All well-known florists pride themselves on keeping their promise of fresh flowers delivered on time to their clients. The trick is in actually keeping the cut flowers, whether these are delivered in a simple bouquet or in an elaborate easel arrangement, as fresh as possible. Here are a few tricks that expert florists use toward this end.
Proper Care Is Key
The fundamental principle behind keeping cut flowers as fresh-looking as possible starting from supplier delivery to client delivery is proper care. Keep in mind that most cut flowers used by florists have travelled long distances, say, from the bidding halls of the Netherlands to the flower shops of the United States and then onwards to the final consumers. With days and miles to go from farmer to customer, proper handling is of great importance.
Expert florists exercise utmost caution when handling flowers upon their arrival at the shops. The following steps are usually applied:
• Carefully remove the outer guard petals as well as the petals that may be submerged once the stems are placed in vases.
• Make diagonal cuts – about 45 degrees – on the stems, said cuts of which must be approximately an inch above the last cut. We suggest cutting the stems under water to lessen the stress on the flowers.
• Place the flowers in water, which can be either be in room temperature or cold depending on the flower.
• Empty a commercial plant food into the water. Other natural preservatives like aspirin, vinegar and vodka can also be added.
Of course, be gentle when handling the flowers to avoid bruising their leaves and petals.
Refrigerate the Blooms
If placing the flowers in cold water is not yet applicable, we suggest refrigerating the blooms overnight. This will lengthen their lifespan by as much as three times, thus, making it possible to deliver to far places. In fact, florists are well-advised to purchase a good-sized cooler or refrigerator for their shops and delivery vehicles for this purpose.
The proper temperature must be in place for the flowers to stay as fresh-looking as the day these were picked from the fields. The ideal temperature for most flowers is between 34 and 36 degrees Fahrenheit although we must emphasize that the blooms must be in a hydrating solution. For flowers placed in preservative emulsions, the best temperature is a constant 34 degree Fahrenheit.
It should be noted that the containers in which the flowers are placed should be made of plastic. Metal can change the water’s pH balance, thus, affecting the blooms’ lifespan. Aside from the controlled temperature, the refrigerator should also have a controlled humidity. Most flowers store well in 90 to 95 percent humidity levels although blooms placed in preservatives are best kept in 80 percent level.
Use Florist’s Foam to Full Advantage
Last but certainly the most important where delivery to the final customer is concerned is florist’s foam. This is a lightweight, spongy material that holds water and keeps the stems in place in an arrangement. This material usually comes in various grades from soft to hard such that the soft foam is suitable for flowers with delicate stems.
Of course, we suggest delivering the flowers to the clients within the same day these were taken out of the refrigerator or the vase in the shop. Sane-day delivery is the secret, so to speak, in delivering fresh flowers to your patrons.