Video: Reflexing Tulips and Roses
Reflexing flowers like roses and tulips is one of my favorite ways to enhance their natural beauty. It’s an old-school idea making a lovely comeback. In my floral design work, I seek to emulate the natural ebb and flow of nature. I find it comforting. As flowers reach their peak of beauty in nature the outer petals of many flowers unfurl, bending back towards the stem before surrendering their petals. That fully open point, right before surrender is so beautiful.
In the cut flower trade, flower buds often arrive crisp, tight and closed. Since my design work is primarily event based, I wanted to implement techniques for moving tight buds to the point just before surrender faster. Gently reflexing flowers is how I accomplish this.
Flowers suitable for reflexing are aged just a bit. The petals must naturally move from crispy to flexible and soft. This is the most common mistake people make — not waiting long enough. This typically takes three or four days in the studio out of refrigeration. Starting at the base of the flower next to the stem I gently pop the petal inside out, directing the outer petals downward. I repeat this until I’ve achieved the desired look, sometimes flipping all or some petals back towards the sky after stretching them. Practicing this technique is extremely important as it takes time to develop the feel and timing for an optimal outcome. Finished flowers should be sealed with a finishing spray to lock moisture in these newly exposed petals. Use extra care when working with white and lightly colored flowers to avoid bruising petals and do not use this technique on flowers that are sensitive to the oil in our skin, like gardenia.
The most common question I get regarding this topic is, “Does reflexing the petals reduce vase life.” And to this question — the short answer is no — with proper care and gentle hands. I must emphasize though, the flower has already been working for 3 or 4 days and I am exposing more petals to air which can increase the transpiration and push flowers to dehydration faster. This is why the finishing spray is essential.
Practice, practice and get comfortable with the process. I do not recommend reflexing every rose you receive on your next order only to find you’ve bruised the petals and lost the whole lot. Best wishes on your flower reflexing journey! It’s fun and so are you!