When buying fresh flowers, the most important issue is how to “keep your flowers FRESH” for as long as you can.
Keeping your reputation as a florist, protecting your profit margins and having repeat customers depends not only on the quality of your flowers but also on how long your customer can keep your cut flowers fresh.
So what are the essential steps to take to ensure flower care and handling is maintained by business-savvy floral professionals.
To ensure your cut flowers remain fresh, do not wilt and have a long vase life, you need to give them the best care immediately when they arrive in store.
Professional florist and wedding flower designers understand this process well. Senescence occurs immediately when the flower is harvested which means the flower cells stop dividing and growing. There is a variation of time and travel from the farm to the wholesaler and ultimately to the florist which can have significant impact on the life of flowers if the flower care and cold chain is not respected.
Here are some of the important steps your flower professional will take to ensure flower longevity.
Why sanitise? Bacteria in the water will block stems from drinking. It also produces ethylene which also affects flowers from lasting.
- Make sure all flower buckets and vases are kept clean. Every few days, buckets should be washed and water changed to extend the life of your flowers.
- We recommend FloraLife DCD which is a disinfectant, cleaner, and deodoriser designed to clean all surfaces in flower storage.
- The advantage of using DCD is that after using this, there is no need to scrub your buckets because it leaves a protective coating on the bucket that will keep the surface cleaner for long periods.
- Take particular care when washing buckets not to put them on an unsanitised surface only to see bacteria sneaking back. Don’t put buckets upside down on unclean surfaces.
- Similarly keep your florist tools and work area clean at all times.
- Removing all foliage from the base of the flower stem prevents decay and bacteria forming in the water and allows flower stems to continue to drink.
- Many florists will tell you that flower buckets and vases should be clean enough for you to drink from.
Store flowers at the correct temperature will extend their vase and shelf life.
- Lower storage temperatures of fresh cut flowers will reduce flower metabolism, respiration and transpiration which is similar to what a hibernating bear does.
- Best temperature for storing fresh cut flowers in your cool room is 1-3°C and about 15°C for tropical flowers.
- If you store your buckets in your cool room and then place your cut flowers into the cold water with flower food. This step helps rejuvenate travel stressed flowers.
- Do not use water softeners such as sodium as this decrease vase life for certain flowers.
- Professional flower food offers fresh cut flowers proper nutrition to help them last longer.
- Refined sugar is the main ingredient in flower foods and is a great source of carbohydrate energy that will improve flower longevity.
- As well as sugar, professional flower foods contain acidifiers and agents to unblock stems by lowering the pH levels. Lower pH levels ensure the water quality and nutrient in the water are more effective for the cut flower.
- Floralife® flower foods hydrate, nourishes and promotes optimal growth and also improve bud opening in several fresh cut flower varieties.
- Flower wholesalers and large retail florists process huge quantities of fresh flowers and to ensure they are adding the correct does of liquid flower food, they use an automatic dosing unit.
- Although there is a cloud of doubt from the professional florist community, homemade recipes you may find online do not offer a comprehensive flower food solution. In saying that, any extra care for flowers is good care.
- It is best that when using floral foam, fully saturate using water that uses a flower food concentrate.
- To help flower hydration, always cut the flower stem on a 45 degree angle before placing in water. You should cut about 2cm from the end of each stem.
- A great product to help hydration is using Quick Dip FloraLife mixture. This solution mixed with flower food will open stem waterways allowing stems to open and absorb more water.
How to protect flower bouquets and arrangements
- All floral and wedding designers know that sun and hot weather will dry flowers out quickly. Take precautions, especially during outdoor events.
- One tip to keep flowers cool and hydrated at outdoor events is to cover them with a light weight damp cloth. Using any type of plastic will hold heat and damage your flowers.
- Keep all your flowers hydrated in water with flower food added especially on hot days as this will help replenish food reserves lost through evaporation.
You can read some extra tips in our article “Managing flowers for outdoor wedding and events“.
- A hydration mist is a solution that will help flowers and petals avoid wilting.
- One technique is after using the hydration mist, to put your flowers in a plastic bag and place them in your cool room.
- Use a hydration mist such as Finishing Touch and Crowning Glory on your wedding bouquets and table centrepiece arrangements to help hydration of flowers and stops petals from wilting.
- This is a systemic hydrating treatment.
- It helps nourish flowers that continue to open.
- It is also absorbed through the leaves and petals allowing flowers to breathe.
- Best results are achieved when flowers are drinking water.
- This is a topical hydrating treatment.
- It helps hold flowers in their current state of freshness.
- Crowning Glory contains a peptide with wax-like properties that end up holding in moisture.
- It is great for corsages, bouquets and flowers that have limited water available.