At What Temperature Should Cut Flowers and Foliage Be Stored?

22 April 2016

When restaurants and markets preserve food and drink, they employ coolrooms and freezers, sealed spaces that deliver carefully channelled quantities of refrigerated air. The meat and vegetables cool, the drinks chill, and the resulting environment maintains an ever-fresh climate. Now we turn to other commodities, to blossoming flowers and freshly cut foliage, to biological matter that’s still growing. Coolroom temperature management in this environment is no less exacting than the methodology applied to food, except it’s the management of a plant’s life cycle that concerns us in this instance.

Setting the Temperature

If the temperature strays from accepted margins, flowers will wilt and foliage will spoil. The growth cycle is triggered prematurely, and the blossoming flower opens its petals too soon. An optimally managed cooling environment maintains its temperature at around 33ºF to 35ºF (approximately 1ºC). Of course, this figure isn’t set in stone. It varies ever so slightly to accomodate the different types of flowers and foliage entering the cooler. Tropical flowers, for example, benefit from warmer climate control settings. If birds-of-paradise, tropical orchids, or other equatorial variants are to be placed in a coolroom, turn up the thermostat and keep it at the 50ºF to 55ºF (approximately 11ºC) mark.

Temperature Management Keeps Flowers Fresh

Floral growing companies and florists are well-versed in what it takes to keep plant life fresh. The stem is given a diagonal cut to enhance stem nourishment absorption rates. Light, insecticides, floral preservatives, and other care practices keep the plants smelling good and looking vitally alive, but it’s the coolroom temperature that places the foliage into a sleepy state and causes the flowers to hibernate, thus stopping the petals from blooming and withering before they’re sold. Still, errors are constantly dicovered in this practice due to poor management skills. The ducts are possibly blocked or obstructed in some manner, and the flowers end up warming, blossoming, and losing that essential ever-fresh scent that makes them so beautiful. In fixing this issue, place digital thermostats in key areas and check the airflow for convection obstructions.

Temperature management is an important part of this coolroom scenario, but there are caveats to be aware of here. Firstly, different flowers and different foliage variants come from all around the globe. Some are seasonal while others are tropical, meaning different temperature settings must be followed, so stick with the 1ºC thermostat setting when managing plants found in temperate regions, and dial the thermostat to 11(ºC) when caring for tropical variants.

Mark Connelly
C&M Coolroom Services
Mobile: 0412 536 315

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