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Agricultural Sciences and should be
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Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
REDUCED OXYGEN STORAGE OF FOLIAGE PLANTS
R. T. Poole, C. A. Conover and G. L. Stabyl
University of Florida, IFAS
Agricultural. Research and Education Center 'ibbME LIBRARY
AREC-A Research Report RH-84-14
JAN I8 i2'o3
Foliage plants are mainly of tropical origin are sensitive
to low temperatures, and do not have a "rest" period Owe-~f Fo-rida
piration as do temperate plants. Lowering temper to dAr,
freezing reduces respiration of foliage plants, but is not fea-
sible because chilling damage can occur to foliage plants at tem-
peratures as high as 550F. Since most foliage plants are chill
sensitive, reducing oxygen levels was considered as a method to
reduce respiration and enhance storage life.
To explore the possibility of reduced oxygen storage of fo-
liage plants, a 40 feet reefer (container) from FoodSource, Inc.,
San Rafael, CA, was placed at Vosters Nurseries, Miami, Florida.
FoodSource containers have air movement originating from the
floor with air temperature controlled at the discharge side. Rel-
ative humidity can be maintained and oxygen content of the contain-
Plants selected for reduced oxygen storage at Vosters Nurseries
on January 7, 1983, included 21 genera and species (Table 1). Plants
were boxed and placed in the container in the afternoon of January
7. Percent oxygen was maintained at 5-6% and temperature at 600F.
Plants were removed from the container at 2, 3 or 4 week intervals,
placed under 63% shade in a shadehouse at Vosters Nurseries and
graded February 4 and 11 (Table 2), except plants removed at 2 weeks
were only graded February 4. There was little, if any, reduction
in grade of plants kept for 2 weeks in the containers. Those plants
stored for 3 weeks also maintained quality almost as.well as when
initially stored, except Dracaena deremensis 'Janet Craig' which be-
came unsalable. Most of the plants tested stored satisfactorily for
4 weeks except Dracaena deremensis 'Janet Craig', Ficus elastica
'Abidjan', Ficus elastic 'Decora', Polyscias 'Curly Top', Polyscias
filicifolia and Spathiphyllum 'Mauna Loa'. Table 3 describes some of
the disorders of the foliage plants stored for various time periods.
Aglaonema 'Abidjan', x Citrofortunella mitis, Dracaena marginata,
Ficus elastic 'Decora' and Schefflera arboricola were also shipped
from Vosters to the Agricultural Research Center-Apopka to be placed
Professor, Plant Physiology; Professor and Center Director, Agricultural
Research Center, 2807 Binion Road, Apopka, FL 32703; President, Perishables
Research Organization, P.O. Box 2227, Novato, CA 94948, respectively.
in coolers at 600F with ambient (21% 0 ) air and also removed at
2, 3 and 4 weeks. When plants were removed from storage at Apopka,
they were similar in quality to those stored in 5% 02.
Results of these studies show that most foliage
can be stored at 60F under low oxygen or at ambient
without loss of plant quality. When in the dark for
duction in quality can be expected for some plants.
has shown that Aglaonema, Brassaia, Ficus benjamin,
cola and Spathiphyllum 'Mauna Loa' wilT store for up
many other foliage plants will store for 2 weeks witi
quality. Therefore, data obtained in this experiment,
benefit of utilizing low oxygen storage for foliage
0 for 2-3 weeks
4 weeks, some re-
to 4 weeks and
hout reduction in
t does not show
This research was supported by Grant 1-289-80 from BARD The United
States Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund.
1. Conover, C. A.
2. Conover, C. A. a
1980. The shipping environment.
nd R. T. Poole. 1983.
f acclimatized foliage
3. Conover, C. A. and R. T. Poole. 1983. Environmental factors
influencing long-term shipping of tropical foliage'plants. Foliage
4. Dunbar, D. M. 1980. Transported plants may need protection.
Foliage Digest 3(3):16.
5. Marousky, F. J. and B.
plants during transit.
K. Harbaugh. 1980.
Foliage Digest 3(7)
Deterioration of foliage
6. Poole, R. T. and C. A. Conover. 1981. Dark storage of foliage
Foliage Digest 4(6):8.
7. Poole, R. T. and C. A. Conover. 1983. Packaging of foliage plants
for shipment. Foliage Digest 6(7):14,15.
