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Flower Care

We suggest these simple care tips to keep your flowers fresh and beautiful.

  1. It is very important to bring your flowers indoor as soon as they are delivered. If this is not immediately possible, make sure you place your flower box in a cool place. Flowers need to be cut and placed in water as soon as possible. Once cut and in water they may be stored at room temperature as long as they are kept away from heat or cold sources and out of direct sunlight.

  2. Before you unpack your flowers, choose a work area that includes a table or counter top and a floor that can resist water. Have handy garden shears, durable scissors or pruners and several empty containers/buckets.

  3. When you are ready, open the box(es) and begin by carefully unpacking the flowers bunch by bunch, without removing the wrappers protecting the flower buds. Keep in mind that each bunch has several flowers and some type of flowers are packed in two layers within the bunch (rose bunches have 13 stems in the upper layer and 12 stems in the lower layer, or 12 and 13).

  4. Prepare containers/buckets by filling them with room temperature water. Pour in and mix the enclosed floral food packets provided with each flower order. The floral food has been shown to increase the life of fresh flowers by several days. Save some floral food for when you change the water in a few days. If by any unfortunate circumstance your flowers don't come with the flower food to not panic. You can replace it with either a soda (Sprite works well because is clear) or just plain sugar. One tea spoon of sugar for 25 to 50 stems is good enough. Just be sure you change the water every other day.

  5. Cut each stem one inch from the bottom or to your desire length. Be sure to remove any leaves that may fall below the water line to prevent bacteria from forming. Floral food provided and enclosed with each order will also help to limit bacteria growth. Rinse the bottom part of the stems before placing them in water.

  6. Place flowers immediately in your prepared water-filled containers. Ideally, the wrappers that protect the buds should be kept on while the flowers are hydrating. Hydration occurs anywhere between four and ten hours (you can leave them on up to 24 hours). Be sure to carefully remove the wrappers after hydration occurs.

  7. It takes about 24- 36 hours for the true color of each flower to develop. To ensure longer lasting flowers, continue to keep them out of direct sunlight and away from heat. Change the water and cut flower stems one inch every other day. Each time you change the water, add more floral food (or sugar) and be sure that no leaves sit below the water level.

  8. Please keep in mind that roses have 3 to 5 guard petals. These, in many varieties, are of a different color than the true color of the rose. For example, white roses may have green guard petals and red roses have dark red or black borders. You can remove them once the flowers start to bloom. Or you can leave them on for a more natural garden look.

  9. With the passage of time, give your flowers a "face-lift" every couple of days by gently removing any discolored petals and yellow leaves from your flowers.

  10. Enjoy.

Flower Descriptions


Botanical Name Anemone spp.

Consumer Life 4-8 days

Brightly colored in deep reds, blues, purples, and white, anemones have rather short stems, and are typically a spring flower. Anemone is an ancient Greek name meaning windflower from anemos for wind.


Botanical Name Anthurium andraeanum

Consumer Life 10-45 days depending on cultivar, and posthar- vest handling

With their brilliant glossy spathes (the brightly colored ornamental part of the flower), and slender spadices, anthuri- ums are classic tropical flowers. New cultivars provide a wide range of colors and forms, and their vase life can be very long. The elegant blooms of this tropi- cal aroid are produced and sold throughout the world. The true flowers are found on the spadix, the upright organ in the center of the spathe, which is the decorative petal- like organ surrounding the spadix.


Botanical Name Asparagus spp.

Consumer Life 6-14 days

Asparagus fern (A. setaceus and other species in the genus Asparagus) are probably better known in the floral trade as A. plumosus or plumosus fern, and provide an interesting foliage and filler for arrangements. These species are not true ferns but are members of the lily family, in the same genus as edible asparagus. Asparagus densiflorus Sprengeri group is another common filler foliage.


Botanical Name Aster spp.

Consumer Life 5-10 plus days

The family Asteraceae, and the genus Aster include numerous species and cultivars used in horticulture. A. ericoides Monte Casino is particularly important in the florist trade. Another important aster for florists is the China aster, Callistephus chinensis.


