Summer Flowers: in the July Flower Agenda
Radiant colours and appealing shapes: sunflower (Helianthus), feverfew (Tanacetum) and statice (Limonium bunatum) make up a versatile trio that provide exciting bouquets in terms of volume and shape and are also very suitable for airy rustic bouquets. The three of them are on the Flower Agenda because they represent sunshine, blooming fields and the sea: three things that are very much associated with summer. Summer flowers fit seamlessly with the interiors trend in which greenery and nature offer balance against the advancing technology in the home: in this case ‘smart’ goes together with ‘heart’.
Team Summer Flowers
The sunflower is very recognisable: a sturdy, slightly hairy stem that forms a thick bud at the top from which a large flower with a dark heart emerges. There are also sunflowers with a green heart and with a fluffy flower. The length of a cut sunflower is usually between 50 and 60cm.
Feverfew has small white flowers and yellow heart. The flowers smell spicy, and the stems reach a maximum length of 60cm. This flower has a simple, natural look that is very fresh and gives the feeling of a meadow flower.
Statice is usually blue and sometimes yellow, lilac, pink or bicoloured. In the wild this flower grows on salt marshes and in areas affected by tides. It brings a seaside feel to a bouquet. This cut flower is also 50-60cm in length.
Our selection of summer flowers originate from North America and spread from there to South America and then came to Europe in 1530 with Spanish sailors. The flower is grown in order to produce sunflower oil or to harvest the seeds, in addition to being a classic summer cut flower. Feverfew is a member of the aster family and grows in south-east Europe. Statice originates from the Mediterranean area but is also native to countries in and around the Caucasus. The bred cut flower is more colourful and refined in structure than the flowers of the wild plant.
Sunflowers like Vincent Van Gogh painted them - yellow petals with a dark heart - are the most popular offering, but there are also varieties with a yellow or brown heart and with lemon, orange or red petals. There are also some single-flowered and double-flowered varieties. There is even a sunflower with a flower that stands upright. Most sunflowers are not traded by name, but under the label of large or small-flowered. The most common cultivar is Helianthus ‘Sunrich Orange’.
Feverfew comes in single-flowered and double-flowered varieties in white and yellow, although there is also a dyed feverfew on the market. With single-flowered varieties the cut flower consists of a ring of white petals around a heart made up of tubular flowers. With some varieties the petals are absent, so that they look like compact balls. The foliage has a beautiful spicy fragrance.
Statice differs between Limonium cultivars and Limonium sinuatum. These are particularly sold under the name statice and offer bright colours whereby blue predominates. There are also pink, lilac and bicoloured varieties. Limonium cultivars also offer branching varieties filled with small flowers in shades of grey, blue or lilac.
Care tips for professionals
- The use of preservatives is very important in the summer months in order to optimise the condition of these flowers during shipping, storage and retail.
- It is best to store the flowers in the cold store at a temperature of 4-5°C
- Ensure that the flowers cannot get damp due to excessive humidity in the cold store or from condensation in cellophane caused by temperature fluctuations. This will encourage botrytis, a fungus which rapidly diminishes the decorative value. With many summer flowers this is known as blight or grey mould.
Care tips for customers
- Trim the stem diagonally with a sharp knife.
- Use a clean (glass) vase and fill it with approx. 7 cm of tap water at room temperature.
- Always add cut flower food to the water for Sunflowers.
- A room temperature of no more than 20°C is ideal.
- Don't place Sunflowers in a draught, in direct sunlight or beside a fruit bowl.
- Regularly top the vase up with tap water: summer flowers are thirsty flowers.