Production and postharvest evaluation of selected exotic specialty annual cut flower species in Punjab, Pakistan.
Favorable agro-climatic conditions and comparatively cheaper and readily available human resources offer a promising business opportunity to cut flower production in Pakistan. Presently, growers are limited to traditional cut flower crops such as rose (Rosa hybrids), gladiolus (Gladiolus hybrids), marigold (Tagetes erecta), and tuberose (Polianthes tuberosa) because of unavailability of improved new species and cultivars. To diversify cut flower production in Pakistan, a study was conducted to evaluate the production and postharvest performance of different cultivars of delphinium (Delphinium hybrids), snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus), and stock (Matthiola incana) in Faisalabad, Punjab, Pakistan. 'Guardian White' delphinium had the shortest time to harvest first marketable stems (160 days) with comparatively shorter stems (87.7 cm). Whereas 'Aurora White' and 'Aurora Blue' were high-temperature tolerant and produced attractive racemes with longer stems; 112.0 and 99.7 cm, respectively. All cultivars lasted about 7 days in distilled water (DW). 'Cheerful White' stock had the shortest cropping time and produced highest quality double flowers with longest stems (51.8 cm) compared with other cultivars tested. Vase solution of 4% sucrose supplemented with 100 mg.L-1 silver nitrate (AgNO3) extended the vase life of 'Cheerful White' stock up to 11.8 days compared with 8.2 days in DW. Pulsing with 10% sucrose supplemented with 100 mg.L-1 AgNO3 extended the longevity of 'Lucinda Dark Rose Double' stock (10.2 days) similar to vase solution of 4% sucrose plus 100 mg.L-1 AgNO3; however, 'Lucinda Dark Rose Double' stock produced shorter stems than 'Cheerful White'. 'Appleblossom' snapdragon produced >10 marketable stems per plant with highest quality attractive flowers, and stout stems, which lasted 10.8 days in 4% sucrose vase solution supplemented with 100 mg.L-1 AgNO3. Among tested species/cultivars, all exotic species/cultivars produced uniform high quality stems resulting in higher productivity as compared with local cultivars and were favorably appraised by flower growers/retailers and are best suited for diversification of local cut flower industry.