LBR Locally Grown Tulip Processing

How many tulips do you think we grow right here in Minnesota each year? Find out as you see how locally grown tulips are grown and processed right here in Plymouth, Minnesota! Our lead designer, Georgia Edgington, and Production Supervisor, Marcos Ortega, walk you through this incredible process.

Enjoy tulip season!


LBR Care & Handling 101 – Lesson 1: Sanitation

How Can Sanitation Save Hundreds of Dollars a Year?
If you ask most in the floral industry how often we clean our flower containers, the response is usually, “not often enough.”  Developing a sanitation program and sticking to it can save you hundreds of dollars a year!!


If not kept in check, bacteria, mold and fungi clog stems, interfering with hydration, food uptake and flower development and longevity.  They also devour stems, foliage and flowers creating an unsightly, contagious mess.


Buckets, cooler walls, coils, and floors, design benches and tools – the list of what needs effective sanitation seems endless at times, but will pay off in the long run.


Sanitation tasks should be handled on a routine basis.   

Buckets and Vases should be cleaned AFTER EVERY USE

Carts and design counters should be sprayed with a cleaning solution and wiped down once each week. While you’re at it, wipe off knives and other tools. 

If you soak your foam in a bucket, change the water at least daily. Scrub the bucket before adding more water.  Ceilings, floors and your cooler’s walls should be sprayed and wiped down quarterly. 


A common misconception is that Chlorine Bleach is a good choice for shop sanitation.  However, once chlorine bleach is diluted in water, it will lose effectiveness within 24 hours*.  Plus it’s corrosive to skin, reactive with other chemicals and definitely does not smell like roses.    A much better choice is one of the solutions created specifically for the industry.  These solutions have a residual effect – they continue to kill bacteria for days after treatment.    One solution that we recommend is  Floralife Cleaner (DCD).

Buckets & Vases:  At first you may need to scrub the insides to loosen any residue, with continued use of these solutions, the need for this will go away since the residual effect will prohibit the residue from forming in the first place.  If you have ample sink space, dedicate one sink to be the “dunk” tank – or a plastic storage bin works well too.  Fill the sink/container with solution mixed to manufacturer’s instructions.   Simply dunk the bucket or vase in the solution and set upside down to dry.   Stack clean buckets and vases upside down (dirty ones right side up).  

Tools, coolers, other surfaces:  Mix your cleaning solution at the recommended strength in a spray bottle.  Make sure to label the spray bottle with stickers provided by manufacturer.   Spray surfaces well and wipe with dry cloth. 

LBR Care & Handling 101 – Lesson 2: Hydration

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.

LBR Care & Handling 101 – Lesson 3: Finishing – Crowing Glory vs Finishing Touch

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?

Crowning Glory

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.

Finishing Touch

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.

LBR Care & Handling 101 – Lesson 4: Nutrition

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!