Stages of a Cut Sunflower*Stage 1) Cut at this stage in the field to decrease petal damage. This is the first stage of the Sunflower, which we call “Tight.”
– When received at this cut stage the most important action is to re-cut the Sunflower and put the flower in a vase/bucket that has at least 5 inches of fresh water.
– Takes approx. 2-3 days to go from Stage 1 to Stage 2.
Stage 2) This is the second stage of the Sunflower cut which we refer to as the “Opening Stage.” Be prepared to have stems within the bunch open inconsistently (as seen here).
– When received at this cut stage the most important action is to make sure the vase/bucket has fresh water (must be changed every 2 days) and is maintained at a consistent temperature (between 55º – 70º F).
– Takes approx. 2-3 days to go from Stage 2 to Stage 3.
Stage 3) Ideal Stage for Sunflowers as they should have a more uniform cup-stage appearance. This third stage is known as the “Blooming Stage.”
– Make sure water has been replaced from initial uptake (Stage 2) and re-cut to accelerate opening stage.
– Takes approx. 5-7 days to go from Stage 3 to Stage 4.
Stage 4) This is the fourth and final stage of the Sunflower and is subsequently named the “Open Stage.” Once it reaches the full blown state, petals will begin to fall off.
– When Sunflowers reach this stage, they should be kept in low to moderate temperature (55º – 70º F), so they last longer and age less quickly.
– Takes approx. 2-3 days before petals start falling off.
* From Dos Gringos’ Website
Wholesale and Retail Flower Handling* from Kansas State Florists Association
Sunflower, Helianthus annuus
• Unpack flowers from shipping box as soon as possible.
• Unwrap flower bunches.
• Remove any foliage that will be under water.
• Recut flower stems under water 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 inch. Use warm water, 100 to 105°F,
preferably acidified to pH 3.5.
• Hydrate flowers in warm water, 100 to 105°F, preferably acidified to
pH 3.5 for 30 to 60 minutes or until flowers, leaves and stems are turgid.
• After hydrating, place flowers in floral preservative and then in cold
storage—32 to 36°F and 80 to 90 percent relative humidity.
Check flowers daily, refresh preservative, discard diseased and damaged
flowers, and recut stems.
Water stress problems are common and are made more obvious by the
flower head weight. To ensure flowers are properly hydrated, use a
hydrating agent, cut under water or use warm water.
6 to 12 days.