Botanical Name Gypsophila paniculata

Consumer Life 5-10 plus days

A favorite for use in bouquets and dried flower arrangements, gypsophila is most often field grown. The flowers are sensitive to water deficit and intense sun- light, and will brown and shrivel easily if subjected to these stress conditions. Gypsophila is Greek for gypsum-loving in ref- erence to this species good growth performance in high cal- cium soils.


Botanical Name Strelitzia reginae

Consumer Life 7-14 days

The bird of paradise inflores- cence consists of a boat-shaped bract containing a series of 4 or5 flowers, so when an exposed flower withers, another one can be pulled out. .ew cut flowers have this capability.


Botanical Name Bouvardia spp.

Consumer Life 7-14 days

Bouvardia flowers are a relative- ly recent addition to the florist s palette. Their bright salmon, red, and white color range and interesting flower form offer interesting design possibilities. The genus is named after Charles Bouvard, 1572-1658, who was physician to Louis XIII and superintendent of the Royal Gardens in Paris.


Botanical Name Zantedeschia spp.

Consumer Life Calla flowers last 4 - 8 plus days in the vase.

The showy spathe is a leaf- like organ that surrounds the true flowers, the thick, fleshy spadix. The genus is named for .rancesco Zantedeschia who wrote about Italian plants around1825. Although often called calla lilies, these flowers are not related to the lily.


Botanical Name Dianthus caryophyllus

Consumer Life 6-14 plus days

The genus name, Dianthus, derives from the Greek for flower of love. Carnations used to be called clove gilly- flowers in reference to their intense clove-like aroma. Some modern cultivars are very fra- grant and are used to make per- fumes.


Botanical Name Dendranthema x grandiflorum

Consumer Life 7-14 plus days

Less important than formerly, but still an important cut flower, chrysanthemums (which come in a wide range of colors and forms, including standard and spray, or pompon) have a long postharvest life when properly handled. The chief postharvest problems in these flowers are failure to draw water (which results in premature leaf wilting) and leaf yellowing. Chrysanthemum is Greek for golden flower.


Botanical Name Narcissus cvs.

Consumer Life 4-6 days

Daffodils, symbols of spring and known for their bright yellow, orange, red, pink, and white colors, are garden favorites world- wide. Unfortunately, these flowers have relatively short vase lives that cannot as yet be increased substantially with standard postharvest treatments.

Narcissus is a classical Latin name, from the Greek; perhaps as the origin suggests, an allusion to narcotic properties. It is not clear whether it was named after the youth Narcissus in mythology.


Botanical Name Delphinium, Consolida spp.

Consumer Life4-12 days

The tall spikes of delphinium and the smaller spikes of lark- spur are important accent flowers, with colors ranging from white through pink, purple and blue.


Botanical Name Chamaedorea spp.

Consumer Life 7-20 plus days depending on quality, time of year, and source of the fronds.

Chamaedorea is a small-leaved member of the palm family with leaves that perform well in the vase. Three other members of the palm family (coconut, date-palm, and oil-palm) make up the commercially important species for food consumption in North America.


Botanical Name Eucalyptus spp.

Consumer Life20-plus days

The silvery-green leaves of the juvenile form of Eucalyptus pul- verulenta are a very popular foliage item, used in fresh and dried form. A number of other species of Eucalyptus also are used as cut foliage. Eucalyptus is Greek for well and lid, refer- ring to the sepals and petals which are united to form a cap that is shed when the flower opens, revealing the showy colored stamens.


Botanical Name Abies, Picea, and Pinus, spp.

Consumer Life May easily last 2 weeks in the vase.

fir, spruce and pine are all members of the pine family(Pinaceae). The 200 plus species are noted for producing resins, lumber and numerous ornamental landscape species. As foliage, mature branches are long lasting, provide a piney fragrance, and are very often used in holiday arrangements in the Christmas season.


Botanical Name Freesia x cvs.

Consumer Life4-12 days

Native to South Africa, the single or double flowers range in colors from yellow, orange, red, bronze, to purple. Some cultivars retain the delightful fragrances that are common in gar- den freesias. The genus was named for Dr. .reese (1785-1876), a native of Kiel, Germany and a student of South African plants.


Botanical Name Gerbera jamesonii and hybrids.

Consumer Life7-18 days when new cultivars are used.

