Care and Handling of Fresh Cut Flowers
CARE and HANDLING of FRESH CUT FLOWERS
FOR RETAIL FLORISTS
- Buy the freshest flowers available. Know what you are buying and check to make sure your sources are committed to quality.
- Flowers exposed to ethylene fail to open or have a wilted appearance. Process flowers immediately upon arrival. Remove foliage below the water level to prevent rotting.
- Give all flowers a fresh cut under water just before using a hydration product and placing in a fresh flower food solution.
- Pretreat flowers with a hydration solution. To help ensure maximum hydration and a free flowing stem, pretreat your flowers with a long term or instant hydration solution. This can be especially helpful with field grown crops and is a must for roses and gerbera to help prevent “bent necks”.
- Place flowers in a flower food solution. Flowers need to be nourished with fresh flower food to maximize their enjoyment for the customer. Flower foods generally contain:
- An acid to lower the pH of the solution.
- Ingredients to keep the stems vascular bundle free flowing.
- An energy source (sugar) to nourish the flowers.
- It is important to measure the flower food correctly to maximize results. Refer to instructions on the side of the container.
- Let flowers stand at room temperature for 1-2 hours. This is important so flowers can hydrate completely before being refrigerated. If you are concerned about roses opening too quickly, let them stand at room temperature for just one half hour or less and refrigerate.
- Place in a 34-38 degree F cooler with 80-90% humidity. This is crucial so you don’t sacrifice shelf life for vase-life. Flowers kept at 50 degrees will deteriorate 2 to 3 times faster than those kept at 37 degrees. Tropical flowers should be kept at 55 degrees F or at room temperature if a 55 degree cooler is not available. Maintaining high humidity is important to reduce water loss which can cause water stress. Proper refrigeration can also reduce damage caused by ethylene gas.
- Giving a fresh flower food packet with each purchase will help educate the consumer on proper care and handling.
- Clean buckets, coolers, etc. with a cleaning solution. This will keep the stems free flowing and help inhibit problems caused by bacteria. You don’t want to drink out of a dirty glass – your flowers don’t either!
- Properly soak floral foam in a fresh flower food solution before using. This can help counteract the negative by-products inherent to all floral foams. Also, flowers need to be hydrated and nourished in foam just as they do in a glass vase.
- Give all flowers a finishing touch with an anti-transparency spray, such as Floral Mist or Crowning Glory.