Let’s put an urban myth to rest: poinsettias are not toxic–not the red or green leaves or milky sap. Although not recommended as a snack for children or pets, chowing down on a plant only results in slight nausea, no worse than devouring a box of chocolates.

Hints to keeping plants fresh all season; poinsettias are not well-suited to front porch displays—too cold. Display in indirect, bright light. Botrytis, the ever-lurking disease beast, takes off when bracts get dripped on or dead leaves litter the soil surface. Avoid overwatering. Error on the dry side. Remove plants from décor pot before watering and drain saucers prior to placing back on display. Roots need as much air as water to thrive. Avoid close proximity to heater vents. Toss out plants by February to make room for spring blooms.


1)  If Hydrangea blooms arrive directly from the grower or if blooms have been dry-packed for two days or more, Chrysal Professional 1 is the best way to turn on the flow.

  • Prep buckets with cold water and correctly dose Chrysal Professional 1.
  • Remove water/gel baggie (or cotton) from stem ends. Wash off any gel stuck to stem.
  • With sharp and clean shears, cut 1-2 inches.
  • Cut above old (brown) stem tissue. These blooms only drink efficiently through new (green) stem tissues.
  • Allow time. A quick dip in Alum powder or an instant hydrator doesn’t give sustained results.
  • Let blooms drink in Professional 1 for a minimum of 4 hrs up to 3 days.
  • Once fully hydrated-transfer to Chrysal Professional 2 or vase solution Professional 3.

2)  If blooms arrive in buckets, Professional 2 is the solution of choice.

  • Prepare buckets with cold water and Professional 2.
  • Check stem ends and remove water baggies. Wash off any gel stuck to stems.
  • Give a fresh cut into green tissues. Sugars in Professional 2 solution keep flowers turgid.
  • Allow plenty of room so moisture on florets evaporate BEFORE moving flowers into cooler.


  • Prep bucket with Chrysal Professional 1 solution.
  • Use COLD water.
  • Follow dosing instructions (2ml/liter).
  • Remove any gel baggies or wet cotton on stem ends. Rinse off gel.
  • With a sharp, clean knife cut off 1 inch from stems.
  • Let flowers hydrate overnight BEFORE using in arrangements and design work.
  • No foam. Do not crush, boil or burn stems.
  • Avoid dripping on blooms.


Image Courtesy of iGarden

Image Courtesy of iGarden

Last year an estimated $1.9 billion dollars were spent on flowers for Valentine’s Day. With such a large amount of money being spent on this holiday, it is important that your flowers are being properly handled. Ensure your investment and provide the customer with the highest quality possible by following these proven rose handling techniques.
                                                        • Do not drop boxes on pallet or floor in order to avoid impact damage and internal bruising
                                                        • Stack boxes on top of pallets in cooler to maximize air flow and also prevent soggy bottoms
                                                        • Allow roses to drink water 1 – 2 hours before sales display
                                                        • Place roses to top shelves away from drip areas to lessen the chance of Botrytis
                                                        • Soak foam, fill vases with Chrysal Rose Pro Vase so flowers stand tall to the end


                                                          • Store boxes at 34 – 38F. Avoid fluctuating temperatures in order to reduce excessive condensation
                                                          • Remove ONLY as many boxes as you can process within 30 – 60 minutes
                                                          • Fill buckets with Chrysal Professional #1 or Professional #2
                                                          • Measure when mixing solutions
                                                          • Clean buckets, clean cutters, clean solution
                                                          • Let bunches sit outside cooler (in sleeves) for 30 minutes to allow condensation to evaporate
                                                          • Remove only foliage and thorns below water level
                                                          • Hydrate roses for a minimum of 2 – 4 hours before displaying or designing


                                                          • Follow same guidelines as dry pack processing
                                                          • Check solution level on arrival
                                                          • Top up with fresh solution (not tap water), if needed
                                                          • Do not drip on flowers
                                                          • Remove any diseased flowers (Botrytis etc.) 


It’s never too early to plan especially when it comes to the holidays. Here are some care and handling tips to consider for your holiday foliage and berries.

  • Store in cooler temperatures between 33-35F
  • Good air flow is important, store bundles on pallets, not directly on floors
  • Any foliage will produce high amounts of ethylene if there is Botrytis inside
  • Cool bundles 24 hours before covering with plastic to avoid condensation (Botrytis)
  • Know which greens are high, moderate, and low ethylene producers to provide the proper care
High Ethylene Producers – store the following greens away from flowers
  • Douglas Fir
  • Redwood
  • Juniper
  • Holly & Mistletoe
Moderate Ethylene Producers – okay to store dry with flowers as long as temperature is between 33-35F
  • Balsam Fir
  • Pines (Red, Scotch & White)

Low Ethylene Producers – okay to store with flowers at cold temperatures between 33-35

  • Noble Fir
  • Incense Cedar
  • Port Orford Cedar
  • Norway Spruce
  • Hemlock
  • Huckleberry
  • Boxwood


The holiday season is upon us… Do you know all there is to know about Poinsettias? Here is some general information, store handling, and care tips for consumers.

