What to look for when buying wholesale flowers
Flower quality, including the longevity of your flowers once they are in your store or vase, varies greatly depending on the quality of the wholesale flowers you purchase.
It makes sense therefore to form a relationship with a wholesaler that you can trust, someone you can communicate your needs with and who understands your business. If you are looking for wholesale flowers for your business or re-evaluating your needs, you need to very particular when it comes to your selection criteria.
Factors that impact flower quality
When we talk about flower quality, one of the key things we use to measure quality is longevity in the vase. Let’s call this ‘vase life‘. Vase life is determined by many factors. Some of these factors can be controlled in the vase or in the shop, and are environmental determinants that can have a big impact on how long your flowers remain fresh. Other factors are determined before you even make the purchase, and are determined at the wholesale stage of the flower’s life cycle.
There are four key factors that determine the longevity of a flower’s vase life:
These factors, when combined, are referred to as ‘cold chain integrity’. The ‘cold chain’ is the journey that moves the flowers from the ground to your door and is an industry within itself. The cold chain is called ‘cold’ because, ideally, it is cold the entire way through to stop the flowers from ripening in the heat. But more on this when we get to the ‘temperature’ factor.
When discussing a potential wholesale flower purchase from a wholesale flower seller, make sure that you understand the factors and how they impact flower quality and vase life.
Will your flowers be delivered in water? Although this might seem common-sense, many wholesale flower sellers do not store cut flowers in water during the transportation stage. It makes transportation a lot more challenging, and presents hygiene difficulties that sellers may not invest in overcoming. The reality is, it’s much easier for trucks to transport flowers in cardboard than in water.
The transportation stage is key to the vase life of your flowers. Ask whether the flowers are being transported in water, and ask about whether the flowers are refrigerated during transportation. A good wholesaler will ensure that water transportation is executed with high hygienic standards, including a chlorine rinse between loads. This includes all stages of delivery – from grower to wholesaler, and from wholesaler to store.
Once you receive the flowers in store, you then need to ensure that optimum water conditions are maintained.
Flowers age rapidly in heat. In fact, any temperature over just eight degrees Celsius will result in the rapid ageing of your flower, and impact the longevity of your flowers once they reach your door. For example, Gerberas age 40 times faster at 30 degrees than they do at 8 degrees.
Ask your wholesaler about their temperature controls in their cold chain management. Wholesale flowers are often stored in refrigerated conditions, but are often subject to hot conditions along the route of transportation.
When referring to hygiene with flowers, we are talking about the cleanliness of the water and the containers the flowers are stored in. All buckets, pallets and containers need to be thoroughly and routinely treated with a steriliser. Unfortunately, when exposed to bacterial or fungal infections, the integrity of cut flowers can be compromised, leading to spotting or other unsightly marks. It also impacts on the quality and freshness of the flowers, which can leave them not only marred by the infection, but can decrease their vase life dramatically.
One sure way to know whether your wholesaler practices good hygiene techniques is to ask directly. A good wholesaler will treat their buckets with chlorine, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial agents. They may also store flowers with anti-ethylene preservatives in the water.
Potentially, the most important factor is age. Flower breeders have, in recent decades, refined their ability to develop flowers that look beautiful for a long time after they are cut. This is great, as it improves the vase life of the flower. However, it can make selecting the freshest flowers difficult for buyers, as their age is hard to determine. These flowers will look great right up until the last minute – but how do you now when that is?
Always ask your seller for honest information about how long it has been since the wholesale flowers were cut.
At Flowerflow, we believe in cutting out the middle man and committing ourselves to a higher order of customer service with superior product.
Through our vertical integration Flower Flow is able to provide product with quick turnaround times ensuring that all our flowers are delivered quickly to our various marketing centres around the world.
For more about The FlowerFlow Difference click here
Or call Flowerflow on 02 9748 0192 to discuss how we can offer you the best vase life for your flowers.