Cut gerbera flowers, known for their remarkable variety in coloration and form, are an increasingly important part of the florists palette. Their postharvest life can be substantial if they are given proper postharvest conditions, but they are sensitive to gravity, to light, and to bacterial contamination of the vase solution. Originally spelled Gerberia, the genus was named after Traug Gerber, a German naturalist.


Botanical Name Alpinia zerumbet, Alpinia purpurata

Consumer Life6 to 14 days, varies greatly by species and cultivar

The ginger flowers represent a range of species and genera from the tropics that include the plants producing the edible ginger rhizome. One of the common lei flowers used in Hawaii is white-ginger. Torch ginger flowers are spectacular spikes of red flowers that give an especially tropical impact in arrangements. The genus is named after the Italian botanist Prosper Alpinus.


Botanical Name Gladiolus cvs., hybrids

Consumer Life 6-10 days

Still an important commercial cut flower despite a substantial decline in production in recent years, gladiolus responds well to proper postharvest management. The smaller-flowered and butterfly cultivars, as well as modern standards in a variety of colors and forms have helped transform this often stereotypic funeral flower into a contemporary favorite that can be an important accent flower in arrangements. Gladiolus is Latin for small sword, in reference to the sword-shaped leaves. Modern day gladioli are the results of hybridization pro- grams, using South African species that commenced in Belgium around 1841.


Botanical Name Heliconia humilis, Heliconia psittacorum

Consumer Life7-14 plus days depending on species and cultivar

The varied and fantastic forms and rich colors of the different species of Heliconia make them an important florist item, particularly prized for large and signature arrangements. Heliconia is named after Mount Helicon, the seat of the Muses, the nine goddesses of the arts and sciences in Greek mythology. Like their god Apollo, the Muses supposedly remained young and beautiful forever like the long-lasting and elegant flowers of Heliconia. Lobster claw and Crab s claw are additional common names for flowers in this genus.


Botanical Name Ilex spp.

Consumer Life5-14 plus days depending on fruit presence. Holly without berries will last longer.

Evergreen shrubs, hedges and small trees prized for their holiday-season dark green leaves and bright red fruits. The plants carry female and male flowers on separate trees, and are there- fore termed dioeciously . Thus, only the female plants are harvested for specimens possessing fruit.


Botanical Name Vaccinium ovatum

Consumer Life20 plus days

Huckleberry is native to the Western coast in areas from northern California to British Columbia. Vaccinium is the ancient Latin name for blueberry, and the specific epithet ovatum refers to the oval leaf shape of this species.


Botanical Name Iris cvs., hybrids

Consumer Life3-6 days

Because of their intense yellow, blue, and purple colors, and the elegant shape of their flowers and foliage, bulbous (Dutch) Iris are in considerable demand as cut flowers. Unfortunately, they are also one of the shortest- lived of the commercial cut flowers, and may not even open if handled improperly or held too long before sale. In recent years, other iris species, especially the flag or German iris which have even shorter vase life, have also been used in the trade. Iris is Greek for rainbow in reference to the range of flower colors.


Botanical Name Rumohra adiantiformis

Consumer Life7-15 plus days

By far the most popular cut foliage for use in arrangements, with year-round availability and good display life. Leather leaf fern is grown in shade-houses under sub-tropical conditions. The specific epithet adiantiformis indicates the similarity to the fronds of Adiantum, the maidenhair fern. The Greek adianton means unwettablea reference to the fact that fern fronds shed water. It is probably the most commonly used floral green.


Botanical Name Gaultheria shallon

Consumer Life14 plus days

A hardy, long-lived cut foliage, salal was named for Dr. Gaultier, a physician from Quebec in about 1750.


Botanical Name Liatris pycnostachya, L. spicata

Consumer Life 6-14 days

The specific epithet pycnos- tachya means thick-spiked in reference to the flowers while spicata means spike. L. spicata is the taller of the two species. Native to the prairies of North America, Liatris was developed as a cut flower in Israel. The bright purple spikes provide interesting texture and line in arrangements, and can open fully if properly treated after harvest.


Botanical Name Agapanthus africanus

Consumer Life 6-12 days

Agapanthus is Greek for love flower . The globose heads of Agapanthus are a pleasing accent for spring and early-summer arrangements, providing an alternative source of blue. The most common flower color is blue, but white cultivars are also available. Miniature, dark blue ( Storm Cloud ) and reduced- shatter cultivars have been developed.


