Post harvest cares is all too often looked at a nuisance or an added expense in the busy, cash strapped environment of the average retail flower shop. After all, it takes time and costs money yet the results are not always immediately visible, the reality is that flowers are the stock and trade of any retail flower shop. How you care for your flowers can and will have a dramatic impact on your bottom line. How so?

1) Reduced Waste - That's right,  studies have proven that proper post harvest care can result in your throwing less of your flowers in the trash bin each week. Proper post harvest care is more than just throwing a spoonful of powder into your flower pails. Using the proper solutions to maintain a clean environment in your shop will inhibit the growth of bacteria, a killer for fresh flowers. Reducing bacteria in combination with the proper amount of fresh flower food at the right stages will result in less of your hard earned cash ending up in the garbage. Remember, unless you are getting your flowers free, every stem might as well have a dollar bill (or fraction of one ) attached to it.

2) Increased Customer Satisfaction - The holy grail, happy customers who are raving fans, the best advertising possible. One of the things that will help you achieve this status with your customers is how your flowers "perform" in their homes and offices. It's not enough to be a great floral designer if the flowers you utilize wilt or shed within days of purchase. In conjunction with your sourcing the freshest product this is where proper post harvest care comes in. Seriously, why would any florist pay for quality product if they don't intend to care for it properly. Flowers like every other living thing need the right levels of nutrition to survive and flourish. This is even more important in the case of cut flowers which once cut from the mother plant lose their original source of nutrition. As florists it is our job to replace that nutrition to ensure maximum longevity of the product.

Sound simple enough, however it takes diligence, effort, and a working knowledge of the post harvest care products that have been specifically designed for the retail flower industry.

So, what does all of this care and handling cost?
Surprisingly just a few pennies per sale and a small amount of effort. Think of it as an investment in the long term success of your business, as an insurance policy.

When it comes to proper cut flower post harvest care here are a number of key points .
  • Always start with the freshest flowers available, even the best post harvest products can not reverse time. Old is simply old and there is no off the shelf cure for that.

  • Bacteria is the enemy, ensure that you are keeping it at bay by maintaining a good cleaning regiment. Two products that work well are Chrysal Cleaner or Floralife DCD Cleaner. Don't spare the elbow grease.Treat your flower shop like your kitchen and be vigilant about cleaning, bacteria is no safer for cut flowers than it is for you.

  • Maintain the proper temperature and humidity level in your cooler. A warm dry cooler will do more harm to your flowers than any commercially available post harvest care solution can resolve. Maintain a temperature range of 34º - 38ºF, and a humidity level upwards of 90%. If you don't have a thermometer and humistat in your cooler make acquiring both a priority.
  • One size DOES NOT fit all when it comes to fresh flower post harvest care products! Each product is designed for a particular need, product, and a specific stage of its life cycle. So while Chrysal Professional 2 Liquid or Professional 2 T-Bags is an ideal product as a "holding or storage" solution it is not intended to go home with your customers. For that stage of a flowers life you need to switch to a product such as Chrysal Professional 3 Liquid which is specifically designed to "wake up" flowers for the consumers enjoyment.

  • Last but not least. Don't scrimp on the amount of flower food you send home with your customers, and always provide them with care instructions. What your customer does in their home or office will play a major role in how long the flower last for their enjoyment, and ultimately how they judge your product. Often at this stage it is easy to fall victim to the false economy of saving a few cents (and it truly is a few cents) on a sale by only including 1 package of flower food when the product leaves your shop.Resist the temptation and again, think of it as a very small invest in your future success. An excellent product to send home with your customers is Chrysal Clear Universal Flower Food.