Proper Care and Handling of Cut Flowers

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 10,737
    Florist Brad Parker discusses proper care and handling of cut flowers.

    Brad Parker: Hi! I am Brad Parker of MyFlorist. We are talking about Mother's Day flowers. In this segment, we are going to talk about the proper care and handling of flowers. Let me put this in context. Cut flowers are grown in three major places around the world, in Holland, in Europe, in South America, particularly in Ecuador and Colombia and also in California. This is where they are grown, they are cut, they are packed in boxes and they are flown and trucked to their final destination. It's important to understand that when they are cut from the fields, when they are cut from the roots, this is a stressful and dramatic experience for the cut flowers. How they are handled when they are put back in water is critical.

    First of all, it's important that they be cleaned, any soil and debris be taken off the stems, as well as any foliage that would be under the waterline inside the vase. The reason for this is that for flowers to really hydrate, that's a critical point, to begin to drink again, to come back to life if you will, because once they are cut from the fields, they are essentially placed and stay at dormancy. They need to be able to drink properly. So you don't want any foliage in the water because it causes a bacteria build-up which prevents them from properly drinking. So you must first properly clean them and then they must be cut with a sharp instrument,. Do not use scissors, they have intensity to pinch the stems which prevents them from drinking water. So you want to cut with a sharp instrument. You want to put them in water in room temperature, not too cold. You want to put it in the proper proper floral preservatives which have two essential ingredients. 1, it has nutriments for the flowers and 2, it has chemicals that control the PH of the water so those harmful bacterias do not multiply in the water which would then prevent the flowers from properly drinking. Flowers properly drinking is the key thing for having high performance in your flowers.

    Now when you go through this and you properly cut them and put them in water, it's important that before you start designing with them, you allow them to drink overnight because they don't just instantly drink and instantly revive. They need time. The reality is that some of them never go through that process of really reviving. So it's critical that they be properly hydrated before you actually get around to designing with them. This is something that you want to make sure that florist you are dealing with follows these techniques. Also, if you happen to be one who receives flowers overnight in a box, make sure you follow these steps as well, if you want to get the best possible result and performance of your flowers. Once you follow these steps and your flowers are drinking well; you can tell because the stems will be taut, you will also see that the color will become brighter and more vivid in the flowers. If you look at them close, so you can tell if they are performing well. Once they are in the vase, the main thing you want to do is add water every day to keep the water level up. Secondly, you want to make sure that the water stays clear. If you have cleaned the flowers properly and if you have used proper floral preservatives, then the water should stay clear. If it does, you should only have to keep adding water for the entire life of the flowers.

    If however, the water begins to get cloudy in color, this is evidence of bacteria build-up and you will probably notice the flowers are starting to perform not so well, perhaps, even wilting. Any of these signs, then what you want to do is change the water, add fresh floral preservative and also re-cut the stems. Finally, a couple of other things that will help you get maximum life out of the flowers. Keep them in a cool place, if you can. Certainly do not let them be in direct sunlight. Direct sunlight will cause the moisture in the petals to expire faster than they are actually able to drink water and replenish the water in the petals. You don't want to leave them on top of a television, the heat from that can detract from the life of the flowers. At night, if you really want to get maximum life out of flowers, put them in a cool place. Perhaps, in your basement or if the time of the year is such that on a outside enclosed porch it's cool. All these things will then itself help to you getting maximum life and performance out of your flowers.

    I hope that these tips have been helpful for you in gaining maximum life out of your flowers. In the next clip, we are going to share with you some basic design tips that should be helpful for you, if you choose to design your own flowers for Mother's Day.