Fresh cut flowers are a perishable product. Not only does a fresh flower need to transported fresh from the market to the florist shop where it will be sold, it needs to be in excellent condition when purchased and then look good for another four to seven days. Different types of flowers have different processing requirements, but the most common flowers sold can be kept fresh using the same care procedures.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Sterilised bucket or container that will hold flowers
- Floral preservative
- Scissors or florist shears
Prepare your receiving area, for example a van cargo area, by filling sterilised buckets with water to the point where one-third of the flower stems will be covered. Add the correct amount of commercial floral preservative and mix well. Have enough buckets so that the flowers can stand upright but not lay over where the stem contacts the edge of the bucket or container. One bounce and the stems may snap. Some flower buckets have a grid placed over the top to hold flowers upright.
Choose the freshest flowers available by asking the market representative when the flowers arrived. Many times the freshest flowers are in the back of the presentation rack or cooler. You always want the freshest flowers available in the market. Discounted flowers are rarely the freshest.
After choosing the flowers, inspect carefully. Wholesale flowers are usually placed in a plastic sleeve and roses are often wrapped in cardboard with only half of them visible. This makes is very difficult to see if there are rot and mildew problems on some of the inner stems and flowers.
Stay in the market vicinity to unwrap the flowers in case you see problems with mildew, rot or broken stems. Many wholesalers don't allow refunds once you leave the premises or after 24 hours.
Remove the outer wrapper and cut off a portion of the stems to expose fresh tissue before placing in solution. You can take off more from longer stem flowers such as lilies. However, you can only take a half-inch or so off some small short-stemmed flowers such as grape hyacinth or lily of the valley. This allows the flowers to begin hydrating in fresh water with new preservative. Cut and hydrate roses, but don't remove their cardboard sleeves.
Choosing and Transporting Flowers
Allow flowers to hydrate in the water and floral preservative solution for 8 to12 hours at room temperature.
Move containers with flowers into a cooler with a steady temperature at 3.33 to 4.44 degrees C. After 12 hours unwrap the roses to let them breathe. Unwrapping roses too soon will cause them to "blast" or open prematurely.
Check water levels from the time of arrival, in case of spillage, and recheck every day thereafter.
Continue Processing Flowers in the Florist Shop
Tips and warnings
- You can make your own grids to hold flowers upright in a bucket with strong waterproof tape or chicken wire.
- A van or truck with a refrigerator unit will prevent transporting in extreme temperatures.
- Add the correct amount of floral preservative. Too little and bacteria will grow and interfere with the flower's ability to uptake water. Too much, and the flower stems can become soft or damage to the flower petals will occur.
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