In an effort to give customers fresh flowers that are as radiant as the moment they were first plucked, florists use an assortment of stay-fresh techniques. While the exact application of these techniques varies slightly from florist to florist, nearly all florists use some variety of these basic practices, be it a small neighborhood florist or a national giant like ProFlowers.
For many florists, the key to keeping flowers fresh is ensuring that they don't sit around long in their shops. While every florist has his own definition of freshness and guidelines in regard to turn-around time, because of the tender beauty of flowers, all must work to order just the right number of each bloom and move them through their stores quickly. They must also practice the principle most commonly associated with food selling: "first in, first out," or FIFO as it is commonly called. To do this, they place older flowers near the front of displays, placing newer, fresher ones behind to ensure that these slightly more elderly blooms are purchased first.
Fresh water is the lifeblood of cut flowers. Just as you keep your flowers submerged in water in a vase at home, florists must keep their stems soaking in water to ensure that the flowers can stand the test of time. Florists must not only ensure that each flower receptacle contains water, but also that that water is fresh.
While nothing can keep flowers fresh forever, flower food can increase the life. Florists often treat the water in which they place their flowers with flower food, dissolving the powder variety of this food or adding drops of liquid nutrients to give their flowers a better chance at a long life.
Though flowers enjoy basking in the sun prior to being cut, once clipped, keeping them cold is a must. Florists often refrigerate their blooms to allow them to last longer. Some floral delivery companies use refrigerated vans so their blooms stay chilled until they arrive at recipients' doors.