Academy of Flowers

Ethylene Gas

One of the biggest disappointments in floral longevity is caused by exposure to ethylene gas and the growth of bacteria (botrytis) or lack of water intake.

Ethylene gas is produced as plant material decomposes and fruit ripens. It is colourless and odourless. Flowers exposed to ethylene gas will turn yellow, wilt and/or the buds and flowers will drop off, resulting in the flower dying prematurely.

Fruit and flowers have an affinity between them when included in floral design, that perfectly captures celebratory events such as harvest festival, dining scenarios and summer ball decorations.  If using them together, limit their exposure until the design is completed and ready to display.

These are some top tips to avoid potential hazards:

  • It is essential to have scrupulously clean vases, equipment and tools to help control the growth of bacteria - “Good Housekeeping”
  • Wear gloves and/or barrier cream to avoid allergies or reaction to sap
  • Control exposure to ethylene gas by avoiding placing flowers near fruit and decaying plant material
  • Maintain good ventilation, especially around cut flowers
  • Store at lower temperatures which reduces the production of ethylene gas
  •  Remove dead flowers and old or decaying leaves as soon as possible
  • Use appropriate flower food and refresh water regularly
  • Ideally store in a commercial florist’s fridge
  • Don't overcrowd buckets or vases - it encourages decomposition
  • Avoid wetting the flower heads
  • Keep the storage environment clean

By following these guidelines you will have happy, healthy blossoms  to present to your clients in an artistic and memorable way.

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