How to Keep Your Flowers Fresh in Their Coolers

How to Keep Your Flowers Fresh in Their Coolers

Posted by | 01-12-2020

In recent times, the plant and flower industry in the U.S. has seen significant growth. In 2021, this sector flourished with a market valuation of about $17.17 billion, marking an uptick from the $16.15 billion noted the previous year. With such a booming industry, proper storage and maintenance of flowers have become even more critical.

U.S. plant and flower growing industry market size 2012-2022

Image Courtesy: Statista.com

This leads us to the question: Can you put flowers in a cooler? Keeping cut flowers fresh and extending their lifespan is crucial, especially when considering the value and volume of the industry. Using a cooler can be one of the methods to ensure that flowers remain vibrant and maintain their beauty for a longer duration. Let's delve deeper into the benefits and considerations of this practice.

Can You Put Flowers in a Cooler?

The smell of fresh flowers can easily transport anyone to a meadow or garden — precisely the experience flower shops aim to provide. Florists work hard to keep cut flowers fresh, pleasantly scented, and colorful to delight clients. 

The key to pulling this off is knowing the various blooms’ storage requirements so that you can ensure their temperature requirements are met. This is especially important for the most freshly cut flowers, which require cold temperatures to maintain their shape, texture, color, and scent. 

Florists need trustworthy commercial coolers for utmost freshness and vibrancy to maintain clean and stable climate-controlled storage. Unlike regular refrigerators, commercial floral coolers are specially designed to store cut flowers of the same kind of similar variety and optimize temperatures for blooms with slightly different storage requirements. All you need to do is store cut flower stems properly inside these coolers to maintain their freshness.

CAN YOU PUT FLOWERS IN A COOLER? Our Experts Answer Your Question!

Know Your Blooms

Not all freshly cut flowers are the same — some require either cooler or warmer temperatures. While most flowers can be safely stored in commercial coolers and benefit from cold temperatures, tropical blooms like ginger blossoms, orchids, and anthuriums won’t do well in the cold. Instead, they require warmer room temperatures to mimic their natural environments.

A rule of thumb for all flowers is to keep them away from fruits and other vegetation. As much as possible, assign commercial coolers solely for flowers to prevent cross-contamination.

Use Vases with Cool Water

Once flowers are cut, they need a steady water supply to stay hydrated for sale in a corsage, bouquet, or other floral arrangements. Before placing them inside a commercial cooler, fill vases with cold water. Put loose flowers in these, or preserve them in their original packaging if delivered pre-arranged for corsages and bouquets.

Remember to only select vases made of safe materials — plastic containers are preferred over metal to avoid altering the crucial pH balance of the water and the preservative qualities of hydrating solutions.

Maintain Consistent Commercial Cooler Temperatures

Freshly cut flowers need to stay cool, which means colder than average room temperature. It’s why flowers — even when left in vases with water — eventually discolor, lose their shape and texture, and wilt. And it’s also why florists only trust floral coolers to keep their precious merchandise in good condition.

Commercial coolers are set to ideal temperatures for storing flowers and maintaining their freshness. Flowers need to be stored at temperatures between 34 to 36 degrees Fahrenheit, maximize their shelf-life, and support a specially formulated hydrating solution to stay in excellent shape. 

Depending on your commercial cooler and the types of flowers sold, temperatures can be set up to 38 degrees but nothing higher to prevent shortening the merchandise’s shelf life. And for flowers that have been removed from their hydrating mixture and placed in a preservative emulsion, refrigerator temperatures should be kept constant at 34 degrees. Meeting these ideal climate-controlled storage conditions will prevent flowers from losing their blooms.

Control Humidity

Maintaining ideal humidity levels and temperature is crucial to keeping flowers at their freshest. Why is humidity so important? High humidity means high moisture, which keeps flowers well-hydrated and helps them preserve their shape, color, and texture in time for deliveries, customer purchases, and made-to-order floral arrangements within the next few days or weeks. With high humidity and lots of hydration, flower shops can maximize this delicate merchandise’s shelf life and reduce costly inventory losses.

