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Flowers with Longevity – Blooms for Long Guest Trips

Read part one of this article here: The Ultimate Guide to Caring for Flowers on Board

While colour and variety are of course important factors to take into consideration when perfecting the ideal flower arrangement on board, it’s also essential to consider how long your flowers will last. 

Flowers that only last a few days can be a big headache during a long guest trip, so it is important to choose durable flowers, especially for exterior arrangements. 

Use lilies that are still closed when you buy them. A handy tip would be to opt for lilies that do not have a lot of fragrance, some species are almost odourless. Calla lilies are always popular, however, they have a very strong odour and some cultures see them as ‘funeral flowers’. Another great option is Peruvian lilies (alstroemeria) - they are delicate and work extremely well in a mixed large flower arrangement. Once they open, do not forget to cut out the stamens, as this causes severe staining wherever it touches (especially those white carpets on board).  Should a stamen accidentally touch your uniform or fall on the carpet, it is best to pick it up with a piece of cellotape to avoid the orange pollen spreading/staining. 

Once your large lily flower arrangement starts welting, save a few of the large, open ones and place in large rose bowls filled with water on a lunch table – they make a wonderful and elegant statement and also last a few more days. Another alternative would be to float individual orchids in a rose bowl – they also last very long and look gorgeous.

I am a huge fan of using phalaenopsis orchid plants on board. Not only do they last forever (when properly cared for), but they always look simple, classy and elegant. (See my previous article on orchid care here). If cared for correctly, you can regrow them again after their dormant phase has ended - ask a professional to give you advice on how to care for these plants whilst they are in their dormant phase. Cymbidiums and dendrobium (small orchids) are also wonderful options and long-lasting if taken care of properly.

  • Hydrangeas

  • Chrysanthemum

  • Proteas and protea orange pin cushions (leucospermum)

  • Poinsettias, especially around Christmas time

  • Pineapple flower plant

  • Anthurium

  • Gladiolus

  • Bouvardia

  • Celosia

  • Hippeastrum (these large flowers work well on table for decoration)

  • Eustoma

  • Gerbera (not so long lasting, but great for table decoration - always wrap flower wire around stem to prevent head from drooping)

  • Heliconia (especially in Caribbean)

  • Strelitzia (bird of paradise)

  • Ginger flowers

  • Gypsophila (baby’s breath)

  • Hyacinthus

  • Torch Gingers

Other alternatives to using fresh cut flowers would be a variety of cacti and succulents. Succulents have become extremely trendy and popular in the past decade, also on yachts. See more about succulent’s benefits here.

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Preserved flowers

In the past decade, many wonderful options have become available to yacht steward/esses, and even though pricier, in the long run having flowers that last up to a year will greatly reduce the yacht’s flower budget.

Preserved flowers are real, natural flowers that have been harvested at their most beautiful shape and treated with a specific mixture of 100 per cent plant-based, biodegradable preservation formula. The formula replaces the flower’s natural properties and creates a 100 per cent natural product that will stay fresh and beautiful for up to a year - without any maintenance required!

I have asked the advice of Loreta Cazacu from The Roses Empire to share some tips with us on the care for these exquisite and long-lasting arrangements.

These flower arrangements require no water, sunlight and can stay beautiful for a year or longer. They simply need dusting every few months, which means they are perfect for cabins that don’t get much sun, long guest trips and for cruising in remote areas. They even do well in air-conditioned cabins, as not only do these flowers remain unaffected by external factors, such as temperature changes and air-conditioning, but a cool, dry cabin actually provides a perfectly suitable environment for them.

Thanks to their long lifespan and low maintenance, these flowers are a great monetary investment and are guaranteed to lower a yacht’s annual decoration budget by at least 50 per cent, as well as allowing stews to focus on guest experience and service, rather than organising flower deliveries and arrangements every week.

How to care for preserved flowers and stabilised rose arrangements

Keep out of direct sunlight and overly humid areas, only placing somewhere dry (i.e., not in guest heads).

To dust, either use a paint brush/make-up brush or a hairdryer set on gentle and cold setting.  When the roses are getting older, the petals will start to split and the colour may fade after several years. 

Freezing flowers?

Something that will always be a show stopper at any luncheon or during aperitifs on board is to freeze some colourful flowers or flower petals in ice and create a frozen ‘ice bucket’. 

Another very striking alternative would be to freeze edible flowers and water in ice trays – this will always make a statement in a lovely refreshing gin and tonic on a late, lazy yacht afternoon floating around the Mediterranean Sea.

In my many years as a yacht stewardess, handling, buying, selecting, arranging and caring for the onboard flower arrangements was always one of my favourite tasks and I had endless fun using the creative side of my brain (as opposed to the OCD, perfectionist, organised side!) and I saw it as an escape from the sometimes-mundane duties of cabins and laundry. As a last piece of advice, I would suggest that you enrol in some flower arranging courses, even just a basic one, as this will set you up with the basic design skills and provide you with an excellent ground rules to apply when creating your masterpieces!

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