Botanical Name Lilium spp.

Consumer Life4-11 days, depending on species and cultivar

Lilies have long been popular as garden flowers, prized for their stately beauty, and potted white lilies are a tradition in countries that celebrate Easter or Christmas. The brightly colored flowers of the hybrid lily cultivars have become increasingly popular as cut flowers and have excellent vase life, especially if pretreated to prevent the effects of ethylene. Buds open well if provided with fresh flower food. Lilium is from the Greek word lirion, used in the naming of certain subdivisions of the genus.


Botanical Name Eustoma grandiflora

Consumer Life Properly pretreated, or with an adequate fresh flower food, the flowers are long-lived in the vase

(10 to 14 days). Each stem bears in excess of 8-10 buds and flowers, and several of the larger buds should open in the vase.

Introduced into cultivation from the prairies of Texas, production of lisianthus has increased dramatically in recent years, spurred by the development, largely in Japan, of excellent cultivars in a wide range of colors, and single and double forms.


Botanical Name Argyranthemum frutescens

Consumer Life 4-7 days

The white or yellow flowers of margeurite daises are produced year-round outdoors in frost- free areas of California. Borne on a perennial bush, the flowers have long been an inexpensive staple in the florist trade, often dip-dyed to provide different colors for special holiday occasions. Their postharvest life is relatively long, but often limited by wilting or yellowing of the foliage. The specific epithet frutescens means bushy.


Botanical Name Cattleya, Cymbidium,cvs. and hybrids

Consumer Life 10-16 plus days

Additional genera in the plant family Orchidaceae are Dendrobium, Phalaenopsis, Vanda and Paphiopedilum. In addition to their exotic forms and colors, one of the principal attractions of cut orchid flowers is their outstanding longevity. Even out of water, an orchid flower will last for an evening in a corsage. Spikes of cymbidiums will often last a month in a vase.


Botanical Name Alstroemeria cvs., hybrids

Consumer Life6 to 14 plus days (varies greatly by cultivar)

In the last twenty years, the flowers of various commercial hybrids of species of the genus Alstroemeria, variously called Alstroemeria, Peruvian Lily, or Lily of the Incas, have become an increasingly important part of the commercial cut flower trade. The flowers come in a variety of types and colors. All have a long postharvest life, typically terminated by petal wilting and/or drop and yellowing of the leaves. The Swedish Consul in Spain,KIas Alstroemer, had seeds of this species brought to Europe in1754. The famous plant taxonomist Carl Linnaeus, a friend of Alstroemer, subsequently named the species after him.


Botanical Name Proteaceae Family

Consumer Life8-16 plus days depending on species and cultivar

The family Proteaceae includes a diverse range of species of trees and shrubs from southern Africa and Australia whose branches and flowers are used for foliage and as cut flowers. The flowers are normally bird pollinated, and produce copious amounts of nectar, explaining the old Afrikaans name of sugar bush. The family name refers to the diversity of forms of the flowers. Additional genera are Banksia, Leucospermum, and Leucodendron.


Botanical Name Rosa cvs., hybrids

Consumer Life Properly handled, and given an effective fresh flower food, roses will give a display life of 4-12 days depending on cultivar.

The rose undoubtedly remains the queen of the cut flowers. The historical association of this flower with romance and beauty ensures that roses will continue to be a highly desired cut flower in the future. Properly handled, most of the commercial cut roses will easily last in the vase for 10 days.

Unfortunately, many consumers consider roses to have a very short vase life. This is partly because poor water uptake by certain cultivars of purchased roses all too often results in the symptom called bent neck in which the flower neck wilts, and the bud fails to open. In addition, many commercial cultivars are quite sensitive to ethylene gas. Proper postharvest care for those cultivars susceptible to bent neck and appropriate pre-treatment of those that are sensitive to ethylene will increase vase life and should improve consumer view- point.


Botanical Name Antirrhinum majus cvs. Antirrhinum is Greek for "like" and "nose" in reference to the flower shape.

