marketed.