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Flower Cold Chain Logistics: Every Shipment Has Its Thorns

February 9, 2023
 By Jacob Lee
Flower Cold Chain Logistics: Every Shipment Has Its Thorns
Last Modified: January 17, 2024
Flower cold chain logistics is the service of choice for many botanists seeking to ship their delicate flowers. Anyone who’s ever grown flowers or has gotten flowers for a loved one on Valentine’s Day can attest that these delicate plants don’t last long. Fortunately, cold chain logistics will help you get your flowers to where […]

Flower cold chain logistics is the service of choice for many botanists seeking to ship their delicate flowers. Anyone who’s ever grown flowers or has gotten flowers for a loved one on Valentine’s Day can attest that these delicate plants don’t last long. Fortunately, cold chain logistics will help you get your flowers to where they need to be quickly and safely. 

Flower cold chain logistics is something that you should include in your floral management. This service provides you with refrigerated transportation that will keep your flowers at a comfortable 34-38 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, the life of your flowers is preserved until the final delivery is complete. 

Flower cold chain logistics is a great service and in this article, we’ll show you why and how you should use it to your advantage.

Multiple bouquets of red and pink flowers

What Are the Dangers Of Transporting Flowers?

If you have little experience transporting flowers, then it’s good to know some of the dangers that come with transporting them. These plants are extremely delicate and the rigors of shipping can have negative effects on their life span. 

Some of the dangers that your flowers will face during shipping are:

  • Inconsistent temperatures
  • Lack of water
  • Disease 

Each of these dangers can cause your flowers to sustain damage or even perish before they arrive at the destination. We’ll explain each of these dangers in greater detail as we go.

Inconsistent Temperatures

Standard dry van trailers have no air conditioning and often reach extremely hot temperatures, especially in southern states. Flowers have no chance of surviving in an environment like this, which is why reefer trailers are used to transport them. Reefer trailers provide the necessary temperature control on the transportation of flowers.

Lack Of Water

While you can ship flowers in vases full of water through a carrier of your choice, it’s best not to do so. Vases or other containers filled with water could become compromised while in transit and if the water from them leaks, the box holding your flowers could fall apart. 

This will put your flower in danger of being lost for good. Lack of water can also be detrimental to your flower’s health during shipping. Refrigeration during shipping can help reduce the impact of limiting water during the shipping process.  


Plants are highly susceptible to diseases, especially while they’re in transit. 

Some of the diseases that flowers could have while they’re being transported are:

  • Mildew
    • Powdery mildew
    • Downy mildew
  • Black spot
  • Gray mold

Even if these diseases and others like them don’t kill the flowers you’ve shipped, they’ll still likely ruin the aesthetic beauty of your flowers. In large enough quantities, these can also be harmful to human beings. 

Read our article on cold chain logistics solutions to find out how it can help protect your perishable products.

Bouquets of flowers in the back of a reefer van that will transfer them through the flower cold chain logistics process

How Quickly Do Flowers Have To Be Transported?

Due to the perishable nature of flowers, they need to be transported quite fast. When kept in the right refrigerated environment, flowers can stay healthy for about 7-12 days before they begin to expire. 

hile this might sound like a reasonable amount of time, you also have to consider where many of the flowers sold in the U.S. come from. 

Where Flowers Sold In the U.S Are Grown (By State)

StatePercentage Of Flowers Grown
California76 Percent
Washington6 Percent
New Jersey4 Percent
Oregon4 Percent
All other states10 Percent

Provided by Petal Republic

If you’re in the middle of the country and want to bring in an order of flowers, those beauties are going to travel at least 1,000 miles from any direction if not more. 

Most floral cold chain logistics providers will already know this before you book a shipment with them. That said, it’s a good idea to communicate with your chosen provider with regards to how quickly you need to get your flowers transported to their next destination. 

Flowers wrapped in thin sheets of cardboard

How To Transport Flower Arrangements

Using flower cold chain logistics is essential for transporting flowers successfully from one destination to the next. However, there are a few things that you can do as a shipper to ensure that your flowers arrive safely as well. 

When shipping flowers, follow these steps::

  1. Obtain supplies
  2. Snip flowers
  3. Clamp flowers together
  4. Wrap flowers
  5. Pack your flowers
  6. Close and label

We’ve outlined basic guidelines  that you can follow when preparing  your refrigerated shipment of flowers. 

1. Obtain Supplies

The first step you should take to prepare your flowers for refrigerated shipping is to gather all the supplies that you’ll need. Flowers are delicate, so many of the items you’ll need are to keep them safe. 

