Buying an assortment of colorful and fragrant fresh-cut flowers is a pleasure. Transporting them to a new location, however, can be a challenge. Many flowers are fragile, and easily bruised, broken or otherwise damaged during transportation. It is important to pack them in such a way that they arrive at their destination in the same pristine condition they were in when you chose them. Use this strategy to properly transport fresh cut flowers.
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Have the Proper Vehicle
Drive either a mini- or full-sized van with most, if not all, of the back seats removed. The amount of room you will require ultimately depends on how many flowers you must transport. Make sure the van has air conditioning, and use it in the back where the cut flowers will be placed; the cool air will help to maintain their freshness. An air-conditioned van is usually adequate if you will be driving the flowers for 12 hours or fewer. If you have a longer trip to make and many flowers to move, consider renting or borrowing a refrigerated van, which will keep the flowers at an ideal temperature of about 30 degrees Fahrenheit.
Use Water-Filled Buckets
Fill several heavy-duty, plastic, 5- to 6-gallon buckets with water. The water should fill about half to three-quarters of each bucket. Place the cut flowers upright in the buckets. If your journey will take more than two hours, trim off the bottom 2 inches of the flowers' stems before placing them in the water-filled buckets, so they can drink during transport. Distribute the flowers among the buckets according to height and type. Keep tall flowers in one bucket, short ones in another and delicate ones in another. Keep the buckets somewhat full of flowers to prevent the blooms from being jostled around during the drive, but avoid forcibly cramming the flowers together because this will cause their petals to be bent, bruised or removed.
Keep the Buckets Stable
Place small, 10- to 20-pound sand bags around the bases of the buckets containing tall cut flowers to prevent them from tipping over, should you have to break hard or turn fast while driving. Another way to prevent the buckets from tipping is to cluster them close together in the back of the van. Position sand bags around the perimeter of the cluster of buckets to prevent it from sliding or tipping.
Keep it Simpler for Shorter Trips
Lay the bunches of cut flowers gently on their sides if you do not have access to a van in which you can place buckets, or if you only have to drive for one hour or less. To transport flowers in a car, lay them on their sides on the back seat. Stack the bunches on top of each other, taking care not to crush their petals. Flowers with petals that break easily, such as lilies, should be laid on top of less-vulnerable flowers, such as Hawaiian ginger. Use the air conditioner to keep them cool.
Move Arrangements with Care
Place flowers that have already been arranged in vases, baskets or other containers into smaller, 3- to 5-gallon buckets. The buckets will keep the arrangements stable while you drive. Surround the buckets with small sand bags if needed for extra stability.
Rose Brown began writing professionally in 2003. Her articles have appeared in such Montana-based publications as "The Tributary" and "Edible Bozeman." She earned a bachelor's degree in literature from the University of California at San Diego, and a master's degree in English from Montana State University. Brown has been a professional florist since 1997.