Exotic flowers come in a variety of colors and scents for us to enjoy in our homes and gardens! The most beautiful of which may very well be the blue rose. Some believe the blue rose signifies mystery or attaining the impossible and able to grant the owner youth or wishes. Most flowers carry a symbolic meaning some through the color others by the type of flower chosen. Flowers are part of our every day lives as well as part of our ceremonial traditions.

The practice of displaying cut flowers and preserving flowers is a pleasurable tradition for many. The care and keeping of such beauty takes a delicate touch. The initial quality and care of the flowers is crucial to their long standing beauty once cut. Flowers may be harvested at any given stage of maturity. Some flowers such as roses, carnations, chrysanthemums, snapdragons and others may have an extended shelf life if they are harvested in the tight-bud stage. Other flowers, however, must be completely developed before being cut to capture their full beauty.

Once received, one of the most effective ways to ensure that your cut flowers maintain their beauty for a maximum time span is to re-cut the flower stems. Best results will be yielded if at least 1 inch of the stem is removed as well as any foliage which would not be above the water line. The most effective method is to cut them at an angle under warm running water then place them in a plastic container of warm water with a floral preservative. Sugar will provide energy for the flowers, Citric acid will act as an acidifier and bleach will help prevent bacteria growth.

Following are six alternative, homemade, floral preservatives:

昈ne quarter carbonated beverage to one vase warm water.

昈ne cap full of hydrogen peroxide each time the water is changed.

昈ne part lemon lime soda to 3 parts of water.

旳 mixture of one tablespoon sugar, two tablespoons lemon juice, and one quarter teaspoon bleach added to vase of water.

昑wo tablespoons of sugar mixed with two tablespoons of white vinegar added to one vase of warm water.

旽alf warm water, half Sprite or 7UP (50/50) plus one and a half teaspoons of regular household bleach

If your water contains high levels of fluoride this may cause damage to the flowers. For optimal results de-ionized water is recommended (de-ionized water is similar to distilled water). If de-ionized water is not available, be sure to use the highest quality of water available.
Flowers should be sent in carefully prepared packages and by the quickest delivery method. Care should also be taken to the temperature of the flowers during delivery keeping in mind the amount of time they may potentially spend in the packaging.

Heavier flowers should be individually wrapped and packaged separately or placed on the bottom to prevent them from damaging other lighter, more delicate flowers. Roses, most often, are packaged with ice/gel packs or packed wet in the boxes if being transported by highway trailer. The Society of American Florists and the Produce Marketing Association recommends standard fiberboard box sizes to reduce the large number of various containers and packs, provide better stacking and utilization of the standard 1016 x 1219 mm (40 x 48 in) pallet, and increase overall efficiency in distribution.

The goal of the florist should be to minimize time the flowers are in storage and to maximize the freshness of the flowers in the hands of consumers. Best results can be obtained if your flowers are purchased direct from the grower and shipped overnight to their destination.