“Preserving the First Smiles of Spring. Care and handling tips for spring bulb flowers.”

After a long winter, we grow desperate for any sign of spring: the first mild day, the fi rst robin or the first bulbs breaking through the hardened ground. Tulips, daffodils, Iris and hyacinths – these bulbs represent more than a change of seasons; they represent hope.

If consumers aren’t growing spring bulb flowers, they are buying them to brighten their homes. Making that purchase enjoyable is a florist’s mission, but an experienced florist knows that the vase life of spring bulb flowers can be short. Purchasing flowers at the right stage of development and caring for them properly is critical for vase life – and repeat business.

Purchase Flowers at the Correct Stage of Opening

To help ensure your bulb flowers deliver an optimum consumer experience, look for stems in the following early stages, which will last longer than those already open:
Daffodils (Narcissus) Goose-neck stage. Flowers are showing color and beginning to bend just below the blooms.
Tulips (Tulipa) Buds have color but remain tight.
Iris (Flag, Fleur-de-lis) About 1 inch to 1.5 inches of the flowers are colored but still tight.
Hyacinths (Hyacinthus) One or two florets show color and have opened.

Avoid Ethylene Damage

Ethylene may shorten vase life of some bulb flowers, prevent flower opening and cause early death. Ask your suppliers for only those bulb flowers that have been treated with an anti-ethylene product.

Unpack and Process Immediately

  • Cut 1 inch to 1.5 inches off the stems (except hyacinths – see opposite page).
  •  Place freshly cut stems immediately into clean plastic containers containing a cold commercial bulb flower food. These specially designed products help lower pH, which can reduce microbial growth. They also help keep water flowing up the stems and minimize premature leaf yellowing.
  • Keep bulb flowers tightly wrapped during hydration.
  • Store bulb flowers upright to avoid stem bending.


DO NOT RECUT hyacinths

There is a naturally occurring structure at the base of the hyacinth stem that facilitates better water uptake. Leave it be!

DO NOT MIX daffodils with other flowers.

When cut, daffodil stems emit a substance that is harmful to other flowers. Place freshly cut daffodils in a separate bucket by themselves. After hydrating for six hours or more, daffodils can be mixed with other flowers.

Keep bulb flowers COLD(33 F-36 F).

Cold temperature is key to optimum vase life for bulb flowers. Cold helps slow flower opening and reduce stem elongation. Tulips and hyacinth stems elongate as the flowers age and do so faster at warmer temperatures. Cold also helps reduce ethylene sensitivity.

During bulb-flower season, you will greet a welcome rush of smiling customers, many for the fi rst time. If you want to keep them smiling– and coming back – give them a vibrant long-lasting bulb-flower experience. With smart buying and proper care and handling, you can!

Floralife, a division of Smithers-Oasis, is a worldwide leader in postharvest flower care and handling. Inventors of the fi rst cut flower food in 1938, Floralife has developed products to feed, hydrate, nourish and protect cut flowers at every level in the distribution chain. To learn more about cut flower care and handling, visit floralife.com.