With their assorted colors, shapes, sizes and scents, fresh cut flowers are a delight to the senses. They are used to commemorate a variety of significant occasions including marriages, births, graduations and funerals. The florists who earn their incomes by providing floral bouquets and arrangements for such occasions work hard to maintain the freshness of their flowers.
Using Refrigeration to Keep Flowers Fresh
Most flower shops are equipped with at least one refrigerated cooler. Cut flowers retain their freshness considerably longer if they are refrigerated before they are used in floral arrangements; once floral arrangements are completed, they, too, can benefit from being placed in a refrigerated cooler until they are sold or delivered. Florists store much of their floral inventory and designs in coolers set to a temperature between 36 and 46 degrees Fahrenheit. Some florists also use refrigerated trucks to transport and deliver their flowers; the trucks are also set to a temperature of 36 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit.
Maintaining Cleanliness to Keep Flowers Fresh
Bacteria can adversely affect the lifespan and overall freshness of cut flowers. Consequently, florists strive to maintain cleanliness in their work environments to stave off the growth of such bacteria. Florists work to keep flower buckets clean as well as the tools that come in contact with the flower stems. Most florists clean their tools, such as scissors, knives and shears, and their flower buckets by washing them with a solution of bleach and water, or with warm water and dish soap. Keeping the tools and buckets clean prevents harmful bacteria from being transferred to the flowers.
Replacing Water to Keep Flowers Fresh
Florists do not let their cut flowers sit in the same water for an extended period. Many florists replace the water as frequently as every day. By emptying flower buckets of their water and refilling them with fresh water, florists prevent the development of bacteria that can adversely affect their flowers’ freshness. Water in which flowers are stored can become slimy, foul-smelling and discolored if it is not replaced frequently.
Cutting Flowers to Keep Them Fresh
Florists cut the bottom inch or more off of all flower stems before placing them in water. This is a common practice even though most flowers arrive to florists from wholesalers already cut; they need to be cut again to promote their freshness. Florists cut the stems with a knife, scissors or shears at a sharp angle. Cutting the stems at a sharp angle helps the flowers to drink more efficiently once they are placed in water. Florists generally place flowers in water immediately after cutting their stems. Many florists give the stems of their flowers a fresh cut each time they replace the water in their containers.
Products That Help to Keep Flowers Fresh
Many florists use products to help them maintain the freshness of their flowers. Bleach, when added in very small amounts to buckets and vases of water, can inhibit the growth of bacteria and work to keep flowers fresh. Floral preservative powders, when added to buckets and vases of water, act like food for flowers, and help to keep them strong and healthy. Some florists spray their flowers with floral preservative sprays, which can help to keep the blooms firm and vibrant.