Now that warmer weather has arrived, it will soon be time to purchase new annuals for adding color to your landscape. Before buying any new plants, make certain that they are the proper varieties for spring planting. Click here to learn more about what to plant.
Because of our warmer weather, it’s also a good time to get familiar with flower meltdown, which affects not only bedding plants, but potted plants as well. What is flower meltdown? It is the sudden wilting of flowers while they are being transported to retail outlets, and can result in a heavy infestation of Gray Mold, which is also known as Botrytis. This disease is due to production of large amounts of ethylene within the flowers, which results in their becoming stressed due to high temperatures, humidity and vibration during their transport. Also this can happen if flowers or foliage is wet. Although production of ethylene gas in flowers is normal, when the amount reaches high levels it injects a toxin that enters cell wells causing decay.
Growers are for the most part responsible for this problem because they are trying to produce plants as fast as they can for sale by applying frequent watering, high nutrition (fertilizer) levels, and high humidity. When placed on trucks for shipping under these conditions, and reduced air movement, this disease will usually occur. To reduce the likely hood of this happening, many of the better growers will apply an anti-ethylene treatment prior to loading.
So you might be asking why is this going to be a possible problem for me? When the plants are unloaded, they many look okay, but within days or even hours this disease can occur. I suggest you buy your plants where they are delivered early in the morning or better yet, wait a day or two before purchasing them, and if you buy your plants in cell packs, make sure that there is a healthy living plant in each cell. If not I’d avoid them.
Good luck with your planting!