Are they poisonous? Poinsettias are NOT poisonous and there is plenty of research to prove it. Of course, the plant is NOT for consumption.

What are their light needs?  Get plants out of boxes ASAP. Plants suffer if held too long in boxes. Leaves will yellow. It is best to display poinsettias in bright, indirect light (not direct sunlight) and away from heater drafts.

Are they cold sensitive?  YES, wrap the plants well and remind customers that chill damage happens at temps colder than 38F for more than 30 minutes. Poinsettias are happiest between 60F—75F.

Cold Sensitivity










Are they ethylene sensitive? Plants are moderately sensitive. Internal ethylene production is triggered when bracts are bent upward as when plants are lifted up and out of sleeves. The upward motion of bracts triggers an ethylene response.

Prevention: Ask growers to ship with Chrysal Ethylene Buster sachets in boxes.

Avoid ethylene exposure from:

-exhaust from combustion engines, space heaters

smoke from cigarettes, BBQs, fireplaces, air pollution

Douglas Fir and Redwood cut foliage

storing in closed area with boxes of deco moss

What is epinasty? A horticultural term describing plants that appear wilted, but are not revived when watered. To prevent epinasty, un-sleeve plants by tearing open the sleeve from the bottom rather than pushing the pot up from the bottom.










What is leaf drop?  Irregular irrigation, low-light intensity, warm temperature, and low relative humidity make leaf drop a common disorder.

How do I water? Never let the plant sit in water—roots drown. Water every 7-8 days depending on temperature of the house. Allow water flow through soil to flush salts completely out of soil profile and ample time for pot to drip dry (2-3 hours) before placing in display location.

Broken bracts as cut flowers? Yes as long as stems are fully hydrated. Hydrate broken bracts in Chrysal Professional #1 for 2-4 hours at ambient. Make sure solution level is deep enough to act as a liquid band-aide to seal and clean latex flow from wounded areas on stems. When bracts are hydrated, design w/o giving a fresh cut. Display designs outside of cooler.











How creative can you get with $7.50? Here is a great summer floral solution.

Is “one size fits all” your MO for processing cuts as they reach your shop? Using one solution for everything may simplify flower prep, but is it efficient? No, not when working with asclepias, ammi majus, calendula, callas, celosia, cockscomb, dahlias, echinacea, echinops, fever few, frittilaria, lavender, salvia, sedum, sunflowers, zinnias —cool summer flowers with attitude.

Botany brush up:

Blooms sag because something is blocking the plumbing system (botanically know as xylem) in stems. That something is generally bacteria exploding in the organic juices and enzymes blooms exude when cut. Xylem consists of vessel elements, which are short tubes with pits regulating solution flow.

Size matters!

The size of these tubes varies among flower types. The smaller the tubes, the more difficult it is to boost flow through the stem. Hydration is all about jump-starting flow–flushing the lines, so to speak.  Summer flowers are prone to “bleeding” when cut. Bacteria explodes in this juice bar and effectively blocks the plumbing system.

The Cure: Give summer flowers a first drink of solution made with Professional Gerbera pills. It’s easy to use: prep buckets using one pill per 1 gallon cold water. Allow blooms to drink 8—48 hours so stem tissues are clean inside and out, ready for design magic.

A solution that costs less than a dime per gallon effectively reduces flower waste. Fine-tuning processing procedures makes sense because less waste means more $$$ to the bottom line. Happy summer sales!

Having trouble hydrating these beauties? Alum stem dip not giving consistent results? Do you use warm water to fill vases?

Maybe pounding is your preferred method of stem prep. Perhaps you submerge the entire flower head…  Here are a few tips on how to care for fresh cut hydrangeas.   

HYDRANGEA Processing for Consistent Results

1. Prepare bucket solution with cold water–cold moves faster through stems than warm

2. Start with a hydration solution to boost flow   and turn on the vascular system. Use Chrysal Professional #1 or Rose Pro hydration. Mix according to directions.

3. Using a clean, sharp knife or flower cutters– cut above old tissues (above any brown stem tissue).  Cut an inch off to remove all the gunk lodged in bottom of stem that stops flow. Let blooms drink hydration solution for at least 4 hours–overnight even better.

