Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Working Designer Wednesday: Floral Coolers


image via Robin Wood Flowers

I recently received an email from Nadia Di Tullio asking for advice from Botanical Brouhaha readers. It read:

“I wanted to ask about fridges and what kind your readers use…and if any use domestic fridges (specifically for flowers - not along side the supper!) …I've heard conflicting views on this. I must think that some of your featured florists must make things more than a day in advance as the weddings are large, so how do they keep them tiptop? Fridges aren't used so much in the UK as shops are generally cool, maybe with AC installed. But I'm guessing they are used in some states in the US?”

Let me make a few comments and then I hope you “real working florists” will be so kind as to leave your advice for Nadia…

First of all, I can’t imagine living in a place where a cooler isn’t a necessity…Texas heat is brutal in the summer! I chose a 2-door display floral cooler from SRC Refrigeration…and as you can see, I quickly outgrew it!

2008 06 28 127

So is it necessary to use a floral cooler or can you use a residential refrigerator/commercial beverage cooler for flower storage? Although floral coolers are more expensive, I am convinced a true floral cooler is necessary if you want to get the maximum vase life out of your flowers…and which floral designer doesn’t want that? Here’s why it makes a difference….

1. Floral coolers are designed to gently circulate cool air in such a way as not to damage flowers by a sudden influx of air. Beverage coolers are designed to cool beverages as quickly as possible with high fan speeds and low temperatures.

2. Floral coolers provide flowers with 80-95% humidity to keep flowers free from dehydration damage. Beverage coolers generally try to keep the humidity as low as possible. Residential refrigerators have no way to control the humidity at all.

3. Floral coolers are designed with shelves of varying sizes that can be moved or removed to accommodate large buckets without damaging flowers. Beverage coolers usually contain many shelves placed close together to store as many drinks as possible.

To me, the humidity issue is the reason to choose a floral cooler over a residential refrigerator. Lack of humidity in storage can shorten vase life by 3-5 days which is significant when considering customer satisfaction. For additional information, check out these links…

Floral Cooler Care floral.html

Refrigerated Trailers

Basic Information


             Now, please feel free to leave your comments for Nadia. Do you use a floral cooler? If so, what kind? Do you feel it’s advantageous to use a floral cooler as opposed to a residential refrigerator/commercial beverage cooler? 

Thanks so much! Hope your Wednesday is wonderful!




Svenska Blomsterbloggar said...

I know what Nadia mean with cool shops, since I work as a floral desinger in London!

Here in Sweden we don't have same kind of heat like in Texas, but most flower shops use coolers.

Once I worked in a flower shop were the owner couldn't afford a floral cooler so she used 3 fridges from her old kitchen! Those fridges were in the work space behind the shop and in the shop the flowers were displayed without any cooler at all. We always kept 2 windows open in the shop and moved the flowera th the fridges in the evening.

It was not an ideal solution! But it worked and after 1 year or so she bought proper coolers.

Take care! Emelie

Amanda Mare said...

I think having a real floral cooler is a very important investment. It's the first big purchase we made for our business. We have a 3 door True brand floral cooler. I would be lost without it in the summer heat. And you're exactly right as far as using a regular old refrigerator. I would highly discourage it. They don't keep temperature as accurately as actual floral coolers, and the humidity is a real issue as well. We purchased our cooler from a shop that was closing. Don't forget you don't need to pay big bucks on a new one - look used!!!!

~My Fleur Journey~ said...

I just bought a cooler for my shop and unfortunately it seems proper coolers for flowers are unavailable where I am so I settled for a beverage cooler. The temperature is quite accurate as I placed a thermostat inside to check after I set the temperature and also the racks are movable so I can adjust according to the flowers. However, Amy is right in that I cannot control the humidity and there are 2 fans at the top blasting air so I have to place some tissue paper over the flowers as I worried those near the fans will dry out.

Having done flower arranging classes in London, I also note even big florists don't use coolers there, I think they really only need one for about 1 month during the whole year. I made a bouquet last August and the flowers lasted so well in room temperature, but then we must keep the flowers happy for as long as possible so I think it is worth investing in one.

Can I ask a question about the temperature? Atm, I'm set the fridge to 8-10 degrees but not sure whether that's ideal for flowers like roses, hydrangea, vanda, stock generally. So would be great if someone can share their experience on this as well.

Mimi said...

I believe that a cooler designed specifically for flowers is the only way to go. A Fly Me To The Moon Florists the quality and freshness of the flowers is everything. The humidity in a floral cooler a non-negotiable for us. We had to have ours custom made to fit in a very weird space off the shop floor. When we move to a larger place, I would love to have at least one cooler in the shop for more delicate flowers. But again it would really have to blend into the decor. Love the one Robin Wood Flowers has.

John said...

We use a CoolBot

Essentially, an insulated room with an air conditioner that is rigged to "supercool" the space. It is not for display but more for heat. You can make it as big as you need to. I use it to get the field heat out the of the flowers and then to store pieces as we are prepping for event work.

Michelle said...

I may be a bit late to the discussion, but I recently went to England and visited several flowers shops. It was not until about the third one that I noticed there were no coolers. Being from Texas, I too cannot imagine life without them. I'm currently considering changing a small storage area into a walk-in and wondered if anyone has any insight or advice. Thanks.