It can be hard when you first open a flower shop. You buy flowers to fill the cooler, and then don’t sell them all right away. One of the most painful things a florist does is throw away flowers, but some times it just can’t be avoided.
There are special flower coolers to maximize the life of flowers. Freshly cut flowers will rot when kept at room temperature, but ordinary coolers aren’t adequate for flower shops. Common coolers run with very low humidity and their lower temperatures can damage flowers. Specialty floral coolers use high humidity and the ideal temperature set from 36-41 degrees Fahrenheit, which extends the shelf life of cut flowers and plants. Floral coolers can be custom-made to fit perfectly in your retail store and act as a display case by offering single or multiple glass door cases. For larger operations and online florists, there are walk in coolers that provide significant storage. Some of the better brands of floral refrigerators include PROCOOL, SRC Refrigeration, CoolBot, Powers Equipment, and others.
Remember that flowers are a perishable item! I know you’ll not forget that flowers are perishable, but sometimes florists forget that the flowers are just stopping over at your shop. Their real vase life begins in the customer’s home. They need to last a week there! A wise old florist told me that greens and flowers that are of questionable age and quality are never going to get any better! A stem that has begun to yellow, wilt or discolor will only proceed further down that road to decay.
Now, to answer your question. Don’t try to keep flowers longer than five days from the day you purchase them. The exception to this rule is flowers that have not been hydrated, such as carnations or pom-pons that you purchase in box. You can keep these flowers in their box, without processing them for up to 5 days before processing them and putting them into your rotation. This assumes, of course, that you are purchasing flowers from a good wholesale florist who is also properly rotating their stock and not sending you anything more than 7 days from their receipt.
Always rotate your flowers, first-in is always the first-out. Always follow care and handling guidelines and be diligent about hygiene in the cooler. If your cooler is dirty or your buckets are slimy, don’t try to keep flowers more than ONE day!
Finally, try to keep flower rotation and cooler life in mind when buying and selling flowers. Sell what you afford to buy and keep in your shop. Purchase varieties with an eye for lasting quality. Choose staples that will hold up longer and spice it up with a smaller amount of more delicate flowers. Then be sure to rotate those delicate flowers in and out of the cooler on a regular basis.