As we move closer into the Summer months and begin to see more freedom on the horizon, many professional florists may be turning their attention to the shows of the year. Flower shows and presentations are big business. In fact, here in the UK, the fresh cut flower and indoor plant market is estimated to be worth £2.2 billion at the retail level, making it more lucrative than the UK music industry. Here at Iceotemp, we specialist in temperature-controlled courier services for florists and are here to support you during these key preparation times. In this guide, we’ve pulled together key information that will help you to better understand your plants and the environments in which they will stay at their best during delivery.
The Importance of Florist Shows to The UK
Over the past year, the world has been thrust into a feeling of uncertainty and unease. Where once we had the freedom to step outside of our homes and breath in the flowers around us, that right was taken away and, as a result, we began to lose our connection with the world around us. However, more and more people have turned to cut flowers in a way of bringing light, colour, and perhaps even hope into their homes.
Google Trends recorded that the search for ‘online florists in the UK’ soared by 42% over 2020. Searches for ‘florist near me’ went up by 140% and ‘order flowers online’ went up by 60%. While many industries have had severe backlash during the pandemic, it seems that the floristry industry is having somewhat of a boom. Therefore, we cannot overlook the importance of florist shows here in the UK. Restrictions for outdoor shows currently lift in the UK by 21st June, which may leave just enough time for those iconic yearly shows to take place. And, even if for some reason we see more cancellation, 2022 will surely be the year where we rush out of our doors to find ourselves amongst beautiful blooms.
Equally, when we look at smaller scale shows in the local area, we cannot overlook the importance of supporting businesses as we come out of this confusing time. There seems to be an overriding feeling that money is better invested in local companies and, therefore, the opportunity to celebrate freedom once more with those that live around you is becoming increasingly popular.
Considering Temperature-Controlled Logistics for Florist Shows
We’ve written a complete guide about the temperature-controlled logistics industry for florists here. However, the needs for florist display and exhibition shows differ from that in supermarkets and florist shops. You have much tighter restrictions in terms of time. The temperature needs are similar but you also need to consider the environments you’ll be taking the plants out into once they leave a couriers vehicle. And, with the keen eye of the judges and visitors (especially important during competitions) means you need to carefully consider delivery packaging to eliminate the risk of damage and protect even the daintiest of petals.
What Factors Affect Cut Flower Quality?
For most florist displays, cut flowers are the heart and soul. After pouring your heart into ensuring they have the right soil mix, the right environment and the right care during their growth, once these plants are cut, they are at the mercy of external elements. The most impactful factors that affect cut flower quality are:
According to the National Floriculture Conference, 70% of ‘post-harvest characteristics are predetermined at harvest’. This means that, as the grower, your impact on the plants has a significant impact on the end quality. Under this remit, you need to consider the amount of research that goes into cultivating your own species, the environment in which you grow the plant and the management of the plant’s growth in terms of fertilizer and insecticides.
Once cut, flowers need water immediately – it needs to take in just as much water as it loses. Flowers that don’t have adequate water will wilt or begin to brown. This can be supported with the use of preservatives.
Dextrose is a key nutrient required by cut flowers. It uses this like carbohydrates, utilising the energy it creates to help the flower turn buds into full open heads.
The most relevant point to us is temperature. Shelf life and display life is largely based on the temperature and ambient environment created for the flower once it has been cut. Lower temperatures will reduce the process of water loss which delay ‘death’ and result in a longer shelf/display life. For example, roses should be stored at temperatures of around 1 – 2°C, however proper testing should take place with your chosen species. Any lower than 0°C and your rose are likely to experience frostbite.
Another factor to consider is the amount of moisture in the air, also known as the humidity levels. Low humidity can contribute to dehydration, speeding up the wilting faze and causing flowers to die before they reach the end destination. Temperature-controlled couriers not only control temperature, but they also have management over the humidity in their storage facilities too. An optimal humidity of around 90°C is generally deemed suitable for most types of flower.
Getting the Most Out of Your Cut Flowers for Shows
As you can see above, the need to best understand your flowers needs is vital when it comes to exhibitions or competitions. For our team at Iceotemp, we help you during the storage, transportation and delivery stages. As a general practice when working with florist clients, we recommend:
- Avoid delays in processing your flowers as much as possible. You want them to be cut, placed in water and then ‘packaged’ up accordingly as quickly as possible.
- Enlist the support of temperature-controlled storage facilities. We have an on-site storage depot in Somerset which has ambient, chilled and frozen storage options to suit every need. Alternatively, organising your courier service for as close to the cutting stage allows us to get your blooms on the road as quickly as possible.
- Submerge the stems underwater and then cut them with sharp cutters. You’ll prevent air bubbles which can cause wilting or misshaping to the stems.
- Consider investing in insulated boxes with ice packs for delivery and minimise the number of flowers placed in each one to prevent petal damage.
All flowers have different requirements but understanding how the right transportation and storage system can support you is vital to moving closer to 1st Place. At Iceotemp, we can help you pull together a structured and logistical plan for your flower’s transport to the next florist show or exhibition. If you would like to speak to a member of our team, please do get in contact with us here today.