n South African Journal of Plant and Soil - Calcium improves gerbera (Gerbera hybrida) vase life - short communication

Volume 35 Number 3
  • ISSN : 0257-1862
  • E-ISSN: 2167-034X
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The vase life of Gerbera hybrida cut flowers is about two weeks. To prevent wilting, hypochlorite is widely used in vase water to control micro-organisms that may block xylem cells and restrict water uptake. In this study, three levels of calcium chloride (0, 12 and and 24 meq L−1), two levels of calcium hypochlorite (0 and 25 mg L−1) and two levels of hydrochloric acid (0 and 2 meq L−1) were factorially arranged, using three replicates in a completely randomised design. A single gerbera flower with a 450 mm stem in a glass bottle with 500 mL treated water was used as experimental unit. The trial was ended after 17 d in a room at 25 °C. The general appearance index of the stemmed flowers was significantly (p < 0.0001) correlated (r = 0.81) with its mass-retention percentage. Calcium hypochlorite significantly improved water uptake as well as the mass-retention percentage. The highest CaCl2 level of 24 meq L−1 significantly improved the mass-retention percentage without significantly improved water uptake, an indication that cell walls of the xylem tubes could have been hardened, producing stronger flower stems. Indications of a positive effect with application of hydrochloric acid (HCl), only in the presence of optimum levels of hypochlorite and calcium, needs further investigation.

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