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Cascading Orchid Bouquet – Designing Without A Water Source

Ask the Expert: orchid question

I am helping a friend with her wedding flowers. She wants to have phalaeonpsis orchids in a cascade bouquet. If I make a cascade bouquet and have to wire in some flowers (they would have no water source) how long can she expect them to last. She needs to have it made on a Friday to transport 1 1/2 hours to another town. Then the wedding is not until 4:00pm Saturday. Will the bouquet hold up for this amount of time? Thanks! Shellie


With the time and transportation issues, I would not take a chance on using Phalaenopsis orchids without a water source. However, there maybe one or two solutions to your problem. You can soak chenelle stems (pipe cleaners) in water and insert them in the orchid stems – this will provide a small amount of water. Another alternative is to soak cotton balls in water and place on the end of the orchid stems, until an hour before the service. A third option is to use water picks. These small plastic tubes, with one end pointed and the other end having a rubber cap (in which flowers can be inserted), are used to anchor fresh flowers with delicate stems into foam or other materials while providing a water source. If you could strategically hid the water picks (the snug-fitting cap will prevent leakage) in the bouquet, you would have a water source for the Phalaenopsis orchid bouquet.

To help keep the flowers fresh, you will need to transport the flowers in a cooler. Place a bag of ice in the bottom of a cooler, then place a piece of plastic and a thin cardboard on top of the ice. Place the Orchid bouquet on top of the cardboard and close the lid. This will protect the bouquet from temperatures extremes on the way to car and during the long drive. The cool temperature will help keep the orchids fresh for the wedding.

Phalaenopsis orchids make wonderful wedding flowers; don’t let the lack of a traditional water source deter you.


  1. Hey Shelly,
    Actually orchids are one of the hardiest flowers to use for wedding work. What I would recommend is the following…purchase your orchids as fresh as possible. I try to use local growers if possible. Hydrate them properly. If you MUST wire them leave that until last. You may be able to use the whole stem draping down in the cascade. That would be the optimum solution. If you do this be sure to use Stem Lock to hole the heave stem in place.

    After the bouquet is completed spray it good with Crowning Glory. I swear by it to keep all my wedding work looking fresh. I usually mix it with water in equal amounts and totally “wet” the piece (bo-k, corsage or bout) making sure to get the back of the blooms as well as the front This treatment should keep the bo-k looking fresh until the next day. I would follow the advise about placing it in a cooler with ice.

    Good luck and have fun! Janet Fyre, The Enchanted Florist, Asheville, NC

  2. Janet,

    Thanks for reccomendations. I had a difficult time with question – my only experience with a cascading orchid bouquet has been as an observer not a designer. You, on the other hand, seem to have had vast experience with these kinds of bouquet. I sure with your instructions, Shellie will be able to create a beautiful bouquet for her friend. Thanks for the advise.

  3. I have found when using flowers that need a water source in those types of bouquets, corsages, or bouts, i use a small amount of cotton around the bottom of the stem spray with water then use florist tape over it. Make sure that some of the cotton is at the bottom tip of the stem. This works well along with the Crowning Glory & definitely the cooler is a must. You might cover the orchid blooms with a damp kleenex to avoid bruising. I would also stablize the bouquet in a box stuffed with tissue so that none of the flowers are bearing any weight of the bouquet. Good luck!!

  4. You could use an oasis floral foam boquet holder they hold 2 and a half times their weight in water( without draining) especially for a cascading type but definitely use the stem lok or oasis floral adhesive to lock in stems – just dont put on the cut end of flower (it will stop water uptake!) use on sides of stem Good Luck!

  5. online personal loans says:

    I have no floral experience whatsoever, but now i know if I ever come across this dilema, i will come here, it’s great that so many people can help find a solution for someone elses problem. This is great. thanks

  6. Personally I think that if you soak the plants over night they will last for a couple of days. I know with many other types of flowers this is usually the case and they will stay bloomed for longer than many people think.

  7. Does this apply to cymbidium orchids as well? Im wiring my own cymbidium orchid bouquet on late Friday night, for a 5pm wedding on Saturday. Will this hold up? Also, Ive seen conflicting info on refrigerating orchids. Some websites say anything below 55 degrees will kill orchids, others say to refrigerate the orchids….

  8. I would not recommend refrigerating the orchids, because when the orchids are in cold temperature for too long then they will unfortunately die. But this does apply to cymbidium orchids as well.

  9. Can anyone tell me – do you or do you not refrigerate phalaeonpsis orchids once they have been wired and put into a bouquet???

  10. I am not sure what the correct answer is, so I had Mandy put the question on Flower Shop Network’s Facebook page to see what other florists know. Hopefully tomorrow we’ll have an answer. If you are on Facebook, you can see the conversation there as well.

  11. On Facebook Living Arts Floral said they cover them 1st with shredded tissue or similar but didn’t mention whether to use refrigeration or not.

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