The best care for your bulbs
Follow these tips to get maximum sales from these customer
Bulb flowers and plants are perfect for attracting customers
to your floral department. As vased arrangements, bouquets or
potted plants, these versatile, colorful blooms are ideal for
home décor and gift-giving. Keep your customers coming back for
more by offering the highest quality, freshest plants and
flowers possible. To help you with this goal, we’ve gathered
care tips and merchandising advice on these blooming beauties.
1. Remove leaves and rinse stems. Strip cut bulb flowers of any
leaves that would fall below the water lines of their
containers. Rinse stems to remove debris.
2. Trim stems. Cut 1 inch to 3 inches off the stems to remove
dried-out portions and any dirt, debris and microbes that might
have accumulated there.
3. Feed flowers well. For best results, place cut bulb flowers
in a nutrient solution that is made specifically for bulb
flowers and is prepared with nonfluoridated water. These
solutions contain all the ingredients of standard flower-food
solutions and, in addition, have hormones specifically for bulb
If using a bulb-flower-specific solution is not possible, place
flowers into a standard flower-food solution. Laboratory studies
show that some bulb flowers (Agapanthuses, Anemones, Irises,
daffodils, tulips and callas) don’t benefit greatly from the
nutrients in standard flower-food solutions, but they do benefit
from the biocides, which limit the growth of harmful
4. Use cold nutrient solutions. Solutions made with cold water
help keep flower blooms from opening too quickly.
5. Refrigerate immediately after processing. After processing
cut bulb flowers, place them into a cooler for a few hours and
allow them to hydrate there. Most types of cut bulb flowers
should be stored between 33 F and 35 F.
tips for merchandising
BUY THE BEST Your
stock’s quality can set you apart. Consider offering a
guarantee. If you don’t have faith in your fresh products,
why should your customers?
GROUP BY COLOR Group flowers and plants by color and
variety to create maximum impact and attract more attention
to your displays.
SELL THE GREEN, TOO Plants in full bloom will attract
attention, but encourage customers to buy plants in bud
stage, giving them weeks of decorative life.
DISPLAY FOR EFFECT A display with a central theme or
featured flower, with several satellite displays to support
it, should be placed in your department’s most heavily
trafficked area to draw attention.
MAKE PRICING CLEAR Consumers don’t want to hunt for
pricing information and are more likely to commit to a
purchase if they’re armed with all the information they
need. Use overall signage or individual plant tags to share
pricing information. And if you’re running a special on
potted bulbs, make sure that’s communicated in several
places in your store with signage and also with your
UPGRADE CONTAINERS Place the plastic pots into larger
decorative containers, adding a layer of soil, moss, wood
chips or gravel across the top to hide the plastic pots. Or
transplant the bulbs themselves into new soil in an upgraded
container. For a quick fix, wrap the plastic pots in jute or
patterned papers or wraps and secure with staples or
ribbons. You also can place coordinating containers and
wraps nearby and allow consumers to choose their favorite
KEEP FLOWERS TOGETHER If you are selling containers
of multiple bulb flowers, choose the same bulb plant in the
same color within each container for maximum impact.
KEEP IT COOL To keep your potted bulbs from showing
off their colors too early, keep them in a room that is as
cool as possible without freezing. If purchased at the
correct stage, potted bulbs should hold for several days in
your department without loss of bloom life for consumers. In
extreme circumstances, if bulb plants are developing too
quickly, they can be kept in your cooler, but if buds or
blooms are present, they can’t tolerate temperatures lower
than 40 F for longer than one week, or the foliage and
blooms may show signs of damage.
Source: Netherlands Flower Bulb
1. Market when buds are green. In order for your customers to
enjoy their flowers as long as possible, sell potted bulbs when
their buds are green or have just a tinge of color.
2. Water frequently. Potted bulb flowers need to receive water
often but not in excessive amounts.
3. Monitor interior light levels. Potted bulb flowers do best in
light levels of 50 to 100 foot-candles.
4. Keep plants sheltered. If displaying potted bulb flowers
outdoors, make sure they are safe from frost and excessive
5. Limit time in the cooler. Potted bulb flowers can be stored
in a cooler at 33 F to 35 F, but they should not remain in the
cooler for more than three days.
potted and cut bulb flowers
Most bulb flowers are sensitive to ethylene gas. Ask suppliers
if flowers have been treated with an ethylene inhibitor.
Ideally, this is done at the grower level or during
additional advice for specific bulb flowers
removal of leaves other than those that fall below the water
line can reduce vase life. To reduce leaf yellowing, use a
pretreatment designed to treat imbalances in Alstroemerias.
AMARYLLISES These bulb flowers require higher
temperatures than others, so refrigerate them at 41 F to 50
DAFFODILS Isolate cut daffodils from other cut bulb
flowers because they exude a mucilage that can reduce the
vase life of other flowers exposed to it, especially tulips
and Anemones. Store cut daffodils at 36 F to 40 F. Provide
bright light to potted daffodils because higher light
intensity will help prevent “stem topple.”
FREESIAS These fragrant beauties can lose their scent
while in a cooler, but they will regain it within a few
hours of being in a warmer environment.
LILIES Remove the pollen-bearing anthers of these
flowers as they open to avoid staining hands, clothing and
TULIPS These flowers are geotropic, meaning they
respond to the forces of gravity. Therefore, keep them in an
upright position to keep their stems from curving upward.
Tulips are the only bulb flowers that do not show a response
to ethylene gas.
Photos courtesy of the Netherlands Flower Bulb Information
Super Floral Retailing • Copyright 2009
Florists' Review Enterprises, Inc.