From Cargo Handbook - the world's largest cargo transport guidelines website
Infobox on Sunflower
Example of Sunflower
Origin -
Stowage factor (in m3/t) -
Humidity / moisture -
Ventilation -
Risk factors See text


Description / Shipment / Storage / Risk factors

Scientific Name and Introduction

Helianthus annuus. In recent years, smaller cultivars of sunflower have become a very popular florist item, and a range of forms and colours are now widely available. Helianthus is derived from the Greek “helios,” the sun, and “anthos,” a flower.

Quality Characteristics and Criteria

Sunflowers are normally harvested when the petals (the outer flowers or ligules) have unfolded and are at least vertical. For local market, flowers are harvested with ligules fully expanded and horizontal. No yellow, wilted leaves should be present. Storage-life is often determined more by leaf yellowing or desiccation than by flower problems.

Grading and Bunching

Quality sunflowers are of uniform maturity, free from defects, have straight stems, and good quality foliage. Smaller-flowered cultivars may be bunched in groups of 10 or 12, and large-flowered types are normally packed individually.

Ethylene Sensitivity

Prolonged exposure of sunflowers to low concentrations of ethylene results in abscission of ligules.


The tendency for sunflowers to wilt prematurely in the vase can be avoided by pre-treating flowers for 15 to 30 min with clean water containing 0,02% detergent, such as Tween-20, Triton X-100, or dishwashing detergent.

Storage Conditions

Sunflowers can safely be stored at 0°C to 1ºC.


Sunflowers are normally packed in standard horizontal flower boxes.

Special Considerations

Sunflowers are also somewhat sensitive to gravity. If held horizontal at warmer temperatures the flower heads will be permanently bent down, so it is important to maintain cool temperatures during transport and storage.

Sources used
BMT Consolidated Manual on (Dutch) Flower Bulbs, cut flowers/greens and potted plants.