Cut flowers come to the florist shops of America from all over the nation and the world. Although some retail florists may order flowers direct from the grower, most purchase from a local wholesaler who buys in large quantities from flower growers worldwide. By the time cut flowers reach the local flower shop, they may have traveled by airplane, truck, and bus, all within a few days. Some of the transport will have been refrigerated; some will not have been. The flowers must be attended to immediately on arrival or the perishable product may be lost, and with it the florist’s investment.

Flowers arriving from a wholesaler are usually bound in bunches or clusters. The blossoms may be wrapped in waxed paper sleeves to prevent damage, and the clusters may be shipped in special boxes that reduce crushing and permit some air circulation. If you recognize the logic behind them, the steps to take when flowers arrive at the flower shop are easy to remember. The cut flowers must receive:

1. nutrition for continued good health

2. water to prevent wilting

3. cool temperatures to slow their metabolic activity and prolong their lives

Therefore, cut flowers first are unpacked carefully. Their bases are then recut on an angle to expose fresh vascular tissue for maximum water uptake. (NOTE: In addition, gladiolus and chrysanthemum stem ends may be crushed with a hammer to facilitate water absorption.) The freshly cut stems are immediately placed into disinfected containers filled approximately one-third full with fresh water containing a flower



Typical shape


The height of the container is greater than its width. It is not pedestal but is used for vertical designs.



The width of the container is greater than the height. It is often used for table arrangements.



The container is elevated on a base that may be short – or long-stemmed. It is useful when a tall arrangement is needed yet the mass of a vase container is not desired.



The styles and materials vary, and they are used for both vertical and horizontal designs. The designs are usually informal in style.


These are limitless in possibilities. Care should be taken to assure that they do not overpower the design.


figure 7-5. Common container types for floral arrangements (Delmar/Cengage Learning)

preservative. The preservative contains nutritional sugar plus an anti­biotic to prevent bacterial plugging of the vascular tissue. Flower con­tainers should not be overfilled with water or the stems may become waterlogged or even start to rot. Warm water is preferable to cold because the flowers can absorb it more quickly. After several hours in water at room temperature, the flowers should be turgid and ready to be cooled. They are then placed into the cooler, usually kept between 38° and 40°F.

Updated: September 28, 2015 — 2:15 am