getting the longest life from the favorite flowers of the season.
1 like others, except ... For the
most part, care for cut bulb flowers in the same ways as nonbulb
flowers; some genera, however, do have specific requirements. For
example, when processing Narcissi (daffodils, jonquils, paper-whites,
etc.), follow the procedures on this page, but keep these blooms
separate from other types of bulb flowers for several hours because,
when cut, they exude a gelatinous substance that is detrimental to the
vase life of some other spring bulb flowers, especially tulips. After
that time, the harmful sap will have leached, and the flowers can be
arranged or placed with other blossoms, even if recut again, without
affecting the lives of the other flowers.
2 strip and bathe.
Remove any leaves that would fall below the water line in containers.
Then thoroughly rinse the stems—especially of field-grown flowers—under
tepid (100 F) running water to remove debris.
3 ready to drink.
Remove at least 1 inch from all stem ends—except hyacinths (don’t recut
hyacinth stems) —either under water or in air, with a sharp knife or
pruner, to remove desiccated (dried out) ends and accumulated dirt,
debris and microbes in the stem cells. If cutting flowers under water,
change the water (or flower-food solution) frequently to prevent it from
being contaminated with bacteria.
4 food and hormones.
For best results, place cut bulb flowers in a nutrient solution
formulated especially for bulb flowers. When they are cut from their
bulbs, corms, rhizomes or tubers, these flowers experience hormone
imbalances, and bulb-flower-specific flower-food solutions contain—in
addition to all the ingredients in standard flower-food
solutions—“replacement” hormones. They also have a lower concentration
of sugar, which can aggravate leaf yellowing.
5 second best.
If using a bulb-flower-specific solution is not possible, place flowers
in a standard flower-food solution (a scientifically balanced
formulation of nutrient [sugar], acidifier and bactericide). Although
research shows that some spring bulb flowers, including Irises,
daffodils and tulips, may not benefit greatly from the nutrients (sugar)
in standard flower-food solutions, they do benefit from the biocides,
which limit the growth of harmful stem-plugging microbes; therefore, you
should always use flower foods.
cool and clear. You can achieve
best results by placing cut bulb flowers in cold flower-food solution
prepared with nonfluoridated water. Prepare the solution with cold
water, or make it with warm water and refrigerate it prior to use. Cold
nutrient solutions help keep blooms from opening too quickly.
7 coolness is critical.
After processing cut bulb flowers, place them immediately into a floral
cooler, and allow them to hydrate there for at least two hours before
selling or arranging them. The optimal storage temperature range for
most cut bulb flowers is 33 F to 35 F; however paper-whites (Narcissi)
prefer 36 F to 40 F storage conditions, and amaryllises (Hippeastrums)
require temperatures ranging from 41 F to 50 F. Except for design time,
always keep cut bulb flowers refrigerated until sold or delivered.
8 straighten up.
Storing tulips, daffodils and Irises vertically will encourage straight
stems. Tulips are geotropic, meaning they respond to the forces of
gravity, so storing them in their plastic sleeves can also help prevent
their stems from curving.
9 beating ethyl.
Many bulb flowers are sensitive to
ethylene gas; tulips are about the only exception. Make sure the bulb
flowers you purchase are treated with an ethylene inhibitor at the
grower or wholesaler level or at the point of importation. The grower
level is often the most ideal.
10 move quickly.
Sell all cut spring bulb flowers
within two days of receipt. Flowers held for more than two days lose at
least two days of vase life for each day they are held beyond the two
Photos courtesy of California Cut Flower Commission;
• To read and see more,
to purchase the current issue of Florists' Review.
PO Box 4368
Topeka, KS 66604
©Copyright 2009 Florists'