Benzyladenine sprays and senescent flowers removal on postproduction performance of Potted zinnia 'Profusion cherry'
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'Profusion Cherry' is a dwarf zinnia with prospect for pot use in Brazil. The success of flowering potted plants depends on its performance during transport and on the period of time that it performs well indoors. Benzyladenine application may retard leaf and flower senescence, increasing postproduction longevity and quality. Senescent flowers removal by consumers, to give a fresh appearance to home flowering potted plant, could influence source-sink relationship and postproduction. This study evaluated the effect of benzyladenine and senescent flowers removal on postproduction performance of 'Profusion Cherry', and observed the senescence symptoms. When plants, produced in greenhouse at São Paulo State, Brazil, had 4 to 5 open flowers, they were sprayed to runoff a single time (20ml/pot) with benzyladenine (0.4, 0.6, 0.8 or 1.0 mmol) and placed into plastic trays, without sleeve. The experimental design was a randomized blocks with 6 treatments (control, four benzyladenine concentrations and senescent flowers removal), 4 replications (2 pots per experimental unit), totalising 12 potted plants in each plastic tray (block). To simulate highway transport, plants remained for 4 days in a dark chamber, at 20.0 °C without irrigation. To include vibration, each plastic tray, was placed in an incubator shaker for 3hr a day, at 60 rpm, 25°C and darkness. After simulated transport, plants remained indoors (10h.day-1 with 18 μmol.m-2.s-1 PPF, 21.5 to 27.0°C and, 14 h.day-1 at darkness, 18.5 to 24.0°C) during 21 days. Plants performed well during simulated transport, and also indoors for two weeks. For most of evaluated parameters there was not significant effect of benzyladenine concentrations by Tukey's test. Senescent flowers removal did not delayed senescence or improved plants quality. The symptoms associated with the loss of decorative life were ray florets color fading and wilting, without abscission of flowers or petals.