Rapid cooling and proper temperature are key to maintaining the vitality of newly cut flowers. Most cut flowers prefer temperatures at 0 to 1 degree Celsius, according to ba.ars.usda.gov, with a relative humidity of 95 to 99 per cent.
Flowers have high respiration rates which can cause them to dry out quickly. Getting your harvested flowers from field to storage as quickly as possible is key to their survival and longevity. Flowers that are packed quickly for shipment should be cooled prior to placing them in boxes or they should be placed in boxes with vents to allow cool air to reach them.
Tropical flowers can be sensitive to cold storage and should be stored at 10 degrees Celsius. If they become too chilled, you may notice leaf or petal darkening or drying out. Anthurium, bird of paradise, ginger, some orchids and a variety of foliage plants are sensitive to colder temperatures, according to ba.ars.usda.gov.
Tulips, narcissus and hyacinths store best at 0.556 to 1.67 degrees Celsius with a relative humidity of 90 per cent or more, according to University of Massachusetts Amherst. They have a relatively short shelf life of three to seven days, dependent on the care that is given post harvest. Gladiolas can be stored dry for up to a week or stored in a floral preservative for up to two weeks at 2.22 to 4.44C, according to Kansas State University.
Roses need to be stored at 0.556 to 1.67 degrees Celsius or the blooms may not open, or they may experience a short vase life.
Never store fruit in the same cooler with fresh cut flowers. Fruit, especially apples, produces ethylene gas which will cause cut flowers to age faster.