This time of year, whether we are shopping, driving down the street or spending time at home, we see the world delightfully decked out in festive holiday fashion with fresh-cut flowers and evergreens. The best way to keep your fresh materials flourishing for the longest possible time is to follow care and handling best practices. Here are a few simple pointers to help keep your seasonal flowers and greens vibrant.
Evergreens are the base for most holiday designs, so take extra care to treat them properly. Doing so will give them the best chance to remain fresh throughout the holiday season.
• Fresh and cool. Buy local, when possible, and as close to the time you will need them as you can. Store them in a floral cooler, at 34 F to 38 F, until you are ready to use them. Evergreens can last in dry storage for several weeks when stored at the right temperature and humidity level.
• Put your coat on. Before you begin adding fresh cuts or other adornments to your arrangements, spray on a thin coat of FloraLife ® Evergreens Spray on the evergreens, for the longest-lasting greens possible. This ready-to-use spray is safe for all fresh evergreens. Drying clear with no pesky residue, this liquid shield aids in holding in moisture, resulting in less needle drop. Perfect for use with cut evergreens, wreaths, garlands and trees, it reduces drying, browning and wilting, providing optimal longevity and color vibrancy. There is also a dip application. After you apply the product, allow 30 minutes drying time at room temperature before putting the treated evergreens or finished designs into a floral cooler.
• Environment is everything. Keep fresh-cut greens, wreaths and garlands away from extreme heat, cold, and drafts. This will help the greens not have to work as hard to stay hydrated.
• The great outdoors. Displaying evergreens outdoors is naturally easier with cooler temperatures. If you are displaying designs indoors that include lighting, be sure to use LED lights, which are cooler, and avoid using open-flame candles whenever possible.
• Additional tips and tricks. Holly foliage and holly berries add a gorgeous touch to holiday designs, but they are ethylene sensitive. Make sure that your supplier has treated any holly you buy with an ethylene action inhibitor such as EthylBloc TM prior to delivery to your operation, and use a hydration solution (Floralife ® HydraFlor ® 100 or Floralife ® Quick Dip) to prevent desiccation (dehydration), which causes leaves and berries to drop.
FRESH CUT FLOWERS Among the popular flowers for holiday designs are roses, lilies, spray and disbud Chrysanthemum, carnations, Protea and amaryllis. Hypericum, thistles, Gypsophila, curly willow and birch branches provide the perfect seasonal accents for stunning designs. Care and handling are always front of mind when preparing your flowers for design, and the best flowers start with best practices. Here are 11.
1. Start with a clean bucket or container, sanitized with a floral cleaner such as FloraLife ® D.C.D. ® Cleaner. Use it on every single surface, tool and work area every time you clean.
2. Fill buckets with cool water mixed with flower-food solution according to manufacturer’s recommendation. Use clean, good quality water, and do not use soft water because the salt levels can damage flowers. Use a dosing unit that is properly calibrated, or hand-mix the solution according to label instructions.
3. Remove any foliage that would fall below the solution level in storage and arrangement containers.
4. Recut stems, removing approximately 1 inch from the bottom of each stem, using clean and sanitized clippers or a knife—unless you use FloraLife ® Express, the no-cut technology.
5. For best results when processing dry-pack flowers or when reprocessing flowers, recut the stems, and dip them into an instant hydrating treatment such as Floralife ® Quick Dip to jump-start hydration and ensure free-flowing stems. This is a must for roses and Gerbera, to help prevent bent necks.
6. Place recut flowers immediately into containers previously prepared with flower-food solution.
7. Allow the flowers to hydrate for a minimum of two hours, and place buckets in an area with good airflow.
8. Avoid getting water on blooms; this can cause Botrytis (a gray mold fungus) to develop.
9. Check water levels in storage containers daily, and add water with flower-food solution as needed.
10. Avoid displaying cut flowers nearing extreme heat or cold, drafts, or ripening fruit or vegetables.
11. Always remember FIFO (first in, first out) when rotating flowers.