As Valentine’s Day passes, most of us will be finding new vases for lovely floral arrangements. Keeping the flowers fresh and lasting longer is paramount for anybody receiving Valentine’s flowers from a loved one. Valentine’s flowers  represent a deeper meaning and carry more sentimental value, making vase life a top priority. Their are proper precautions for increasing the vase life of your flowers after Valentine’s Day.  Here is some useful care and handling information that you should know to keep your Valentine’s flowers looking as beautiful as ever.

Start clean; use a clean vase

Make sure the vase or display container you use is clean! Any dirt or dust left in the vase upon filling with water can lead to bacteria formation which can be harmful to the flowers, thus affecting the vase life.Use tap water (the colder the better!

Use tap water (the colder the better!)

For post Valentine’s, it’s important to use very cold water to keep your beautiful arrangements lasting as long as possible. Cold water will keep your flowers looking fresher longer. Warm or hot water is recommended if you want your blooms to open faster. Also, be sure to change the water quite frequently, possibly every day or every other day.

Remove leaves which will fall below the water level

It’s important that no leaves come in contact with the vase water. Leaves that fall below the water level will increase the chance that bacteria forms. Again, the presence of bacteria is very harmful to the flower and will affect the longevity of the flowers life.

Cut the stems 1-2 inches

At the bottom of each flower, the stem can become clogged or mushy making water uptake difficult for proper hydration. Therefore, it’s important to cut your stems frequently to allow for efficient hydration. Chrysal recommends to cut stems 1-2 inches, but stay closer to 1 inch if you have a shorter stemmed flower. Also,  be sure to cut the stems at an angle to allow the best water uptake and to prevent damaging and flatting the stem. Click here for more info.

Don’t Forget the Flower Food!

Along with the care and handling tips above, you might also want to consider using a flower care treatment. Treating your flowers to some Chrysal will keep your flowers lasting longer and looking as beautiful as ever! Chrysal offers many treatment options for many different flower types, allowing you to make your Valentine’s flowers last.


With Valentine’s being weeks away, Chrysal wants to make sure you have all of the information regarding your Valentine’s flowers at your fingertips!  To continue our countdown to February 14th, here is all you need to know about roses!  Below are two very important things you must know and don’t forget to share with your customers.

1.  Correct cut point timing ensures proper bloom development

Rose buds attain maximum bud size in the final 3-7 days before harvest

  • Buds accumulate carbohydrate stores to ensure bloom opening
  • Bud size increases.  Customers love those larger heads!
  • Foliage tissues are actively storing sugars, water and hormones to guard against harvest stress
  • Varieties with a high petal count require an open cut stage to develop
  • Roses must arrive to stores at stage 3-4 for 100% development
  • Rose blooms cut too tight mean buds will never open

Do customers know…?

Don’t expect customers to know about changes in rose cut point.  For years, we diligently trained them to accept bullet tight, over-peeled roses as “fresh”.  Now they are confused on how to judge flower quality.  As a flower expert, it is your privilege and responsibility to educate your customers!

Where’s the fragrance?

The sweeter the fragrance the shorter the vase life.  Breeders choose varieties with long vase life so don’t be alarmed if the fragrance isn’t as sweet.

2.  Resist the urge to peel guard petals and foliage if you want your roses to last longer

Groom guard petals if needed, otherwise leave intact.

Why shouldn’t I peel guard petals?

  • Removing guard petals loosens the bud and promotes opening
  • Peeling guard petals triggers the onset of ethylene production.  Ethylene reduces vase life and hastens death in flowers.
  • Ethylene production starts at the point where the petal attaches to the Calyx

When should I peel guard petals?

Peel ONLY if guard petals show blemishes or disease problems.

  • Guard petals with damaged spots, creases, streaks or tears
  • Guards petals that are excessively black—so much so, it impairs salability
  • Guard petals with raised blister look of Botrytis

Why should I keep foliage?

Specialized cells on the underside of foliage pull solution up to the stem into the bloom.  Remove only those leaves underwater (to control solution pollution).  See our previous blog piece “Should you strip your roses?” about the effects of stripping roses of thorns and foliage.


To ensure longer vase life of your fresh cut flowers, it’s important to give them a fresh trim every once in a while.  What many don’t know is that it’s very important to cut your stems quite frequently, we recommend every few days.  Find out the benefits of cutting your stems often and why you should cut flower stems 1-2 inches.

Why should I cut stems frequently?