A woman walking inside a flower market

Clean Your Commercial Floral Cooler

Floral coolers are designed to store flowers at optimal temperatures and humidity conditions, but their long-term function is only possible with regular cleaning and maintenance. A clean, well-maintained commercial cooler is key to keeping flowers fresh and pleasantly scented, and on the outside, glass displays are clear, vibrant, and highly attractive.

Weekly Clean

When should you clean your commercial cooler? Floral coolers require a light clean at least once a week and a deep clean monthly at a minimum. Simply wipe down all the interior surfaces, walls, shelving units, and dust off the interiors. Make sure to use a flower-safe cleaning solution — these non-toxic cleaners are specially formulated for flowers and prevent them from wilting prematurely or discoloring when placed back inside.

Weekly cleaning prevents dirt from building up, so much so that stubborn stains from flower pigments and wilted petals are a lot tougher to scrub off. Fingerprints can easily cloud an otherwise attractive display and impact visual merchandising crucial to walk-in customer sales and orders.

Commercial flower on display!

10 Tips to Keep Cut Flowers Fresh in a Commercial Cooler

Keeping cut flowers fresh and vibrant is crucial for florists, flower shop owners, event organizers, and other professionals in the flower industry. With the market's increasing value, preserving the quality of these delicate beauties becomes even more essential. A commercial cooler offers an optimal environment for cut flowers, but it's essential to use it correctly. Here are ten tips to ensure your flowers stay fresh and lovely for as long as possible.

1. Pre-Cooling is Essential

Before placing the flowers in the cooler, ensure they are pre-cooled to the correct temperature. This gradual cooling prevents shock and helps in prolonging their freshness.

2. Check the Cooler's Temperature Regularly

Ensure your cooler's temperature is maintained between 34°F and 38°F. This is the optimal range for most cut flowers. Invest in a good thermometer to keep tabs.

3. Maintain the Right Humidity

High humidity helps keep flowers hydrated. Aim for a humidity level of around 90-95%. Use a hygrometer to monitor the levels inside the cooler.

4. Avoid Direct Airflow on Flowers

While circulation is good, direct airflow can dehydrate flowers. Ensure vents or fans are not directly targeting your blooms.

5. Keep the Cooler Clean

Clean the cooler regularly to prevent mold and bacteria growth. This will not only protect your flowers but also extend their shelf life.

6. Use Fresh Water and Clean Vases

Always use clean vases and fresh water for your flowers. Adding a floral preservative can further enhance the lifespan of your cut flowers.

7. Remove Foliage Below the Waterline

Any leaves submerged in water can rot and promote bacterial growth. Ensure they are removed before placing flowers in vases.

8. Keep Fruits Away

Fruits emit ethylene gas, which can cause flowers to wilt prematurely. Store fruits in a separate cooler or ensure they are well away from your flowers.

9. Regularly Check for Wilting or Rotting Blooms

Inspect your flowers regularly. Remove any wilting or rotting blooms to prevent them from affecting the rest of the bunch.

10. Limit the Cooler's Door Openings

Every time you open the cooler door, you let in warm air, which can affect its internal environment. Limit the frequency of door openings to maintain a consistent temperature and humidity.

By implementing these ten tips, you'll ensure that your cut flowers remain fresh, vibrant, and beautiful for longer. Whether for a special event, a retail shop, or personal enjoyment, taking care of your blooms in a commercial cooler can make all the difference.

Deep Cleaning and Maintenance

The annual deep clean can coincide with your commercial cooler’s regular maintenance check-up and tune-up to make cleaning and maintenance more manageable. Yearly maintenance includes checking your commercial cooler’s function and addressing performance issues with preventive repairs or parts replacement.

Make sure to book your commercial cooler maintenance only with a certified refrigerator technician. Professional technicians are trained to assess issues with your cooler, calibrate temperature and humidity settings to optimal condition, and repair or replace damaged and worn-out parts. 

During a maintenance session, they will also clean essential components like the condensing unit and coil, evaporator coil, drain lines, and door gaskets and remove deposits and frost build-up to restore your commercial refrigerator to reliable function.

To learn more about keeping flowers at their freshest and maintaining optimal storage conditions in commercial coolers and refrigerators, call Ancaster Food Equipment at (855) 888-9644, or contact us here.

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