Consumer Life 5 to 8 days (varies greatly by cultivar)

The many pastel flower colors of the tall spikes of snapdragons allow florists and consumers innumerable design options. Snapdragons used to be considered very sensitive to ethylene, but the newer cultivars have been selected for ethylene resistance, and ethylene normally causes a problem only when pre- sent in moderate concentrations. .lower drop (shattering) occurs in 24 hours if ethylene is present in the air at concentrations of 0.5 ppm or more.


Botanical Name Limonium sp., Goniolimon

Consumer Life 4-8 plus days. Even when the flowers have dried, statice still works as a satisfactory 'filler', and often has good disqualities longer than all the other items in an arrangement.

A traditional filler flower, the standard statice (Limonium sinuate) comes in a range of pastel colors, and is widely used both fresh and dried. Other species of Limonium are sold in the trade as german , latifolia , sea foam and caspia statice. Hybrid Limonium cultivars, grown from tissue culture, have become very popular in recent years. Their vase life is greatly improved by pretreatments to prevent the effects of ethylene and to improve bud opening.


Botanical Name Matthiola incana

Consumer Life5-8 days

A very traditional field flower with spikes of aromatic flowers in a wide range of colors, stock continues to be a staple floristry item. Somewhat sensitive to ethylene and prone to bacterial contamination of the vase solution, stock flowers respond to proper postharvest care. The species is named after Dr. Peter Andrew Maithili, an Italian physician and botanist, 1500 to 1577. The specific epithet incana means hoary (hairy) in reference to the plant s whitish fuzz or hair.


Botanical Name Helianthus annuus

Consumer Life6-12 days

In recent years, smaller cultivars of sunflower have become a very popular florist item, and a range of forms and colors are now widely available in the trade. Helianthus is derived from the Greek helios, the sun, and anthos, a flower.


Botanical Name Lathyrus odoratus

Consumer Life Properly pre-treated and handled, sweet peas can give a display life of up to 7 days.

Once important cut flowers, prized for their aroma and range of colors, sweet peas benefit substantially from anti-ethylene pretreatments. The specific name odoratus means sweet smelling. Combined with a sugar pulse, treatment with STS or 1-MCP enables these delicate flowers to be harvested at an earlier stage when the flowers are less susceptible to damage, and to give as much as a week of display life.


Botanical Name Dianthus barbatus

Consumer Life5-9 days

A close relative of carnation, normally grown in the field, Sweet William flowers are borne on a short-stemmed inflores- cence. Colors range from white through intense red and purple, and provide strong accents in an arrangement. The specific epithet barbatus means bearded or barbed in reference to the beard-like growth emerging from the petals.


Botanical Name Polianthes tuberosa

Consumer Life Tuberose flowers that have been properly pre-treated can last 7-10 days in an arrangement.

Spikes of ivory flowers much prized in the East for their fragrance and by western florists for accents and bridal bouquets, tuberose flowers bear as many as 50 florets, in pairs, on a tall spike. The postharvest life of these flowers typically is limited by failure of developing buds to open, so that the life is deter- mined by the life of the flowers that were open at harvest. Proper pre-treatments can greatly extend the life of tuberose, and should routinely be carried out with flowers intended for storage and transport.


Botanical Name Tulipa cvs., hybrids

Consumer Life3-6 days

Tulips, one of the classical cut flowers, were the source of tremendous interest when they were first brought to Holland from the Mediterranean countries where they are native. The most common species, Tulipa gesnerana, was named after C. Gesner, a botanist who lived from 1516-1565.


Botanical Name Chamelaucium uncinaturn

Consumer Life5-10 days when pre-treated with STS or 1-MCP

A native to Western Australia, the 'Geraldton' wax flower is available in shades of white through deep purple, and has become an important "filler" material. It is produced in substantial quantities in Israel and more recently in Australia and California. Various techniques have been developed to manipulate the flowering season, and the availability of substantial volumes from the Southern Hemisphere makes wax flower an item that is commonly avail- able in the trade. The specific epithet "uncinatum" means hooked at the point, in reference to the leaves which are hooked at their ends. The crushed leaves give a pleasing citrus aroma.


Botanical Name x Solidaster luteus

Consumer Life7-10 days

The x prior to the generic name indicates that this species is an inter-generic hybrid, name- ly, the result of two different genera (Aster and Solidago) crossing. The specific epithet luteus means yellow. Originated in the Leonard Lille Nursery located in Lyon, France (1910).