If you are transporting fresh cut flowers home and they are dry for a period of more than 30 minutes, you should cut the stem once you get home before arranging them in a vase.  When a fresh cut flower is cut and kept dry, the cut off flower stem protects itself against infections and drying out through the cutting wound by sealing it, much like a wound on our skin.  This means when cut flowers are put into a vase with solution, the water absorption is greatly decreased or even completely stopped, resulting in premature demise of the entire flower.  This also happens when stems are in vase arrangements for long periods of time.  Flower ends soon become waterlogged and mushy when in solution, making it important to re-cut stems every few days.  If the end of the stem becomes too waterlogged, the flowers may begin to droop and lose their petals more quickly due to lack of hydration.  It’s also worth noting that most of the germs and organic matter accumulate towards the bottom of stems, making this a portal for bacteria growth.  Re-cutting each stem will ultimately keep your flowers alive and fresher for longer.

Why should I cut 1-2 inches?

Many industrialists will lend the advice of cutting your stems 1/4 to 1/2 inch in order to preserve the length of the stem.  However, 75-85% of bacteria, organic matter and germs are lodged in the bottom 1-2 inches of stems.  It’s important to open stem tissue by eliminating micro-organisms with a fresh cut so solution can flow freely through the stem towards the head of the flower for proper nourishment.  In order to see the greatest effects, try to trim the stems 1-2 inches with an angled cut (if you have a shorter stem flower, try to stick with close to 1 inch).  With a sharp knife or sharp floral cutter or scissor, make an angled on the stem.  This will help ensure proper water uptake for the stem.  If you fear trimming 1-2 inches will result in your arrangement not being tall enough for your vase, try using an opaque vase.  This will allow you to use Chrysal Floral Foam at the bottom to add height to your arrangement that is lost with the cut stems.  Also, as you are trimming the stems, be sure to trim foliage too so it does not get submerged in water.

Quick Tip

Are you afraid that cutting stems will disturb the flower placement in a beautiful arrangement? A quick tip is to tie the stems with twine just above the vase’s edge before taking them out for a cut.  Make sure to hold the tied arrangement firmly as you re-cut the stems.  After you are finished, place the arrangement back into the clean vase (remove the twine) and refill with fresh water and Chrysal flower food.


It is important to cut off a piece (at least 2-5 cm) of the stem if the flowers have been out of water for about 30 minutes.

The knife or secateurs or other cutting device should always be kept sharp.  This is very important, since blunt blades will crush the flower stems, which will result in more damaged and leaking cells that stimulate the micro-organisms growth and resulting loss of vase life.

The knives and secateurs must also be extremely clean.  Dirty tools will infect the cut surface and therefore the vase water, which negatively affects the flower development.  A florist should disinfect his/her tools at least on a daily basis and ideally sharpen them.  Good tools are on the top of the list for important florist supply.  The consumer should clean his/ her knife or secateurs before each use.  If using rose bush tools make sure to properly scrub them.


 

The Clean CUT!

(Re)cutting stems is essential for the flowers’ vase life performance.  (Re)cutting opens the stem end for water uptake, which is essential for the fower to develop naturally.  The cleaner the cut, the better.  Rough stems treatments will lead to the release of organic matter and cell contents into the vase solution, stimulating micro-organisms to develop rapidly, resulting in premature wilting of flowers.

WHAT IS THE BEST (RE)CUTTING PRACTICE?

For pure mechanical reasons recutting at an angel of approximately 45 degrees results in little damage to the stems.  This practice ensures perfect and open stem ends.  The optimal way of cutting is shown in the picture above.

HOW MANY CENTIMETERS SHOULD BE REMOVED?

Research has shown that, if more than 50% of the vessels have been blocked, the flower will start to go limp due to insuffiecent water uptake.  When (re)cutting at least 5 cm off the stem end, most of the blocked vessels will be removed.  This ensures optimal water uptake.

WHICH CUTTING PRACTICE IS DETRIMENTAL TO THE FLOWER?

  • A straight /flat 90 degrees cut requires more force than an angle cut, resulting in more stem damage and growth.  Plus a flat cut sits at the bottom on the vase and blocks water uptake.
  • Splitting/cross cut of stems.  This also results in a negative vase life.
  • IF YOU CANNOT HANDLE A SHARP KNIFE, THEN SHARP PRUNING SHEARS/SECATEURS ARE THE SECOND BEST ALTERNATIVE