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.
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.
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).
Every time you receive a new shipment of flowers.
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.
You want to make sure you give your flowers the best chance for survival and longest life. There are a couple of great products we recommend. So which to use and when to use? Crowning Glory? Or Finishing Touch?
What it Does
This product is a magical, wax-based formula that acts as a shield preventing water loss through the petals and leaves. Important to note that CG will seal the flower in place and does not allow further development.
When to Use
Perfect for wedding and event work, corsage, boutonniere and other personal flowers. Great for any flowers that are susceptible to water loss and wilting such as Hydrangeas and Dahlias.
How to Use
Spray flowers until dripping. Allow to dry. Then package up and/or place into cooler.
What it Does
This product is like a Cliff Bar for your flowers! It is a dose of nutrients to keep flowers hydrated and keep them looking fresh. Unlike CG, FT allows the flowers to continue to grow and develop.
When to Use
Great for everyday designs before they leave for their final destinations. Can be used on potted foliage plants as well.
How to Use
Lightly mist flowers/arrangements and then package and/or place in the cooler. Avoid over-spraying as it can burn the flowers.
You’ve heard the saying, “You are what you eat.” Well it holds true for flowers too!
If you eat a diet with plenty of the right nutrients and limit the bad ones, you’ll be healthier. If you feed your flowers a diet of the right nutrients and limit the bad ones – they will be healthier and last longer, potentially saving you hundreds of dollars a year!!
There are several solutions to choose from; the most familiar being Floralife Crystal Clear (Flower Food 300) and Chrysal 3 Vase Solution. Both are great, tried and true products that contain the RIGHT ingredients.
What are the RIGHT ingredients? An effective flower food will contain three types of ingredients:
- Sugar – to nourish and give energy to grow and develop
- Acidifier – a catalyst to encourage stems to take up the solution
- “Unpluggers” – compounds to keep bacteria/fungus in check in order to keep the solution clear
Every time you process product (after hydrating, if you are using a separate hydrating solution), for filling vases and soaking foam for arrangements.
MEASURE! MEASURE! MEASURE! Correctly measuring your floral solutions is the single most important part of processing. Let me say that again, correctly measuring your floral solutions is the single most important part of processing.
- Too Strong – stems are burned and vascular tissue is damaged, preventing water/food uptake
- Too Weak – this provides food for not only the flowers, but the bacteria/fungi as well. A weaker solution will not have enough ingredients to kill them and the bacteria/Fungi will actually GROW FASTER!!
Keep a pitcher nearby that allows you to measure liquid if you are mixing with powder. Or even better, a dosing system is easy, inexpensive (free – ask us!) and accurate every time!