A few weeks ago, a man came into our store accompanied by his young daughter. He placed his order and, as I was wrapping up his roses, I heard the following exchange:
Girl: "Daddy, what's the difference between Supermarket Roses and Flower Hut Roses?"
Daddy: "About a week."
He was right, but why?
Chances are, the Supermarket roses are pre-wrapped at some "flower factory." Then they are shipped -- often by non-air-conditioned truck -- to the store. There, they may be stored in the same cooler with fruits and vegetables. Finally, they are plopped into water -- often without being recut -- in a display cooler until sold.
From start to finish, there are several errors. First, the "flower factory" receives their flowers direct from the growers -- just like the Flower Hut. Then, they are dry-wrapped and placed in storage until they have an order. During this (undetermined) time, the roses are slowly dehydrating. When they are shipped, they loose even more moisture. At the Supermarket, if they are dry-stored with fruits and vegetables, they are exposed to ethylene gas that is a natural by product of fruits and veggies. Simply stated, Ethylene is to roses what carbon monoxide is to humans.
When they are put out for sale, the store may cut the stems before placing them in the display cooler. If they do not cut them, the dried-out stem ends will not absorb water. Even if they are cut, they may not be placed in water immediately. And that is important, since UC Davis studies have shown that if a rose is recut but not placed in watter almost immediately (10 seconds or less) then the stem will oxidize shut and the rose's ability to absorb water is greatly reduced.
Finally, when the roses are on display, only the stems are refrigerated. The heads and foliage remain at or near room temperature.
Each one of these errors can dramatically reduce rose life.
In contrast, the Flower Hut receives almost all its roses direct from the growers -- via Miami. But they are flown to Charlotte, not sent by truck. And they are kept in cold storage until we pick them up.
When we receive them, they are re-cut, placed in special hydrating solutions, and stored at 35 degrres F in our HUGE walk-in cooler until we sell them. And we never allow fruit or vegetables in our coolers! And we never pre-wrap our roses.