A Cut Flower can simply be defined as any flower that is cut from the plant, thorns trimmed, and are ready to be used in a fresh flower arrangement. Cut Flowers are available at the florist or can be cut from the home garden.
Most Cut Flowers are popular choices as gifts on Special Occasions, either as a single cut flower or as a bunch or a bouquet of cut flowers.
Rose is the most popular cut flower. Carnations, Gerberas, Chrysanthemums also enjoy a huge demand in the cut flower market.Tulips, Gladioli, Lilies, Alstroemerias, Anthuriums etc., are also popular with the flower lovers.
What makes a Good Cut Flower?
A Cut Flower should meet the following parameters-
- Appeal and beauty of the Cut Flower.
- Sweet fragrance of the Cut Flower.
- Long stemmed Cut Flower.
- Extended vase life of the Cut Flower.
The following features of a Cut Flower make their trade profitable for Cut Flower growers and traders.
- More production per square foot of flower bed.
- Extended production and a productive life as long as the marketing season last.
- Ability to be marketed as Fresh Cut Flowers, while the surplus are sold as dried florals.
- Resistance to disease and pests.
- Resistance to heat and droughts.
- Relatively easy to harvest and handle.
Cut Flower Care
Caring for Cut Flowers and keeping them fresh is indeed a science in itself. The first step towards making Cut Flowers last longer is to make sure that they are quickly placed in water to prevent them from wilting.
Cut stems should be placed in water immediately, as air rapidly moves into the water-conducting tissues and plugs the cells. This is why a Cut Flower that has been out of water for more than a few minutes should have a small portion of the lower stem cut off so that water moves up freely when the stem is returned to water. Cuts can be made under-water to assure the no air enters the stem. Further, care of your cut flowers is enhanced by following the tips given below-
- Commercial floral preservatives increase the life of Cut Flowers and should always be used. A floral preservative is a complex mixture of sucrose (sugar), acidifier - an inhibitor of microorganisms, and a respiratory inhibitor.
- To aid the floral preservative in slowing down the growth of microorganisms around the Cut Flowers, always clean the flower vase or container.
- Remove all leaves on the stems of the Cut Flowers below the water surface as they soon deteriorate.
- Place the cut flowers in a cool location for an hour or two. Cut Flowers placed in cool temperatures lose less water.
- A process called hardening ensures maximum water uptake, where the freshly cut stem of the Cut Flower is placed in 110 degree Fahrenheit water (plus preservative).
- Check the water level of the floral container or vase, where the Cut Flowers are placed, daily and add water plus preservatives when needed.
- Let the cut flowers get a good amount of ventilation.
- Keep Cut Flowers away from hot or cold air drafts and hot spots (radiators, direct heat, or television sets).
- Never store fruit and Cut Flowers together. Apples produce ethylene gas, a hormone that causes senescence or aging in the Cut Flowers.
Cut Flower Business
The world Cut Flower Trade is characterized by a high degree of concentration by sources. Exports from the Netherlands to Germany are a principal component of the world Cut Flower trade. The trade makes up a significant chunk of the intra EU trade, which accounts for a large part of the global trade.
In the Americas, Colombia is the major supplier to the United States. Japan receives its supplies from a more diversified base with Taiwan, New Zealand and Europe being the most important suppliers.
The Netherlands has a good and functional trade system to facilitate the movement of Cut Flowers which form a majority of the flowers that are traded. Cut Flower growers from all over the world assemble at the famed flower auctions to find suitable buyers for their produce.
Flowers are imported from various countries in order to create the largest possible assortment of flowers. Newly established players in the Cut Flower market include Kenya, Ecuador and Zimbabwe supplying to their newly emerging ambitious competitors in China, India, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Malawi, Mexico, Palestine, Peru, South Africa and Zambia.
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