les_neliJanuary 27, 2011

I'm just finishing up my seed order and am struggling with how much to order of Rudbeckia. I have mainly grown Indian Summer, Prairie Sun, and Cherokee Sunset the last few years. They look fabulous in the field but are iffy when I cut them. Some last a long time in the vase and some poop out at random. So needless to say I'm frustrated. I don't want to sell anything to a customer that might be wilted by the time they get home.

I researched this past season to see what I'm doing wrong but I still feel unclear about what is the best post-harvest care. Can you lend me some hints on what works for you? Or is this just a common occurance for you as well?

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I grow a number of different Rudbeckias. My favorites are Cherokee Sunset, Kevlon Star (Sputnik), and Goldilocks. I tried many others including Cherry Brandy, which is a nice red color, but tends to be very branching with mid-length stems rather than long ones.

I harvest early morning and have luke-warm water in my containers. I cut as long a stem as possible and immediately put them in the water. After harvest I put all containers in a our cellar which is cool and a bit humid. I also use Vita Life flower preservative ( which is an all natural product with good results. I let the flowers "rest" for most of the day, then start making bouquets for the next morning at the FM and using the same Vita Product. I recut the stems again to allow for good draw up of water and leave the flowers in the cellar for the evening.

I do these with all my cutflowers and have excellent results. Not sure what you are growing but everything I grow is a flower specifically grown for cutting.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2011 at 1:32PM
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thinman(Z5 MI)

I grew Prairie Sun two years ago and had a few complaints about it not lasting in the bouquets. When I cut my rudbeckia this past summer (Cherokee Sunset), I cut into a bucket of quite warm water. Warmer than luke-warm, but not hot. I actually run fairly hot water into the bucket, but it cools a bit by the time I use it. I had no customer complaints, though I did see an occasional droopy one that I plucked out.

Some people recommend feeling the neck of the stem. They say that if the neck feels soft, the flower will droop.

A commercial hydrating solution is probably a good idea, if you are having a lot of trouble with them.


    Bookmark   January 27, 2011 at 3:57PM
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Pudge 2b

I agree that the neck - where stem meets flower - should be stiff. I've tested that theory several times in my own home and believe it to be true. When it comes to Rudbeckia, the (slightly) more mature flowers will last longer as a cut than those which have just opened.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2011 at 3:02PM
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I have to say I don't think I've looked too closely at their necks. I do with my zinnias but never thought to try that with the rudbeckias as well.

Thinman, I usually follow a similar method as you. I cut into fairly hot, but probably warmer by the time I get to the patch, water and I started cutting some of the more mature flowers. I try as much as possible to cut early in the morning and then get them somewhere cool for a few hours.

I guess I'll just continue to experiment with what water solution I use. I just love the flowers and they produce so many great blooms that I hate to give up on them.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2011 at 9:33PM
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