When growers cut flowers and foliage for sale, they carry out post-harvest treatments. Depending on the crop, these can be as simple as putting the stems in water; or very complex treatments using a mix of water additives and temperature control – especially rapid cooling.
Florists and wholesalers prepare flowers for use and sale by conditioning – cutting the ends, stripping lower leaves, putting the flowers in water and adding either flower food to encourage opening, or holding solution to delay premature opening. The wholesale and retail environments are also kept cool – under 5 degrees for most flowers except tropical – to maximise length of life. For retailers this usually means a separate coldroom or chiller cabinet – so the shopping atmosphere is pleasant for customers.
At home you can follow AFI’s Six Simple Steps to make your cut flowers last longer :
- Fill your – squeaky clean – vase with room-temp water. It’s easier for flowers to drink if it’s not icy-cold.
- Add the sachet of flower food. No food? Change the water daily for max life. (With food, you can leave it 3-4 days. )
- Strip off all leaves that will be below the water.
- Cut each stem end off, about a thumb’s length, at an angle. With sharp scissors. Each stem is like a bundle of drinking straws. Snipping the end at a 45 degree angle = fresh juicy cells to suck up water = bigger straw to drink through.
- Put the flowers somewhere cool, out of direct sunlight.
- Check the water level after a few days – some flowers are thirsty…
If you follow these Six Simple Steps, it will make your flowers look better, and last longer. So you can enjoy them even more!