- Climate factors during harvest season, including humidity, fertilisation and crop protection, can have a huge impact on the lifespan of fresh cut flowers.
- Countries like Colombia and Ecuador can grow consistent and healthy varieties of fresh cut flowers because they have stable climate conditions.
- Growers that use best practices, and respect “farm to vase” supply chain care programs, grow flowers that last longer.
- Post-harvest conditions that need to be considered include temperature, humidity, hygiene, and food.
- During the distribution stage, speed of delivery, post-harvest treatment and packaging are very important.
- Customers should seek out a trusted local florist so they know the origin of their fresh cut flowers, how these factors affect their product, and what at-home care steps to take.
Unknown to many customers fresh cut flowers go through a considerable process before they are sold. There are a few factors during this process that can have an impact on the optimum vase life of fresh flowers. These factors take place before you purchase your flowers and are somewhat out of your control. That is why we encourage customers to find themselves a trusted local florist so they know how these factors affect their product.
These factors may vary; however, the main ones include:
Climate conditions can fluctuate during each growing and harvest season. This can impact what varieties of flowers are available to purchase. The main climate factors that affect flowers during this period are temperature, humidity, light, wind, fertilisation, and crop protection. If growers do not follow proper pre-harvest growing techniques during this time, climate can affect the quality and vase life of your fresh cut flowers.
Countries like Colombia and Ecuador can grow consistent and healthy varieties of fresh cut flowers because they have stable climate conditions. This makes pre-harvest techniques easy to manage. These flowers will last longer when exposed to rough conditions, such as storage and shipping. However, countries with more seasonal climates may have a more challenging time managing their pre-harvest techniques. Their fluctuating climates can damage the flowers while they grow and after the are harvested.
2. Post-harvest Conditions
Growers that respect “farm to vase” supply chain care programs supply flowers that last longer. This is because supply chain post-harvest conditions determine the quality that the flowers will be in when they arrive at the wholesaler. To practice strict supply chain integrity, growers need to consider the following things:
Controlling temperatures after the flowers are harvested slow down the flowers lifespan and keep the growing process in line with the flowers needs. This is achieved by storing the flowers in cool rooms or fridges.
Staying on top of humidity will control the level of fungus and botrytis that will develop once the flowers are harvested. This harmful fungus can damage and even kill the flower.
The correct hygiene procedures eliminate micro-organisms and bacteria which shorten the lifespan of cut flowers. A product that we recommend using during this stage is Floralife 1 Cleaner Solution. This product cleans, disinfects and deodorises tools, workspace and buckets.
Lastly, flower food helps keep the flowers nourished as if they were still in nature. Flower food should be used during all post-harvest, storage, and transport stages. A product that we recommend using during these stages is Floralife 3 Storage & Transport Solution. This product helps hydrate and nourish the flowers, and also maintains the brightness of its leaves and cut foliage.
3. Distribution Chain
Once flowers are harvested, they need to be packed and delivered to markets in a strict timeframe. Climate control and high-quality packaging help ensure the flowers arrive at their destination in good condition. Time is of the essence, so the speed of delivery as well as ensuring the flowers have optimum post-harvest treatment are very important. Get it Fresh Flower Wraps & Bags are great products to use during this transportation stage. These versatile products ensure the flowers stay fresh, and take away the need to use large buckets of water during transport.
Wholesalers who buy fresh cut flowers to sell are aware of the key elements of flower care that need to continue once they receive their product. Once a wholesaler purchases their cut flowers, they will need to continue to care for their flowers using similar methods to that of the growers.
The final step of flower care in the distribution chain is making sure that customers are educated on how to best care for their flowers. This at-home-care will ensure their bouquets are kept fresh and have a longer vase life.
To make sure you are receiving the best quality for your money, we recommend always consulting your trusted local florists for further information. For more information about fresh cut flowers, read our other Koch Blogs A Guide To Keeping Your Fresh Cut Flowers Fresh or What is Flower Food And How Much Is Too Much?