Why should you keep plants and flowers away from fruits?


Plants and trees have evolved various mechanisms to protect themselves from drying out, often shedding their buds, blooms, and leaves. In the case of cut flowers and potted plants, this shedding can be attributed to an excess of the growth hormone ethylene, the only known naturally occurring gaseous plant growth hormone. Ethylene gas plays a vital role in regulating the ripening and aging processes of cut flowers, potted plants, as well as fruits and vegetables. Consequently, ethylene gas is intentionally utilized to promote fruit ripening and potted plants’ blooming.

Certain fruits, such as tomatoes, bananas, and apples, emit particularly high levels of ethylene. This gas can influence ethylene production in plants, leading to the accelerated aging of flowers and leaves. Some plants sensitive to ethylene may even exhibit bud, flower, and/or leaf drop as a result.

Dr. Caren Chang, a professor at the University of Maryland specializing in ethylene, explains that ethylene levels increase in both fruits and flowers as they age, facilitating fruit ripening. While ethylene is beneficial for ripening fruit, it accelerates the aging process of flowers, resulting in wilting and decay. To maximize the longevity of fresh-cut flowers, it’s advisable to avoid placing them directly next to a bowl of fruit or a bunch of bananas.

Among fruits, tomatoes, apples, bananas, and pears are cited by Chang as emitting higher levels of ethylene compared to others. Although ethylene disperses in the surrounding air, its potency diminishes over distance.

Therefore, while fresh flowers can be kept in the kitchen, it’s prudent to find a location away from the fruit bowl to prevent premature aging and decay. These insights offer practical advice for preserving the beauty of fresh flowers and enhancing their enjoyment.

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