Below is a list of general care and handling directions for flowers. Additional instructions for specific varieties are listed by category further down the page.
- Location: do not process flowers close to air vents, next to fruit (ethylene) or in freezing temperatures.
- Clean the cooler (keep temperature of the cooler around 34-36 degrees Fahrenheit and relative humidity around 90%)
- Clean and disinfect containers (use bleach and a scrub brush)
- Fill containers with clean water and preservative
- Use proper water temperature (if water is too warm, above 110 Fahrenheit, during conditioning, some flowers may open prematurely)
- Clean and sharpen tools (do not use scissors, they tend to crush the stems)
- Cut – don’t pull! – sleeves and bands from flowers. Pulling may damage them.
- Do not unpack more flowers than you can process within 30 minutes. Flowers should not be left on tables or in boxes at room temperature.
- Place unopened boxes in a floral cooler. Prevent bottom of box from getting wet by placing boxes on pallet.
Special Instructions for Roses:
- After receiving roses, remove foliage and thorns that will be below the water line. It is not recommended to remove more than 1/3 of the foliage, however. Leaves are needed to help “pump” water up the stem. Use extreme caution while de-thorning the roses: leaf and stem wounds allow air bubbles to enter the stem which impede water uptake.
- Cut the stems at an angle at least ½ – 1 inch. Cut the stems under water, in order to prevent air bubbles from sealing off the stem (it only takes a second for a rose stem to dry out!). Re-cut stems under water every two or three days. This will prevent wilting or bent necks.
- Let the roses hydrate (“drink”) outside the cooler (condition at room temperature to increase water intake) for 1 ½ hour and for at least another six hours (some people recommend up to 12 hours!) inside the cooler.
Special Instructions for Tulips:
Tulips arrive looking soft or limp; freshen them with a hydration treatment. Avoid bending of the “necks” by leaving the necks wrapped in plastic or paper during processing. Before placing tulips with daffodils, which secrete a sap that clogs other flowers’ stems, condition daffodils in water for a day and do not recut them.
Special Instructions for Anemones:
Store them vertically in plenty of water with heads bent toward the light. Do not arrange them with Daffodils unless Daffodils have been treated properly.
Special Instructions for Ranunculus:
To prevent bending, store flowers upright. Ranunculus is also ethylene sensitive.
Special Instructions for Lilies:
Avoid ethylene sources. To prevent pollen from staining petals (and clothing!!) remove anthers. Handle carefully, as open flowers crease easily. The top bloom usually normally does not open.
Lily of the Valley – Upon arrival, place the stems in water and refrigerate them immediately. “Convallaria” likes fresh water and they drink a lot; they always require refrigeration to maintain freshness. When working with Lily of the Valley, take great care not to break the stems. Try the following conditioning method: submerge the whole blossom, including the stem in water for at least one hour. Then put the flower in the refrigerator to crisp up for four to six hours. To condition Lily of the Valley just before using it in bridal bouquets, hang it upside down in the refrigerator for an hour. Water then suffuses and strengthens the top bud, which otherwise may get limp.