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.

Dose:

  • 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.

Disposal:

  • 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.

Lilac

  • 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!

Blooming branches!

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

GROWERS

  • 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.

WHOLESALERS

  • 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!

 

RETAILERS

  • 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


Christmas foliage and berries need special care and handling.  It is important to understand some temperature and ethylene information for storing your Christmas greens so they will keep fresh and healthy throughout the entire winter season.  Here are a few things to consider for your sensitive Christmas greens.

Considerations:

  • Cooler Temperatures:  should be between 33-35 F
  • 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
  • For more tips and suggestions, click here

High Ethylene Producers/ Ethylene Sensitive

Store these greens apart from flowers

  1. Douglas Fir
  2. Redwood
  3. Juniper
  4. Holly and Mistletoe

Handle Holly like a fresh cut

  • Vase life is greatly improved if you store Holly very cold (33-34F)
  • Avoid all ethylene sources (cigarette smoke, exhaust, space heaters, botrytis, fruits, dirty water, rotting greens and flowers)
  • Berries turn black when exposed to ethylene and/or freezing temperatures
  • If Holly begins to turn black, it may be infected with the disease phytophthera ilicis.  Throw out infected stems to avoid spreading the contamination.
  • Use Chrysal Glory (anti-transpirant) on Holly on arrival
  • Never spray any berried foliage with oil-based leaf shines.  Chrysal Leaf Shine is okay to use because of its silicon base.

Moderate Ethylene Producers

Okay to store dry with flowers as long as temperature is 33-35F

  1. Balsam Fir
  2. Pines: Red, Scotch and White

Low Ethylene Producers

Store bunches at 32-35F

  1. Noble Fir
  2. Incense Cedar, Port Orford Cedar, Red Cedar
  3. Huckleberry
  4. Norway Spruce and Hemlock
  5. Boxwood
  6. Eucalyptus
For more information, click here.
Make sure to keep checking the Chrysal Blog and Chrysal Facebook page for seasonal information and tips!

Flower fanatics, unite! Regardless whether you are a retail designer, a wholesale manager, buying flowers for bouquet production, or importing blooms from Latin America, every one agrees that quality matters. Why then is there so much confusion about the handling techniques that maximize quality at every step of the chain?

Let’s take a look at several common flower handling questions and try to slay a few sacred cows in the process. A good business mantra is “under-promise and over-deliver!” Americans demand value and come back for repeat purchases when they feel your product was worth the price. When it comes to appraising the value of flowers, vase-life performance is the bottom line. That’s why proper handling practices make good business sense. Handling flowers correctly makes all the difference in vase performance, not to mention reducing shrink.

Let’s start with sacred cows pertaining to Rose handling….

Will placing rose stems in hot water help hydrate them? NO! Hot water causes more harm than good. It is too aggressive for flower stems, including dahlias, snow on the mountain, poinsettia bracts and poppies. Super hot water damages stem cells, causing stem discoloration and subsequent cell collapse. Proper use of a hydration solution like Professional #1 or Professional Gerbera pills, slow release chlorine, will give far better results. Notice the emphasis on “proper”? That means the solution is mixed according to instructions and used for the appropriate time listed on label.

I like to clean my roses before arranging. Does it matter if I strip off most the foliage? Specialized cells, called stomata, are located on the underside of the leaves. These cells pump solution up the stem into blooms. Roses need ample foliage to hydrate. To avoid droopy heads, leave as much foliage in tact as possible. Strip only those leaves that fall below the water level when hydrating blooms to keep the solution clean.

Should you remove or dull rose thorns? Removing thorns may make handling easier, but those wounds serve as perfect entryways for bacteria and air bubbles to enter stems. Use a soft stripper from Chrysal to remove thorns. Avoid metal rose strippers for two reasons; it is super easy to nick or damage the stem bark. Secondly, it’s easy to go overboard and strip off too much foliage using those vice-like strippers.

Should you remove guard petals from roses? Refrain from grooming roses unless the guard petals are blemished or have Botrytis spots. Every petal removed loosens the overall bud composition thereby accelerating the opening rate. Remember, any wound (including the area where guard petals attach to the calyx) on a flower or flower stem is a conduit for bacterial invasion. Wounding blooms also triggers the internal production of ethylene. Ethylene shortens the vase life of all flowers!

