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Botanical Brouhaha Expert Discussion Panel: No. 49

Sep 3, 2014

The Question:

What day do you receive your flowers from the wholesaler for a Saturday wedding? Where do you store them? Do you store some in the dry packed shipping boxes or do they all go into floral preservative?

IMG_3896 peartree

The Answers:

I receive my flowers on Wednesday for a Friday or Saturday event (Thursday for a Sunday event). I give everything a fresh cut and put in clean water immediately. Some things stay out of the cooler so they are able to open but the more fragile blooms go directly into the cooler until I am ready to design. I like everything to hydrate at least 24 hours before designing. I don’t use any preservatives in the water, I just make sure all the buckets are clean and the water remains fresh and I find the flowers do just fine!

Elisabeth Zemetis (Blush Floral Design)

Usually Tuesday is when I pick up flowers from my wholesaler. Wednesday I’ll often travel to other local farms to pick things up. Thursday and Friday are picking from my own farm. Everything is stored in a cooler. I don’t use floral preservative but I’m lucky to have very cold, non chlorinated water. I’m convinced the mineral content in our well water is great for flowers but I could be wrong 😉


Clare Day (Clare Day Flowers)

Here at the Portland Flower Market, most “specialty” flowers come into the market on Wednesdays, so that’s when I go pick up my wedding order, and start processing all the stems. I store them in my “workspace” [aka: currently my garage] which is kept between 65-70 degrees usually. I don’t feel the need to keep it any cooler because I need most of the flowers to really open up [especially roses] and be at their prime for the wedding day.  I go through and process ALL flowers and get them in water – I don’t leave them in their boxes.  I like to make sure they’re all hydrated well and have a chance to open up and I even take the time to make sure they’re all doing ok, nothing needs to be replaced, etc.


Liz Rusnac (Liz Rusnac Floral Design)

It depends on the flowers – is it just “ordinary” ones or some kind of special order. If it’s just ordinary ones and I can be 100% sure of what I will get – I pick up my order on Thursday (it gives the flowers 1 day to open up). But if it’s some kind of special flowers or a very specific hue is required, I try to pick them up on Wednesday. In case something goes wrong, I have 1-2 days to fix it.


Emelie Ekborg (Svenska Blomsterbloggar and Flora Inspiro)

For a Saturday wedding, we go to Paris flower market on Thursday morning. Then flowers are put in buckets of plain water as soon as possible (usually 2 to 3 hours after being purchased), some fragile flowers (such as dahlias or garden roses) even stay in water during the whole buying and transportation process. Then storage depends on the flowers. If we need roses or peonies to open, they will be stored in a very bright place at normal room temperature, other sensitive flowers might go in the cellar or even in the fridge. Storage is always a very stressful point as getting the flowers just perfectly opened needs a lot of care and attention.

Laetitia Mayor (Floresie)

The majority of the flowers will arrive at my studio on the Wednesday before the wedding. This gives my team time to condition them on the day of arrival and place them in water so that they open and are at their optimum for the big day. It also allows me to reorder and receive new flowers on the Friday if there have been any problems with quantities, colours or condition. The exceptions are flowers such as lilies (10 days before) and freesia, amaryllis and alstromeria (7 days before).


Nick Priestly (Mood Flowers)

We receive almost all of our flowers on Wednesdays. Most stems are cut and then Quick Dipped and then placed in warm to hot water with a floral preservative. After several hours of drinking the flowers are put into the cooler. It is important to leave the cardboard binder on your roses during the hydration process but the cardboard should be removed before the roses go into the cooler. We allow the roses to hydrate for several hours with the cardboard on as this ensures that the roses are drinking with a nice straight head. If the cardboard is removed before the flowers get their first draw of water they could take their first drink with wobbly bent stems causing the stems to be bent over and wobbly. It is also important to remove the cardboard from roses before they go into the cooler because the cardboard holds moisture and causes the roses to rot. The hip of the rose also becomes weak when it tries to open in the cardboard. Only orchids are kept in the boxes they arrive in and we typically receive those on Thursday or Friday. Long stemmed fragile orchids are stored in the cooler in the boxes they come in and go to the job in those very boxes. Orchids are inserted into the designs on the job. This keeps the orchids from being damaged in transit. All orchid stems should be evaluated for quality and hydration before being stored in cooler. This method only works with fresh product and a late in the week delivery. We receive all other flowers early in the week because I do not typically leave things to chance for a Friday delivery. Friday deliveries make me nervous. I like all product in house and evaluated as soon as possible. The Wednesday arrival date gives me a day to reject product and sadly that does happen quite a bit. The Wednesday delivery only works for us because we have two 10’ by 14’ coolers. We operated for many years without a cooler and product came on Thursday or even Friday. The cooler has helped us significantly with quality issues and it gives us one or two more days to hunt. We rarely even need to use the second cooler. We can fit a ton of flowers and finished designs into one 10 by 14 cooler.  There are always exceptions to these rules. We have certainly kept tulips and peonies dry packed in the cooler as well but that is to hold those particular types of flowers into the next week or even beyond. My personal peonies that we grow are cut and dry packed and held up to six weeks.


Holly Chapple (Holly Heider Chapple Flowers)

IMG_3080 peartree

Flowers by: Peartree



  1. Fuschia Moss says:

    great topic!!! I’m always curious what others do regarding delivery.


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