Care and Handling Quiz
Take this quiz just for fun, or incorporate it into your
training program. Either way, everyone is sure to learn
here for a downloadable version of this
flower-care quiz that you can use for training purposes
1. The growth of stem-plugging bacteria can be reduced by
cleaning flower buckets, cutting tools, workbenches and counter
tops, and coolers with:
a. a professional antibacterial bucket cleaner
b. a kitchen sanitizing spray (similar to ones used to clean
c. a solution of one part chlorine bleach and 10 parts water
d. any of the above
2. When flowers arrive in your distribution centers or floral
departments, immediately check the temperature inside the boxes
or the temperature of the water in wet packs with a needle
thermometer. The temperature should be no higher than:
a. 40 F
b. 45 F
c. 50 F
d. 55 F
3. Shipping temperatures that are too high can cause the
following problems with flowers:
a. foliar or petal diseases, such as Botrytis
b. yellowed leaves
c. loss of blooms and leaves
d. all of the above
4. As you process flowers, it is best to carefully remove any
sleeves and bindings to promote air circulation among the blooms
5. You should always unpack flowers immediately upon their
arrival in your distribution centers or floral departments;
however, if that’s absolutely not possible, you should:
a. open the boxes, and leave them at room temperature
b. place the boxes unopened in a floral cooler at 33 F to 35 F
6. To remove dried-out stem ends as well as dirt, debris and
microbes in the stem cells when processing flowers, how much of
the stems should you cut off?
a. 1?2 inch to 1 inch
b. between 1 inch and 3 inches
c. 3 inches or more
7. If cutting flowers under water, you should change the
water (or, preferably, the flower-food solution) frequently to
prevent it from being contaminated with bacteria.
8. If your flowers have been treated with hydration solution
at the grower and/or wholesaler level (the most common treatment
points), you can forgo this step, if desired, and place your
flowers directly into properly proportioned flower-food
9. The difference between hydration solutions and flower
foods is that:
a. hydration solutions do not contain a nutrient (sugar)
b. flower foods do not contain a wetting agent to accelerate
c. both A and B
d. none of the above
10. Mixing flower-food solutions to the proper concentrations
is really not so important; it is a myth created by the
manufacturers to sell more product.
11. Bulb flowers experience hormone imbalances when cut, and
you should use only flower foods formulated especially for them.
12. Flower-food solutions do not need to be used with some
bulb flowers, including Agapanthuses, Anemones, Irises,
daffodils, tulips and callas.
13. Many flower care authorities suggest placing bulb flowers
into cold flower-food solutions.
14. All species of Narcissi (daffodils, paperwhites, etc.)
should be isolated from other bulb flowers for a time following
15. Most flowers (except tropicals and some bulb flowers
including Narcissi and amaryllises) should be placed into a
floral cooler at 33 F to 35 F immediately after processing
rather than left out at room temperature to hydrate.
16. Except for design time, you should always keep flowers
refrigerated until sold or delivered.
17. Tropical blooms, including birds-of-paradise, gingers,
Anthuriums, Heliconias and some orchids, require what storage
a. 45 F to 49 F
b. 50 F to 55 F
c. 60 F or higher
d. room temperature
18. Many flower care authorities say that storing tulips,
Gladioli, snapdragons, Anemones, Irises and daffodils vertically
can encourage straight stems and flower heads and tips.
19. You should sell all flowers within two days of receipt.
20. You should check your cooler temperature every two days.
1. D. All of the products/solutions mentioned will kill
bacteria. Flower buckets and other containers must be sanitized
between every use, and cutting tools and work surfaces should be
cleaned at least once daily.
2. A. If temperatures are higher than 40 F, inspect the
flowers carefully for insects, Botrytis, yellowed leaves, wilted
blooms, and bloom or leaf drop, and contact your supplier
3. D. All of these maladies are results of too-high
shipping temperatures. (See answer 2 above.)
4. True. You can leave sleeves on the flower bunches for
a few hours to prevent damage to the blooms, but it is best to
remove the sleeves as soon as possible to promote air
circulation among the blooms and bunches.
5. B. It is important to keep the flowers cold until they
6. B. Dried-out stem ends and stem-plugging dirt and
microorganisms are generally confined to the first 1 inch to 3
inches of the stem ends. Make the cuts under clean water or in
air, with a clean, sharp knife or snips.
7. True. The removed stem ends can quickly contaminate
the water or flower-food solution in which they are being cut,
so to gain any benefit from cutting under water, the water or
solution must be changed after every few bunches are cut.
Otherwise, it is more beneficial to cut flower stems in air.
8. True. Hydration solutions were developed for use at
the grower and/or wholesaler level, and they are most beneficial
when used at these levels.
9. C. Both hydration solutions and flower foods contain
bactericides to control microbial growth and acidifiers to lower
the solution pH. In addition, hydration solutions contain a
wetting agent to accelerate water uptake, and flower foods
contain a nutrient (sugar).
10. False. If not mixed to proper concentrations, flower
foods can actually decrease flowers’ vase lives. Both too much
and too little are harmful.
11. True. When they are cut from their bulbs (their
food-storage organs), bulb flowers experience hormone imbalances
that cause premature leaf yellowing, non-opening blooms, loss of
color and reduced vase lives. Bulb-flower-specific nutrient
solutions contain—in addition to the ingredients found in
standard flower-food solutions—naturally occurring plant
hormones (or plant growth regulators, PGRs), and they have a
lower concentration of sugar, which can aggravate leaf
yellowing. These bulb-flower solutions should be prepared with
12. False. While laboratory studies show that some bulb
flowers may not benefit from the nutrients in flower-food
solutions, they do benefit from the bactericides contained
within; therefore, flower foods always should be used with these
flowers, particularly bulb-flower-specific flower foods.
13. True. Solutions that are made with cold water help
keep bulb flowers from opening too quickly.
14. True. When cut, Narcissi exude a gelatinous substance
that is detrimental to the vase life of some other flowers,
especially tulips and Anemones. Keep them in separate containers
for several hours after cutting them. After that time, the
harmful sap will have leached, and the flowers can be arranged
or placed with other flowers, even if recut again, without
affecting the lives of the other flowers.
15. True. Studies show that maintaining flowers at cold
temperatures (33 F to 35 F) is one of the most crucial factors
in extending vase life. The flowers will hydrate in the cooler,
and they should be kept there for at least two hours before
designing with or selling them.
16. True. Keeping flowers cold slows their respiration
(moisture loss); helps them maintain their carbohydrate
reserves, their fuel for vase life; and decreases their
sensitivity to ethylene.
17. B. Most tropical flowers require storage temperatures
between 50 F and 55 F. Temperatures lower than 50 F will cause
chill damage to these blooms. If these temperature requirements
can’t be met inside a floral cooler, the flowers should be
stored outside the cooler, at room temperature.
18. True. Many of these flowers are geotropic, meaning
that their upper extremities respond to the forces of gravity
and will “grow” vertically, causing curved stems, flower heads
and tips if the stems are positioned diagonally in a container.
It also can be helpful to store tulips and Anemones in their
sleeves for a few hours to prevent stem curving.
19. True. Studies show that flowers held in a floral
cooler for more than two days lose at least a day of vase life
for each day they are held beyond the two days.
20. False. Many flower care authorities suggest checking
the temperature in your cooler twice daily. The best method is
to place a thermometer in a container of water that remains in
the cooler. Keep your cooler set to maintain bucket solutions in
the 33 F-to-35 F range (see No. 15 and No. 17).
To enjoy the rest of this issue, please go to the
Subscriptions page and get your
copy of Super Floral Retailing today!!!