Flowers in Bloom
Remedies for the Enterprising Florist
A florist's career is one you can be truly thankful for. Many gripe over their own jobs, on how mundane and repetitive things get, working and living for the weekend. It's a different story with florists, though. For one thing, you won't make it if you can't keep flowers nourished and in bloom, days after these were cut and arranged. There's no room for wannabes here, and you're either a good or a bad (eventually
bankrupt) florist. This shouldn't discourage anyone with an ambition for the vocation, though. If you have a green thumb with an herb or flower garden to back it up, then you just might well make it as a florist, arranging bouquets for weddings, anniversaries, and all the just-because occasions in between.
Home Remedies Will Do
You can ensure the longevity of cut flowers in a variety of ways, most of which you're probably familiar with. The one thing you have to remember: flowers are living things that require nourishment, especially now that you've severed stalks, blooms, stems from their life source. De-mineralized water is ideal for cut flowers, especially in a business, which relies on goods with extended shelf life. Tap water will do, so long as it isn't hard water (leaving white deposits at the bottom of pots and at the mouth of faucets) or soft (sodium solutions). De-mineralized water doesn't interact with the enzymes in the stems and blooms, allowing you to keep flowers in perfect display for more than a week. Cut the stem ends at a diagonal, submerged in water to ensure air doesn't bubble up into the stalks. Cut the stems before you transfer these into a vase, and trim the ends every day to prevent rot. You can try out plenty of home remedies to extend the life of cut flowers, most of these using items found in the kitchen cupboard. For starters, mix a flower-food solution with one part lemon-lime soda to three parts water, with a fourth of a teaspoon of laundry bleach to improve the color (for presentation).
You can also mix two tablespoons of real, squeezed lemon juice, a tablespoon of sugar, and a fourth of a teaspoon of laundry bleach to one quart of water, with similar results. Add the same amount of bleach every four days to maintain the clarity of the solution. If all else fails, use commercial preservatives instead. Though not as effective as the homemade solutions recommended, there's less fuss in the preparation. Note that aspirin and vinegar aren't potent enough to provide favorable results. You'll waste money (and expectations) with remedies not really worth the effort.
Mind the Temperature
Flowers quickly deteriorate in high temperatures, so it's best to cut these in the morning, or in air-conditioned environment. Keep the arrangements and vases away from sources of heat, radiators, sunlit areas, or fireplaces. The shop should be amply shaded at the very least, preferably indoors and air-conditioned. Mist the petals and buds regularly with cool water to prevent wilting, and immediately remove vegetation from the vase. The water turns rancid with rot, and microorganisms fester and will eat their way into the stalks. You don't want your investment wasted due to sheer neglect. Cut flowers last as long as you keep these in sanitary vases and fresh solutions, also by preventing rot to enter the stalk and reach the bud.