Temperature Control - What is it?
Temperature control is one of the biggest factors directly related to the quality and longevity of fresh cut flowers and plants. All living things require temperature control to varying degrees in order to survive, flowers and plants are no exception to that rule. Fluctuations in temperature from ideal to hot or cold even for a short period of time will affect your product. Unfortunately, more often than not, the damage cannot be seen until product has made it to its final destination, the customer's home.
Why is it important to control temperature?
Controlling temperature throughout a flower or plant's journey from farm to home has enabled the floral industry to expand to a global community. In the past, not having a way to harvest and transport long distances meant localized production and purchasing. Thanks to the knowledge we now have about how to manage and control temperature, throughout the distribution chain, suppliers are able to successfully ship flowers from every corner of the globe arriving fresh and in perfect condition.
Reasons it's important to control temperature:
- Extreme temperature changes cause condensation which promote the growth of Botrytis.
- The warmer temperature the faster the flower's development which equals shorter vase life.
- Temperatures 32°F/0°C or below will cause "burning" or freeze damage that is seen immediately and is irreversible.
- Warmer temperatures can encourage the flower to produce high levels of ethylene causing damage and shorter vase life.
Each link in the flower distribution chain has its own responsibility to maintain the so-called cold chain (temperature control). However, there are points during the timeline from farm to customer that should receive extra attention:
- When receiving product, pay close attention to truck temperatures. If you notice boxes are warm or you see ice, call your supplier immediately.
- Store product as quickly as possible in cooler, minimizing any time on a loading dock. Boxes should not be kept outside of refrigeration for more than 20 minutes.
- When unpacking to process, pay close attention to condensation in the sleeves. This could be a sign that product was overheated at some point. Should this happen take photos and call your supplier as soon as possible to investigate. It is always a good idea to request that your supplier includes a temperature recorder with your flowers which will record temperature fluctuations throughout the truck journey to your business.
- Routine checks of your storage and display coolers are highly recommended.
Check cooler temperature gauges daily to ensure they are set and reading the right temperature for your product. General guidelines are: Cut Flowers: 34 - 38° F (1 - 3 ° C) cooler with 75 - 85% relative humidity. Tropical flowers & Orchids should be stored at 55 - 60° F (13 - 16 ° C). Calibrate if needed.
Questions? Get in touch with FloraLife! Our team of experts is on standby to help.