There is one big problem with Lilium and that is its pollen on the far reaching stamens, which can easily be accidentally knocked off onto clothing. A simple way to prevent getting pollen on your clothes is to remove the anthers (tips of the stamens) as soon as you get the flowers home. Keep repeating this with every bud that opens or cut off the stamens.  You can cut the anthers off with a pair of scissors to avoid getting the pollen on your hands.


What methods are there to remove pollen from clothing?

• Do not brush or rub with your hand! Human skin contains oils that will help attach the pollen to the fibers.

• Let the pollen dry and remove it with a soft brush.

• Take a piece of tape and press this onto the pollen. The pollen will adhere to it and can then be removed.

• Use a vacuum cleaner to remove the pollen from the clothing.

• If some pollen stains are stubborn, hang the garment in the sun. The stain and the pollen in it will dry up and can then be removed by one of the methods mentioned above.


by: Gayle Smith
Technical Consultant for Chrysal Americas

Black edging happens for two reasons:

  • Lots of intense light (high UV)
  • Cold Temperatures (greenhouses have no heat)


UV light–

Roses are grown in areas with lots of intense light energy. Production areas close to the equator (Colombia and Ecuador) get 12 hours light every day of the year. Light energy (luminosity) is strongest at the equator vs. northern latitudes.

Pigments in red roses are particularly sensitive to “sun-burning”. This condition is genetic to red, brown and purple rose varieties. Black edged and brown “sunburn” patches result

UPSIDE: It is this strong equatorial light that also provides us intense colors

Temperature: Greenhouses in Latin America are mostly not heated so when there is a big difference between daytime and night time temperatures, roses respond in a way that the pigments concentrate.  In yellow and pink varieties, concentrated pigments appear as red flames or  intense color chips, but in red varieties, pigments appear black.

UPSIDE: The wide variance in daytime—night-time temps gives us HUGE head sizes


No, not at all. The down side is simply the effect on aesthetic appearance


  • Peeling opens the bud structure and blooms pop fast
  • Peeling triggers the internal production of ethylene which shortens vase life
  • Ethylene gas is produced as a wound response
  • Peeling distorts the bud shape. No one wants a Hershey’s kiss shape rose
  • Peeling the guard petals leaves roses susceptible to mechanical damage  inherent in  transit and handling
  • When roses open, the dark edges re-curve down and are not visible


These varieties are selected because they perform well in the growing conditions of Latin America (e.g. large heads, strong, long, straight stems, good opening)

Originating in one of the least hospitable environs on earth, the foothills where China and Tibet meet Russia and Afghanistan, early tulips were hardy and well-adapted to harsh winters and parched summers of central Asia. For nomads having survived another howling, freezing, Asian winter, tulips became a symbol of life and fertility; the heralds of spring. By the early 16th century, tulips had become one of the favorite motifs of artists in the Ottoman Empire.

In the autumn of 1562, tulips arrived to the Netherlands inside a Flemish merchant’s bale of fabrics shipped from Istanbul to Antwerp. History tells us that the merchant roasted, seasoned and ate most of the bulbs for dinner thinking they were some sort of Turkish onion. He tossed the remaining bulbs into his vegetable patch. The next spring, vibrant red and yellow flowers stood out among drab leaves of cabbages and kale. Much to the chagrin of the merchant, who was looking forward to another meal of Turkish onions, he realized there was something special about these brilliant flowers and contacted a friend with Horticultural savvy to come have a look. The spark of tulip interest was ignited in the Netherlands. Fortunes were made and lost as Tulipomania reached its peak less than 75 years later.

Information from Tulipomania by Mike Dash

Processing tulips…

Poking pins in stems or adding pennies in tulip buckets is so yesterday! To maximize vase life, experience vivid colors and vibrant green foliage to the end, process tulips in cold water and Chrysal Bulb T-Bags.


Isn’t plain water the best tulip treatment?

It’s true, bulb flowers need very little sugar to push open, but the formula is not about sugar. Bulb t-bags re-balance hormone levels disturbed at harvest, keep water pollution-free and drop the pH to dissolve air bubbles that block flow.


Chrysal Bulb T-bags are a balancing act

Bulb t-bags re-balance cell chemistry that gets out of whack when bulbous flowers are harvested, contain minimum amount of sugar to stabilize color, and are suitable for all flowers coming from bulbs, corms, rhizomes and tubers including iris, alstroe, anemones, alliums, freesia, nerines, ranuculas and lilies.

Off balance… results in symptoms of premature yellow foliage in lilies and alstroe. Iris petals curling in rather than unfurling; freesia flower combs with only one or two buds opening.

In tulips, the hormone imbalance causes foliage to rapidly loose color vibrancy — turning grey and yellowing. Super short vase life, and shriveling petals that soon appear transparent and look drab.


Easy to use: Fill tulip buckets with ½ gallon of cold water. Drop in Bulb T-bag and add tulips.