Table 1. Original grade of test plants obtained from Vosters Nurseries
for use in controlled atmosphere storage. (l=poor, 3=good-salable
Aglaonema 'Abidjan' 4+. A few necrotic spots. Milk stripe; tips
Aglaonema commutatum 4+. Dark green leaves; new foliage light.
Aglaonema commutatum 'Fransher' 5. Some lower leaves slightly chlorotic.
Aglaonema commutatum 'Pseudobracteatum' 5. Some lower leaves necrotic.
Aglaonema crispum 5. All dark green.
Beaucarnea recurvata 3+. Lower leaves chlorotic with some necrotic
spots; upper leaves medium brown.
Brassaia actinophylla 'Amata' 4+. Dark green foliage. Very slight
phytotoxicity on some new leaves.
Chamaedorea elegans 4. Slight chlorosis and necrotic spots on few leaves.
x Citrofortunella mitis talamondin) 4+. Heavy with fruit, green to orange.
Some very small fruit; dark to medium green
Dracaena fragrans 'Massangeana' 4. A few leaves with small tip necrosis;
margins of some lower leaves blotchy chlorotic.
Dracaena deremensis 'Janet Craig' 4. Dark green; some chlorosis; some
speckling in tips.
Dracaena marginata 4. Medium green. Full plant slight tip burn on
Dracaena reflexa (Pleomele reflexa) 4. A few small white marks (spotty
and streaks) scattered throughout leaves.
Ficus benjamin 4. Older leaves dark, newer light green, some with
pinpoint necrotic spots.
Ficus elastica 'Abidjan' 4+. Full sun-grown. Leaves dark brown; lower
leaves off-color. Newer leaves deep red; some
newer leaves splotchy-light green.
Ficus elastica 'Decora' 4+. Older leaves deep green; newer leaves
reddish brown. Some older leaves with few
necrotic spots, mostly along edges. Dark
shadow in newer leaves.
Pandanus utilis 4. Mostly medium green leaves. Few light green; some
Polyscias 'Curly Top' 5. New foliage light green, lower foliage dark.
Polyscias filicifolia 5. Light green.
Schefflera arboricola 5. Older leaves dark green, newer light green.
Some lower leaves with small necrotic spots.
Spathiphyllum 'Mauna Loa' 5. Lower leaves dark green; upper light; very
low leaves sometimes necrotic.
Table 2. Grade of plants before placement in container,
January 7, 1983, and after storage in containers, February 4,
and February 11, 1983. (l=poor, 3=good-salable, and 5=excellent).
Time in containers
12 5 5 S 4 4 4 3+
--. le reflexa)
lum 'Mauna Loa'
sold before ratings accomplished.
Table 3. Disorders of some foliage plants after storage in the container,
plants rated February 4, 1983
2 weeks in coolers 2 weeks out
Brassaia actinophylla 'Amata': some burning of new tips.
Polyscias 'Curly Top': lots of leaf drop.
Aglaonema commutatum 'Fransher': some tip burn.
Aglaonema commutatum 'Pseudobracteatum':
Ficus elastica 'Abidjan': some lower leaf drop.
x Citrofortunella mitis (Calamondin): some leaf drop; some lower
Polyscias filicifolia: some necrotic tips
3 weeks in coolers 1 week out
Ficus elastica 'Decora': lower leaves chlorotic.
Schefflera arboricola: new growth chlorotic, abscissed.
Dracaena deremensis 'Janet Craig': edges chlorotic and necrotic.
Polyscias filicifolia: yellow foliage, chlorotic.
Aglaonema commutatum: some lower leaves chlorotic
Aglaonema crispum: some lower leaves chlorotic.
Aglaonema 'Abidjan': some lower leaves chlorotic.
4 weeks in coolers
Ficus elastica 'Abidjan' and 'Decora': middle leaves chlorotic.
Dracaena fragrans 'Massangeana': centers white.
Ficus benjamin: slight leaf loss.
x Citrofortunella mitis (Calamondin): slight leaf loss.
Schefflera arboricola and succulents: new tips elongated, abscission.
Spathiphyllum 'Mauna Loa': centers very white.
Chamaedorea elegans: new growth slightly chlorotic.
Beaucarnea recurvata: slight center chlorosis.
Aglaonema 'Abidjan': some young leaves chlorotic.
Spathiphyllum 'Mauna Loa': yellow lower leaves.
Dracaena marginata: centers very white.