Page 7 - Super Floral > August 2015 Issue
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cut flower


BOTANICAL NAME                                 October, depending on the growers. Some         Helianthus annuus
Helianthus annuus                              varieties, especially novelties, are available  ‘Sunrich Orange’
(hee-lee-AN-thus AN-yoo-us)                    only during the summer months.
                                                                                               Takii Seed
COMMON NAMES                                   vase-life extenders
Sunflower, Common sunflower, Mirasol                                                           REFRIGERATION Immediately after processing
                                               PROMPT ATTENTION Remove sunflowers from         sunflowers, place them into a floral cooler
DESCRIPTION                                    the shipping boxes immediately upon their       at 33 F to 35 F, and allow them to hydrate
Sunflowers have nodding daisylike blos-        arrival in your store (they are highly suscep-  for at least two hours before arranging or
soms, 2 to 10 or more inches in diameter.      tible to water stress), and check the quality   selling them. Except for design time, keep
The blooms of most cut-flower varieties        of the flowers (see “Buying Tips”). If you      these flowers refrigerated until they’re sold
average about 6 inches across while minia-     cannot attend to them immediately, place        or delivered.
ture and branched varieties range from 2 to    shipping boxes into a floral refrigerator.      CARE EXTRA Sunflowers are somewhat geo-
4 inches.                                                                                      tropic (affected by gravity), so store them as
                                               PREPARATION FOR PROCESSING Remove any           vertical as possible, particularly when they’re
   The flower heads are made up of “petals”    packaging and stem bindings as well as          at room temperature, so their heads won’t
(ray florets) surrounding central disks that   any leaves that would be under water in         nod even more.
comprise hundreds of tiny yellow, brown,       storage containers. Next, rinse stems under
green or deep purple flowers (disk florets).   tepid running water (sunflowers are often        buying tips
Some varieties (e.g., ‘Double Shine’) have     field grown and have “hairy” stems, so they
more ray flowers and appear to not have        capture debris that can contaminate vase           BLOOMS Look for fully open blooms,
any disk florets. Ray-floret length and disk   solutions).                                        but watch that the centers are not
diameter also vary among cultivars.                                                               showing any pollen. (Visit www.
                                               STEM CUTTING Recut stem ends, at an angle, for
   Sunflowers typically have a single bloom    with a sharp, sterile blade, removing at least     more information.)
per stem, but they also can be branched,       1 inch of stem.                                    FOLIAGE Check for yellow, wilted,
with several smaller blossoms per stem (e.g.,                                                     dried out or otherwise aging leaves.
‘Sonja’). Stem lengths generally range from    HYDRATION Immediately after cutting, dip or        Leaf health is a critical indicator of
2 to 5 feet.                                   place stem ends into a hydration solution to       sunflower longevity—more so than
                                               help the flowers take up water more quickly        bloom quality.
COLORS                                         (particularly important with sunflowers).          STEMS Examine stems for rot, slime
Natural hues include yellows, from pale                                                           or bruises.
lemon yellow to bright golden yellow;          NUTRITION Place flowers into clean, disinfect-
bronze; brown; reddish-brown; orange;          ed storage containers half filled with prop-
cream/tan; and bicolors. Stem-dyed sun-        erly proportioned low-nutrient flower-food
flowers (red, orange, green, copper, blue      solution prepared with cold water. Recent
and purple) also are available.                research indicates that sunflowers do not
                                               benefit nutritionally from flower food, but it
VASE LIFE                                      should always be used because the bacteri-
Sunflowers typically offer five to 14 days     cide helps control the growth of microbes
of vase life depending on variety, stage of    in containers, which helps prevent stem
maturity at the time of sale, environment      blockage and premature wilting.
and care.
                                                  Note: Recut stems, wash containers and
AVAILABILITY                                   change flower-food solution every other day
These flowers are available year-round from    to prevent bacteria buildup and to ensure
a variety of sources; however, production      continuous, uninhibited uptake of solution.
peaks from around June through about

                                               Super Floral has created this page for the education of store-level employees. To
                                               download a reprintable PDF, please go to and select “Current Issue.”

16 / august 2015
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