How about myths surrounding tulips and other bulb flowers?

I pierce my tulip stems then add pennies to the water. Keep my glads in the dark, pour gin in the iris buckets and strip the foliage off my lilies to maximize vase performance on bulb flowers, right?
The chemistry of bulbous flowers (including tulips) goes crazy when the flowers are cut from their bulb, corm, rhizome or tuber. You recognize the symptoms, but may not know the cause. Poor vase life; Iris start to open, but instead turn brown and shrivel. Tulips goose-neck and drop petals, anemones, ranuculas and nerines lose color vibrancy. Alstroemeria and lilies suffer premature leaf yellowing. Freesia and glads stop opening after 1 or 2 florets.

All these conditions are symptoms of the hormonal imbalance that occurs when bulbous flowers are harvested. These types of flowers don’t need much sugar in flower foods, but vase life is greatly improved when hormone chemistry is rebalanced. Chrysal bulb t-bags are the product to use for bulb flowers.

Should I remove the anthers of lilies to eliminate the possibility of pollen stains? Yes, plucking off the anthers helps avoid pollen stains, but when pollen does stain clothing or tablecloths, use tape (masking or scotch both work) to lift the pollen off material. Avoid touching or brushing pollen with hands—that sets pollen grains into the texture of the material. Some feel that removing anthers slows down maturation, but it has never been scientifically proven.


What’s up with delphinium?
I love the beautiful blue tones, but they fall apart after 2-3 days. If your flowers suffer signs of premature ageing, ethylene may be the culprit. The entire delphinium family is highly sensitive to ethylene gas and needs to be treated at farm level with STS to prevent damning effects of ethylene exposure. Another alternative is treating ethylene sensitive flowers with Ethylene Buster (1-MCP gas) during transit.

Proper flower handling starts with variety selection and continues along every link of the chain. Every time consumers are polled on how long they think flowers last, they answer 2-3 days. When you exceed that vase-life expectation, you are planting seeds for repeat business!


Shipping

Protection against ethylene

  • Protect poinsettias against ethylene—they are sensitive!
  • Ethylene Buster (EB) is eco friendly, easy and flexible.
  • Available in two delivery methods: truck kits for large areas and trailers and sachets for boxes.
  • Size of area determines how many pills or sachets are needed for protection
  • L x W x H = volume of area to treat
  • Truck kits:  Determine amount of pills for space treated. 1 pill treats 375ft3.
  • Drop EB pills into activator pot. Replace lid.  Water activates the release of the gas
  • Moisten sachets in water before dropping into shipping boxes.
  • Close holes to trap gas inside
  • Allow 4 hours minimum for treatment.

Avoid ethylene exposure.

–  Never expose or store poinsettias in same area as Douglas fir or Redwood. Both types of foliage produce LOTS of ethylene.

–  Make sure no cigarette smoke drifts in from the back dock smokers’ corner

 

Temperature:

  • These plants like bright (indirect) light.
  • These Mexican natives love indoor temperatures between 65F—75F

 

Out of Sleeves, fast!

  • Remove sleeves as soon as the shipment arrives. Handle with care as bracts snap easily.
  • Delivering in cold climates?  Paper sleeves will not protect against chill damage.
  • Get out the frost pack and blanket poinsettias for successful deliveries.

Watering:

  • Overwatering and/or letting plants sit in water kills most plants—poinsettias included
  • Every 8-10 days is sufficient.
  • Allow water to drain completely through the pot to avoid accumulation of salts in the soil profile. Salt accumulation causes burning on leaf margins.
  • Take care to keep the leaves and red bracts dry.
  • Remove pot cover, slowly soak soil surface (tepid water) until water flows out the bottom.  Then repeat the same action so air pockets in soil are completely filled with water.
  • Never leave the pot submerged. Roots drown without oxygen.
  • Don’t worry about fertilizing; growers prep plants with enough food to sustain them through their month-long beauty pageant