Dos and Don’ts

The DOs and DON’Ts of Fresh Cut Flower Care & Handling

Check your flower care and handling knowledge with the DOs and the DON’Ts of fresh cut flower care and handling checklist.


  • Disinfect all surfaces that the flowers are in contact with: tools, vases, containers, processing stations, counters, shelves, cooler walls, etc.
  • Always use flower food to process fresh cut flowers.
  • Cut stems with a sharp utensil.
  • Remove all foliage that would be below the water level in a vase.
  • Use a dosing unit that is properly calibrated, or hand mix the solution according to label instructions.
  • Store flowers in a 34-38°F (1-3°C) environment with a 75-85% humidity. Tropical flowers should be stored at 55-65°F (13-18°C).
  • Immediately remove flowers that show signs of diseases.
  • Keep temperature constant to avoid condensation on packaging.
  • Always give flower bunches enough breathing room in the buckets.
  • Rotate your fresh cut flower inventory using the FIFO method (first in, first out).
  • Always keep wet pack boxes upright.
  • Free float floral foam, imprint side up, until the foam is completely saturated.
  • Handle flowers with care to avoid physical damage.
  • Give your suppliers feedback when flowers do not meet vase life or performance expectations.
  • Check your floral displays several times daily to insure that bunches are in the solution.


  • Do not use softened water to process flowers.
  • Do not display flowers in direct sunlight, heat, freezing temperatures, and drafts.
  • Do not handle flowers by their blooms.
  • Do not wet flower blooms.
  • Do not display near ripening produce or smoke as both produce ethylene gas which will shorten flower life.
  • Do not crush stems while trying to cut them.
  • Do not leave leaves below the water level in a vase.
  • Do not mix Daffodils with other flowers.
  • Do not throw flowers abruptly onto any surfaces, even if soft.
  • Do not use old or dirty flower food solution to process fresh flowers.
  • Do not use homemade substitute for flower food such as aspirin, soda pop, bleach, or copper coins.
  • Do not remove all foliage from the stem. Remove only the ones that will fall below the water level.
  • Do not use flower food in crystal or metal containers.
  • Do not display flowers in galvanized buckets without using a liner.
  • Do not overstuff bunches in buckets.
  • Do not lay wet pack boxes sideway.
  • Do not forcibly submerge or plunge floral foam.