4. After 4-12 hours, transfer blooms into Chrysal Professional #2 or Rose Pro Vase flower food.  OK to leave in either solution up to 6 days

5. If designing blooms without a water source, prep as listed about, design and then wrap stems with Arrive Alive.  Dip Arrive Alive sponge in Chrysal Professional #3 or Rose Pro Vase food for 1-10 seconds and add the outer plastic bag. Secure rubber band above foam to prevent leaks

6. When temps soar–spray bloom and foliage with Hawaiian Floral mist (a light spray 1 x a day is adequate). Allow blooms to dry completely before placing in cooler.


Rehydrating the stems
















Same day, after the top photo was taken, the dehydrated stem was placed in Chrysal Professional #1 and fully recovered in 6 hrs

Lilac & viburnum

Lilac, (Syringa vulgaris), is the beautiful cousin in a family tree that includes the less attractive, but more versatile cousins of the olive family. Lilac is native to the Balkan Peninsula, where it grows on rocky hillsides. But how do you handle your Lilac’s?

Two Treatment Choices:

  1. Professional #1 – gets the flow going and opens the internal plumbing system of woodies.
  2. Professional #2 – The preferred treatment of Dutch growers because it provides double-duty: Pro#2 kick-starts flow AND provides the energy to keep all those florets looking great.


  • Professional #1 – 2ml per liter (very lean). Slightly shy of 2 teaspoons per gallon.
  • Professional #2 – Double concentrate is 5ml per liter or 4 teaspoons per gallon.
  • Professional #2 – Original formula = 10ml/liter.

Length of treatment time:

  • Overnight drink is best, up to 7 days in cooler.


  • Safe to dump spent bucket solutions in drain.
  • Rinse out concentrate jug before disposing.

Please don’t pound stems -Pounding is old school!

Pounding woody stems causes far more problems than good.


  • Wounded tissues cannot drink – in fact, pounding causes a juice bar for bacteria that explode in the organic juices and dead cells floating in the water.
  • Pounding also triggers internal ethylene production as a stress response. Ethylene causes floret drop. Shortens vase life.
  • Pounding is out. Sharp, clean shears are in!

Hypericum Berries

With 18 different varieties, the Hypericum Berries are the perfect fit for every season. The Hypericum Berries have multiple berries on each stem making them a wonderful filler and accent for many different looks.

But how to handle your Hypericum Berries?! 


Process Hypericum in Chrysal Professional # 3
(the same solution used to fill vases and soak foam)

Our Senior Technical manager, Rolf Timmerman, informs us that a major importer in the Dutch market treats all his hypericum (imported from Ecuador and Africa) with an overnight drink on Chrysal Professional # 3 to get the berries swelling to a bigger size.

More color, more interest!


DETAILS – Chrysal Professional #3


  • Liquid = 1oz per ½ gallon.
  • Powder = 1oz per 3qts water.



  • Lowers pH to boost flow.
  • Keeps water clear and flowing up to 5-7 days depending on temperature.
  • Provides nutrients for bigger berries, improved color vibrancy.

Blooming branches!

Delicate buds opening on almond, peach and forsythia branches…whispering the promise of spring’s beauty!


  • Cut when buds are swollen, but tight.
  • Hydrate branches overnight in cooler in Chrysal Professional #2.
  • Remove from buckets, wrap bundles in plastic to protect sensitive buds from dehydrating and getting knocked off.
  • Branches are stored cold (33-34F) and dry.
  • Avoid ethylene exposure. Recommend Ethylene Buster truck kits to treat cooler or trucks.


  • Option #1 -Keep bunches dry through sales period.
  • Option #2 -Re-start flow by processing branches in Chrysal Professional #2.
  • Store at 33-34F.  Cold!
  • Cold temperature reduces stress to buds and helps protect from ethylene exposure.
  • All flowering branches are very sensitive to ethylene. Avoid exposure by avoiding ethylene sources like auto exhaust, dirty bucket water, cigarette smoke, rotting fruits in forgotten lunch sacks left in coolers!


Branches arrive thirsty – Time to turn on the flow!



  • Prep buckets with Chrysal Professional #2 and COLD water. No ice–ice dilutes the dose and bacterial soup is the result.
  • Give stems a cut with sharp, clean shears. No smashing, splitting, cooking or pounding.
  • Smashing releases loads of organic juices and cells into solution. Bacteria LOVE this soup.
  • Stems drink from the bottom so fill buckets 1/3 full.
  • Top-up as needed with fresh solution, not tap-water.
  • Allow stems to drink at least 6-12 hours before using in design or selling—especially important if branches have been held dry for more than 3 days.

Changing solutions 

  • Chrysal Pro #2 solution is active for up to 5-7 days.
  • Florets are sensitive to ethylene so avoid exposure.
  • Treat your cooler with Chrysal Ethylene Buster to reduce loss.
  • Keep clear of sources of cigarette, space heaters, fireplaces…
  • All combustion engines produce ethylene—avoid backing delivery vans into dock areas and leaving on idle.


Tech support: gaysmith@earthlink.net