Flowers need more than just water to quench their thirst!
So you have your buckets and your tools all clean, and your flowers just arrived at your door (or maybe they are there waiting for you in the morning because LBR delivered them overnight)…what’s next?  Hydration – preparing the flowers for and administering that first drink effectively.  

Why

Have you ever drunk a glass of lemonade through a straw and had a lemon seed get stuck in the straw?  It is impossible to quench your thirst when this happens, the lemonade stops flowing.  The Flower stem is the same as that straw – it has to be clean in order for the flower to be able to start drinking.  Several things can cause blockage in the stem vessels, such as trapped air, contamination from microbes, and natural compounds secreted by the plant to heal any cut or severed ends. Commercially formulated hydration solutions provide the necessary ingredients to clean these out.

What

Floral Hydration Solution – aka “stem un-plugger.”  Both Floralife and Chrysal offer their version of this.  From an efficiency standpoint, Floralife Hydrate (Quick Dip 100) is great, but some situations may call for a more thorough preparation like Floralife Hydroflor 100 or Chrysal 1 Hydrate (#1/Red cap).   

When

Every time you receive a new shipment of flowers.  

How

Assess the condition of the flowers when they arrive.  If flowers are delivered by LBR in Holding Solution, they have already been hydrated and may not need anything – although a shot of Quick Dip never hurts.   If flowers are dry, but don’t seem stressed (this will be most instances), Quick Dip is a great choice.  For flowers that are known to be “thirsty” such as hydrangea or Dahlias, or flowers that seem excessively wilted, opt for a more potent solution like Hydroflor or Chrysal 1 Hydrate.

Quick Dip:  Pour about 2” of Quick Dip into a small container.  Remove foliage that will be below the water level – important to leave the foliage above the water level on as these are the “pumps” that help the flower drink.   Recut flower stems 1” – 3” and quickly dip into the Quick Dip solution and then into the Flower food solution (see Lesson 4: Nutrition).   Discard solution when finished processing.

Floralife Hydroflor and Chrysal 1 Hydrate:  Accurately measure and prepare solution according to manufacturers’ instructions.  Remove foliage and cut stems the same as with Quick Dip, then place into the solution and put into the cooler** for one hour up to 24 hours (follow manufacturers’ instructions).  Solution can be reused – saving time, water and money.

**There are differing schools of thought on whether to hydrate in or out of the cooler.  As a general guideline, less time at room temperature is good or a longer period in the cooler is better, if time allows.