Sweet William

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Infobox on Sweet William
Example of Sweet William
Sweet William.jpg
Origin -
Stowage factor (in m3/t) -
Humidity / moisture -
Ventilation -
Risk factors See text

Sweet William

Description / Shipment / Storage / Risk factors

Scientific Name and Introduction

Dianthus barbatus. A close relative of carnation, normally grown in the field, Sweet William flowers are borne on a short-stemmed inflorescence. Colours range from white through intense red and purple, and provide strong accents in an arrangement. The specific epithet barbatus means bearded or barbed in reference to the beard-like growth emerging from the petals.

Quality Characteristics and Criteria

Flowers in the Sweet William inflorescence continue developing after harvest and they should be harvested with the outer ring of flowers open. Flowers should have at least the outer whorl of florets open. Avoid flowers with withered or sleepy florets, as this indicates ethylene-induced problems.

Grading and Bunching

Quality Sweet William flowers are of uniform maturity, are free from damage and evidence of pests and diseases, have reasonable stem length and good quality foliage. Flowers are sold in a grower's bunch of at least 12 stems.

Ethylene Sensitivity

Flowers are ethylene-sensitive.


Flowers should be pretreated with 1-MCP or STS to prevent effects of ethylene.

Storage Conditions

Like carnations, flowers should be stored at 2°C to 3ºC.


Sweet William flowers are normally packed in horizontal fibreboard boxes.

Special Considerations

As with many flowers grown in the field, fungal infections due to the wet foliage and flower conditions sometimes experienced at harvest can be a problem. Make sure flowers are rapidly unpacked and aerated to reduce possible disease spread.

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