Solution will keep the water clean and flowing for 5-6 days on display.


Tulip Field Notes~

  • Unlike most flowers, tulips drink just fine through callous stem tissues as long as the flowers have not been held dry for longer than 3-4 days
  • Keep tulip sleeves in place until flowers have hardened up to insure upright stems
  • Never mix daffs with tulips. Daffodil sap kills tulips fast
  • Use Bulb T-bags and cold water to prep display buckets for all bulbous flowers

A common remark often heard in places where consumers buy flowers is: “I would like to buy the roses that have very tight buds, so I can enjoy them longer”. Is this true, a myth or false?

What is the best maturity/cutting stage?

Flowers are sold in many different forms, colors and opening stages. Despite these differences, the products need to be cut and graded at the grower in uniform lots with the same characteristics.Whether cut open or tight at the growers is crucial to the vase life and flower development at the consumer’s.The photographs show different stages, marked as the minimum and maximum acceptable cutting stage.

Maturity standards

During distribution from grower to auction, to wholesaler, to retailer and finally to the consumer it is important to know in which flowering stage the cut flower is. All partners in the distribution should agree on standards, based on research figures.Those standards of minimum and maximum opening stage differ per flower. When cut flowers do not meet the determined opening stage, they should not be traded. Flowers may not be offered too tight but certainly not too open either, in order to deliver the consumer an optimal product. Flowers cut too tight will never open and will become more sensitive to ‘bent-neck’. Flowers cut too open can also cause other problems, i.e. being more exposed to petal damage during distribution.Rosa, Iris, Lilium and Nerine i.e. are very sensitive to the stage in which they are cut

How to tackle this problem?

If Nerine has to be cut slightly tighter for the Japanese market(requested by the Japanese customers), it is strongly recommended to pre-treat them with Chrysal BVB(ask if your roses have been pre-treated). This will result in longer vase life, greener stems and more open flowers. Rosa, for example, should not be harvested too tight. If so, the vase life,flower and color development at the consumer is poor or absent (see photographs).

summer cut stage 1winter cut stage 2buying stage 3buying stage 4


stage 5stage 6stage 7stage 8


Flowers, leaves and buds drop basically to protect the flower i.e.from desiccation. The most well-known reason for flowers,leaves and buds to drop is the result of exposure to ethylene,from inside the flower or outside sources. As a reaction to cutting/harvesting, the process of aging starts in the flower. The aging plant growth regulator produced in th e flower is ethylene.In order to fulfill its task of continuation of the species, the flower regenerates as quickly as possible by producing higher concentrations of ethylene. Especially when circumstances become sub-optimal, which they do in the post-harvest period,the flower starts to produce excessive amounts of ethylene. If ethylene is supplied from an outside source, the process of aging is accelerated too. The flower absorbs this outside ethylene,which in its turn acts as an accelerator of the internal aging process. At high concentrations it becomes killing to the flower.In addition, petal drop, leaf drop and shrinking flowers are symptoms of exceeding the acceptable ethylene concentrations in the flower.


Ethylene sources are i.e.:

  • ripening fruit
  • exhaust from combustion engines
  • smoke, industrial or from cigarettes
  • yeast, bacteria and fungi

Ethylene-sensitive flowers showing flower, leaf and bud drop are i.e.:

  • Aconitum
  • Agapanthus
  • Alstroemeria
  • Antirrhinum
  • Asclepias
  • Bouvardia
  • Cattleya
  • Chelone
  • Crocosmia
  • Cymbidium
  • Delphinium
  • Dendrobium
  • Dianthus
  • Euphorbia
  • Freesia
  • Iris
  • Kniphofia
  • Lathyrus
  • Lilium (Asiatic)
  • Paphilopedium
  • Phalenopsis
  • Phlox
  • Physostegia
  • Tritelaria

How can you identify ethylene damage in flowers?

  • Petal color appears bluish (obvious in roses, carnations)
  • Shattering florets in delphiniums, wax flower, limonium or snap dragons. Lots of petals in bottom of sleeves:
  • Buds and leaves fall off stems when flowers are handled
  • Asiatic and LA hybrid lily buds appear crepe-y or shriveled. Immature buds fall off
  • Stock blooms appear shriveled and transparent
  • Alstro flowers appear transparent
  • White spray Dendrobian orchids appear a weird color of chartreuse green

What can you do to prevent ethylene damage?

Products based on silver thiosulphate (STS), like Chrysal AVB,protect ethylene-sensitive flowers against the negative effects of ethylene. This product should be used at grower level. When correctly applied, the flowers are protected throughout the whole floral chain. Also important is the use of Chrysal Clear Professional at trade level and Chrysal Clear cut flower food at consumer level to keep the flowers in optimal condition and thus less susceptible to ethylene damage.

Chrysal also has several products that help with Ethylene at the transportation level as well as at the Wholesale/ Retail level.  Click here for a video about Chrysal Ethylene Buster.

