The Science of Cool!

Flowers in the cooler – that’s where they go, right? Off of the delivery truck, into the cooler, done! You may not have given it a lot of thought, but the science behind the floral cooler, the ways that it preserves the flower – and protects your investment – is a topic worth exploring.  That’s the subject of FloraLife’s latest article in LivRio: “Why Do We Keep Flowers in the Cooler?

The article (on page 21!) begins with a biology lesson, straight from 7th grade! Basically:

  • Plants take carbon dioxide, water, and sunlight and convert them into sugars (food) via a process called photosynthesis.
  • Plant leaves and stems have chloroplast cells that contain chlorophyll. This enables plants to harvest energy from sunlight, convert it, and store it as sugar (food).
  • But once harvested, it must rely on the sugars it has stored in its leaves to sustain itself.
  • Plants then convert those sugars and oxygen into energy, carbon dioxide, and water. This is called respiration.  

Keep it Cool…

For a live plant in soil, this process is ongoing. But a cut flower has only the energy it stored before being cut.  The rate of respiration, how fast it uses up its stored energy, affects vase life. And cooler temperatures slow down this process.

So, cool is better. How cool? Consult the article for the science, but FloraLife recommends setting your cooler temp between 34 and 37F (1 to 3C.)  

But Not TOO Cool…

Of course, tropical flowers are different. They can sustain chill damage if they are stored below 50F (10C.) 

And Keep it Fed…

Because we can’t always count on our flowers maintaining the perfect temperature during their journey, we use commercial flower foods to provide that crucial sugar that the flowers can no longer produce on their own. Important quote: “While flower foods are not a substitute for cold temperatures, they can help sustain the flower when the cold chain is broken, and energy demands are high.”

Science is Cool!

We say it often: only when the flower is in your possession can you be sure it is getting the care it needs to stay fresh and beautiful and provide a satisfying customer experience. When you know the ins and outs of cooler science, you can be confident you are properly using all the tools at your disposal! Be sure to read the original piece in LivRio (page 21!) and for more floral tips and tools, visit!