Welcome to our ‘frequently asked questions’ page. Here you’ll find our answers to the most commonly asked questions on anything from production to enhancing the vase life of your cut chrysanthemums. But if you can’t find your question answered here, why not ask our expert?
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The florist chrysanthemum, sometimes called ‘mum is one of the most popular fresh-cut flowers, second only to the rose.
The botanical name is derived from the Greek words for golden [chrusos] (their original colour) and blossom [anthos]. In biological terms, Chrysanthemum morifolium is a member of the Asteraceae family and is, in fact, a compound flower, with each ‘petal being its own flower.
Endemic to the Far East, it was originally cultivated as a flowering herb. In the third century A.D it was brought to Japan by Buddhist monks and was quickly adopted as an ornamental variety. So loved was the chrysanthemum, that it was featured in the Imperial Crest of Japan.
Renowned for their exceptional vase life chrysanthemums are now produced and sold year-round on every habitable continent and around the world.
In its ornamental form, the so-called florists chrysanthemum offers buyers one of the most diverse and versatile ranges in all of floristry. So much so, that they are now presented in almost every imaginable colour, except blue!
They have also been developed to flower in a huge assortment of flower shapes from the diminutive button type to the massive saucer-sized incurve type sporting either single super-blooms (deco type) or multiple flower heads (spray type) per stem.
At Rolf Flowers we produce both deco’s and spray’s in the most popular shapes and colours and you can view our entire range here.
Extending the vase life of cut flowers is a science in itself and it’s been the subject of much research over the decades. This is because it is the most important question for all cut flower users.
Chrysanthemums are known for their very long vase-life and as a fresh-cut flower-grower we make every effort to ensure our flowers will give you the most enjoyment in your home by lasting as long as possible. We ensure that stems are kept hydrated and chilled from the time they are cut until the time they are delivered for shipping into the worlds markets. But of course, how they are handled once they leave the farm is very important too.
Any flower stem that has been out of water for even a few minutes will have its water conducting tissues ‘plugged’ with air where the stem was cut. This is why it’s very important to trim a centimetre or two off the lower stem every time you’re about to put them into water after the flower has been transported.
Trim the stems at an angle as this will provide the largest possible area for water transport in the stem. Some experts even recommend trimming the stem under water to prevent air plugs forming! Remember too, that after transportation from the place where you bought them, the flowers will be extra thirsty, so it would be a good idea to top up the fresh water after the first few hours.
Once cut away from their roots, flowers and stems are exposed to all sorts of potential risks that may reduce their vase life. So, before placing stems in water, make sure to remove any leaves that will be below the water line. Also be sure to keep your flowers in a clean vase and to change the water as frequently as every second or third day if you have chosen not to use a cut flower food.
However, just as plants in the ground require nutrients to flourish, so too do cut flowers. It is always advisable to use a reputable flower food, which should be available from your local flower distributor. There are many commercially available flower preservatives that have been developed to supply the complex sugars required to enhance the flowers life. These products also make use of additives that help stop fungus and bacterial diseases from developing.
Other helpful hints are to: wipe your pruning scissors clean with a strong sterilizing agent (like bleach) before and after trimming your flower stems, this will reduce the risk of infection from other places. Change the water if it becomes cloudy, even if you’ve used flower food. Keep your cut flowers away from draughts, direct sunlight and warm areas. Keep fruit and flowers away from each other, as the ethylene released by many fruits can cause some flowers (but not chrysanthemums) to die prematurely.
When chrysanthemums are unpacked after shipping they will probably be quite soft and dry. Recovery will be quick once the stems have been trimmed and the flowers get a chance to ‘drink’ and they will become lush as they spring to life again. Even so, it’s important to inspect what you’re buying.
Check that the leaves are green on the entire length of the stem and avoid leaves with brown or yellow leaf spots. If you see white nodules on the bottom side of the leaves it may be Chrysanthemum White Rust and it must be reported to the company who sold it to you. Try not to handle those flowers.
Make sure the leaves are free of significant markings from insects. There should be no live insects anywhere on the plants.
All the flowers should be green at their base must be standing up straight on their stems. it’s not unexpected for flowers to occasionally have some crease like markings on the outer petals, from the shipping process. Those petals can easily be removed without destroying the flower if required. If you find pink or brown spots on the petals, it’s probably best to avoid them.
With any perishable product, be they fruit, vegetables and of course cut flowers, the clock is ticking from the moment they have been picked. And this is where the cold chain begins.
Chilling (without freezing) is the best way to safely slow down the aging processes and preserve their usable ‘shelf life’. It stands to reason then that at every possible step along the way, from the time of harvest until they are unpacked for use at their final destination, keeping your flowers chilled is essential to the delivery of a high quality product.
If the chain is broken during shipping and the temperatures are allowed to rise, the plants metabolic processes may resume. This will lead to sharp rises in the temperature and moisture conditions within the cartons, making disease outbreaks and tissue damage within the confines of the cartons a near certainty!
At Rolf Flowers, we have invested heavily in our infrastructure and processes in order to ensure that the cold chain has begun correctly. We maintain the flowers at a constant, low temperature from the time the flowers leave the greenhouse until they are delivered to the perishables division of the airport, making sure we have played our part in bringing you the best possible chrysanthemums wherever you are in the world.
Our flowers are currently available from a select group of South African based agents who buy and distribute our flowers in bulk around the country and the world, as a part of their broad bouquet of floral products. We presently do not export directly, so making use of the export agents listed will make it easier for us to quickly start supplies to you. You will find all their details on our agent’s page.
If you are a floral wholesaler and you would wish to trade with our blooms, you would have to become an approved Rolf Flowers agent. Please contact us directly.
If you are a once-off buyer, it may suit you to buy from one of our agents. You can mail us or choose an agent closer to you.