Fungi infection by Botrytis is one of the main post harvest problems of cut flowers. Roses and gerbera are particularly sensitive. What can you, as a florist, do to limit the damage?

Botrytis cinerea (grey mildew) gets its necessary food from living flowers and plants, and has a very damaging effect on them. Once the fungi becomes visible, the flowers must be thrown away.

The infection goes through miniscule fungi spores. These spread via air and land on the plant. To be able to germinate, moisture is needed. At a low temperature ( ± 5°C) the germination evolves slower than at higher temperatures (± 20°C). After germination of the spores, hyphal threads are created that enter the flower and affect the whole flower. At this point the infection cannot be stopped. Low temperatures cause some slowing down of contamination and germination.



The way to control damage as much as possible is to hinder the germination of spores. This can be done by keeping the relative humidity (rv) as low as possible (<90%) and to store the flowers in low temperatures (± 5°C) for as long as possible.

A problem for you as a florist is that the infection often occurs earlier in the chain, at the grower or wholesaler. For this reason it is important to be very anxious about the first signs of botrytis infection when purchasing flowers. These can be noticed as little brown spots in the petals (pocks). Flowers with this kind of infection should not be bought and avoided at all costs!

Do not keep the flowers in their sleeves too long, because otherwise the humidity between the buds can get very high. Florists with their own cool storage must not let the rv get over 90%.

Finally it is – of course- important to work as hygienically as possible. This means cleaning up plants and flowers and the daily cleaning of tables, scissors and knives.


Sensitive flowers

Botrytis can affect a lot of varieties, but most problems occur with rose, gerbera and lisianthus. Within one variety differences in sensitivity can occur. For example the rose “Grand Prix” is very susceptible for botrytis. Experience shows, that one grower’s flowers are more susceptible than those of another grower.



  • Infection with botrytis often happens early in the chain. Pay attention when buying flowers.
  • When experiencing a lot of problems, buy your flowers from another grower.
  • Assure a low relative humidity in both cool storage and the shop.
  • Remove the flowers from the sleeve as soon as possible.
  • Work hygienically.

There still is not  much clear about the impact of the water temperature on the longevity of flowers.  Some florists vow on cold water, others on lukewarm or even warm water. In general: the colder, the better.

Florists differ in their opinion about the “right” water temperature for their cut flowers. Many prefer lukewarm or even warm water to cold. However, a positive effect of warm water has not been  endorsed by any (scientific) research. On the contrary, there are many arguments which are in favor of the use of cold water with almost all cut flowers. As a maximum temperature ranks 10° C.


Bacterial growth

Micro organisms as bacteria and fungus grow faster at a high temperature than at a low temperature. At  every temperature rise of 10°C the growth speed is on average three times higher.  So at a start value of 100,000 bacteria per ml/solution (a very realistic number when flowers are put fresh on “clean water”) this number grew in three hours time at 30°C to 2.7 million (see graphic). This is far above the critical limit of 1 million which in general is considered to be the maximum number of bacteria per milliliter.


This script only applies when no preservative is added  to the water. But also when using such a product it is a “pity” that the bacterial killing capacity of the product is so heavily burdened during the first hours. This might be at the expense of the activity of the product, after a couple of days. In addition some preservatives do not withstand high temperatures (> 40°C) and become inactive. Higher temperatures and the bacterial growth involved may also cause stem discoloration of flowers with soft stems, such as Gerbera and Chrysanthemum.

Blockage of the flower stems

After the cut flowers are cut off air is sucked in the vessels by the under-pressure in the vascular bundles – this air blocks the water supply. Placing flowers on cold water prevents this blocking in many cases, as in cold water more air can be solved than in warm water.

Acidification of the solution is helpful for a good water uptake. That is why most preservatives reduce the pH value of the water.

Ambient temperature

As the water temperature adopts the  surrounding temperature after some time, one cannot see one thing apart from the other.  The ambient temperature has a significant impact on the evaporation of flowers (through the leaf): the higher the temperature, the higher the evaporation. At an ambient temperature of 2-4°C the evaporation is about one fifth of the evaporation at a temperature of 20°C. The ambient temperature therefore may not exceed 20°C.

Through a higher ambient temperature the loss of water in the flower is so high, that water shortage occurs in the stem causing the flowers and leaves to drop. This is a well-known problem: especially for Bouvardia and Chrysanthemum. At the same time flowers age quicker at higher temperatures and develop faster bacteria and fungus (botrytis). Finally, at a higher ambient temperature flowers are more sensitive for the aging hormone ethylene. This subject will be discussed in a following article.



  • Place flowers in cold water with a well dosed preservative. Water of 10°C at a maximum is recommended. The ambient temperature must not exceed 20°C.
  • Place flowers, especially after dry transport, one or two hours in the cold store to enable them to hydrate well before they are placed in the (cool) shop. It is evident that Anthurium, orchids and other tropical flowers should not be placed in the cold store.