The items you’ll need to ship flowers include:

  • Packing foam
  • Bubble wrap
  • Twist ties
  • Crinkle paper
  • Shipping box
  • Vase
  • Packing tape
  • Kitchen shear or sterile knife

You’ll use each of these items in the following steps when you go to pack your flowers. If you are a grower preparing bulk shipments for the first time, proper planning is key. 

2. Snip Flowers

With the right items at your side, you can now begin preparing your flowers for transportation. Start by snipping about an inch off the stems. Additionally, you’ll want to cut the stem off at an angle so that they’ll be able to better absorb water if you are able to keep them in water during the shipping process. 

3. Clamp Flowers Together

After snipping your flower arrangement, you can start clamping it all together. Using twist ties, begin securing your flowers together by wrapping the ties around the center of the stems. Keeping the arrangement secure in this manner will prevent your flowers from shifting around too much while in transit. 

Flowers can be secured in matching bunches for orders to florists who make their own bouquets, or they can be pre-made bouquets from the grower. 

4. Wrap Flowers

Next, you’re going to want to wrap your flowers safely in some type of packing paper. Crinkle paper is one option to go with, but you can also use cellophane wrapping paper or some other type of thin protective material. 

There are two things that you should remember when wrapping your flowers in protective paper materials:

  • Don’t wrap flowers too tightly: Wrapping your flowers too tightly can cause them to become damaged.
  • Don’t wrap flowers too lightly: Wrapping your flowers too lightly won’t give them enough protection.

Make sure that your flowers are wrapped firmly to ensure protection while in transit and to prevent unintentional self-inflicted damage. A good rule of thumb to use is to try and wrap your flowers to the same degree that you see them wrapped at a grocery store. 

5. Palletizing Flowers

Flowers should travel within the confines of palletized corrugated boxes. A corrugated box will keep the flowers from bouncing around while in transit, and palletizing will keep the entire bulk shipment together.

The best pallet for a shipper to use is the 48”X40” Grocery Manufacturer Association (GMA) stringer pallet. This is the most commonly used pallet in the U.S., but other pallet options are available. 

Palletizing flowers can be completed in a few simple steps:

  1. Place boxed flowers onto the pallet in an aligned or staggered pattern
  2. Use a flat piece cardboard every few rows
  3. Ensure the boxes aren’t hanging over the pallet
  4. Wrap the entire load three to five times
  5. Be sure to wrap only the top part of the pallet so that it’s still accessible to forklift blades

While these steps will create a sturdy load of palletized flowers, shippers can also use nylon straps to add extra security to their shipment. 

6. Close and Label

The last step is to simply close and label the box you’re shipping your flowers in. To complete this final part, follow these steps:

  • Close flaps and tape them shut with packing tape
  • Choose a label template of your choice
  • Fill the label out
  • Print the label and tape it to your box

Once you’ve done this, your refrigerated shipment of flowers will be ready to ship. 

Our article on the types of refrigerated freight will provide you with information about other commodities that require temperature controlled transport.

Shelves with bouquets of flowers on them

Benefits Of Flower Cold Chain Shipping

Cold chain logistics is by far the best way to transport flowers from one destination to the next. With the help of cold chain logistics, you’ll have access to a flower transportation system that overcomes the dangers of flower shipping that we discussed above.  

The benefits you’ll reap are:

  • Fast transportation
  • Careful handling 
  • Consistent temperature

We’ve outlined each type of benefit that you’ll reap from using cold chain logistics below.

Transport Is Fast

The first benefit that you’ll have access to is fast shipping. Almost all the goods that cold chain logistics providers help transport are perishable. With this knowledge in mind, a cold chain provider is more than capable of getting your flowers to their destination in the 7-12 days previously mentioned. 

Flowers Are Handled Carefully

Cold chain logistics providers will handle your flower shipments with care. Whether it’s a warehouse worker or a trucker loading or unloading freight, you can count on them to be responsible. 

Even though you packed your freight carefully, it helps to have a provider that will handle your shipment responsibly. 

Flowers Stay Cold

Another benefit of using cold chain logistics is that you’ll have access to both refrigerated shipping and cold storage. Whether it’s in a reefer trailer or in a warehouse, your flowers will remain in temperatures that will allow them to survive long enough to get to their destined markets.

USA Refrigerated Freight Can Be Your Flower Cold Chain Logistics Provider

At USA Refrigerated Freight, we guarantee that your perishable items will make it to their destination safely and in perfect condition. 

Besides flowers, we can transport other types of perishable items such as:

  • Vaccines
  • Animal food
  • Produce
  • Meat 

Whatever types of goods you need to be transported, we can move without a problem. Fill out your quote below if you’re ready to ship or call our team at (866) 849-4923   if you want to speak with an agent directly.

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