Exposing flowers and plants to contamination and dirt spreads disease and shortens life. Keep the place clean. Poor sanitation is a dreadful risk. Wash buckets, coolers and the like.

To check your sanitation procedures, ask the following question:
"Are the flower vases and buckets clean enough to drink water from?"
If the answer is "no," then the following sanitation suggestions are for you.

  • Flower buckets and vases: All buckets used to store, ship and display fresh cut flowers must be thoroughly washed after every use, which generally means at least once per week. Never put new flowers in with old and never put them in a bucket not previously washed. Use cleaning agents developed for the floral industry.
  • Flower and plant coolers: Clean the inside walls, floor and ceiling of coolers as often as you would clean a bathroom. Mold growing on cooler surfaces, as well as flower and plant debris, can increase ethylene levels and the chance of disease and insect spread.
  • Old flowers and plants: Don't wait until tomorrow to discard old, broken and otherwise unsalable flowers and plants. These products, which were once a source of revenue, are now a source of ethylene and other unwanted "guests."
  • Underwater cutters: Change the water frequently, at least once per day.
  • Fresh-flower solutions: Make sure fresh-flower solutions are made according to label instructions. Flower food solutions made too dilute invite microorganism growth.
  • Bedding plant trays: Do not display bedding plants in the same trays repeatedly without washing.
  • Potted plant saucers: Never use the same potted plant saucer to display more than one plant. Clean between uses. Plant diseases can easily spread from one plant to another.
  • Hose watering: If plants are watered with a hose, make sure water and soil particles are not splashed from one pot to another. This is a fast way to spread disease. Use a breaker nozzle attached to the end of the hose to disperse the water and reduce splashing.

Information reprinted from SAF Flower and Plant Care Manual, (Society of American Florists: Alexandria, VA, 1994), p 163.