Chances are the flowers that arrived on your doorstep today traveled a long, grueling journey from flower farms in the Netherlands or South America. Yet they look just as fresh as they were when they were growing in fields. The secret to their blooming appearance is in the transportation methods used by the flower industry when they ship flowers to any point in the world.
Depending on where they are grown, flowers take various routes to their buyers. For local shipments, some growers send their flowers to a packing company, who grades the flowers and arranges them in bunches. The packing company then sends the flowers to supermarkets or flower shops. Other growers cut, pack, and package the flowers themselves in the nurseries and send them out to buyers through mail, or to wholesale markets.
International shipments work a little differently. Sometimes, flowers are packed in flat boxes, which allow a large number of flowers to be put in small spaces like airplane holds. Other flowers like expensive tropical varieties will not survive long without a constant supply of fresh water.
Delicate tropical flowers are sent with a little water holder at the ends or shipped out in buckets of water. The latter method not only extends the life of the flowers; it also reduces labor time because once the plane or the boat arrives, the flowers are ready to be sold. On the other hand, buckets are heavier than boxes and take up more space. This method costs more and reduces the number of flowers that can be shipped. Thats why tropical flowers are the usually the most expensive in your local flower shop.
Even growers in developing countries such as The Philippines now are using modern transportation technology that improves the shipment quality of their local flower industry. The lack of a cold storage facility usually results in flowers that are already half-wilted. This is because the time frame from when flowers leave the greenhouse to when they arrive at the plane or ship is very short, and its crucial that the flowers are placed in cold chain storage throughout the journey.
Cold chain is a technology used to keep the temperature down for sensitive cargo like pharmaceuticals. With the availability of cold chain transportation, flowers sent from major growers to Europe and the United States arrive in excellent shape, as though they were freshly picked just that morning.