There are many benefits to using cut flower food. Tap water alone does not contain any of the natural food supplements that the cut flower needs for its development. The flower food supplements and the pH balancers in Chrysal cut flower foods restore the flower’s equilibrium and it’s resistance to cell and stem deterioration to what it was while the flower was on the plant. The accelerated aging caused by cutting the flower off the plant is slowed down. The flower develops in a natural way and the vase water does not get contaminated by the micro-organisms released in the decomposition process as it does in vases with just tap water.
There are numerous factors that play into determining the duration of flower vase life. Such factors involve the genetic lifespan, growing conditions and post-harvest conditions of the flowers.
Flower development and it’s duration, in connection with climatic conditions and other factors, are different for each flower type. The seed growers determine what the expectations are regarding lifespan after harvest and of course any deviations from the optimum care will lead to a short vase life for the consumer.
Growing conditions, such as light, temperature, relative humidity, fertilization and crop protection have a marked effect on the post-harvest quality of the flower, such as length, shape, color and deviation of stem and flower. These factors, however, do not affect the genetic lifespan expectations.
- Temperature and humidity in particular, determine whether the cut flower will be delivered to the consumer in good condition after the harvest. Higher temperatures promote flower development. Humidity plays an indirect role in the condensation process during multiple and temperature fluctuations and promotes the growth of the fungus Botrytis.
- Lack of hygiene promotes the development of micro-organisms, which can cause water to become turbid and smelly.
- Cut flowers come from all corners of the globe and they are shipped across huge distances. Climate control, good packaging, post-harvest treatment and speed are very important for quality conservation. We must assume that each distribution day diminishes the vase life to some degree.
- Using the most suitable post-harvest treatment for each flower type is one of the measures needed to get the flowers through the distribution chain intact. Essentially, these products replace the mother plant and all the required raw materials that make the natural development of the stem, leaf, and flower possible, as if they were still on the intact plant.
To achieve a long vase life, removing the thorns is not recommended. Every wound on the stem leads to deterioration of the stem bark and the loss of cell moisture, resulting in major container/vase contamination. This results in wilted leaves, very little or no flower development and turbid, smelly containers and vases. With Rosa it can even lead to the manifestation of bent-neck.
VASE LIFE TESTS
Roses with thorns last longer in the vase than roses without thorns. When flower food is added to the vase water, the differences disappear. However, the vase water of roses without thorns does remain turbid.
VASE LIFE KILLERS
The only excuse for removing thorns is to make arranging easier and protect the hands if no gloves are used. If you have to, remove the thorns with as little damage to the tissue as possible. The consumer can best remove them by breaking them off by hand, pushing them aside. All other methods of using knives and thorn removers are harmful to the flower.
- 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
DRY PACK PROCESSING
- 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
WET PACK PROCESSING
CUT ROSE CARE TIPS
Flower preparation is just as important as the flower handling itself. Here are 12 flower care tips for Valentine’s, that will ensure longer vase life…
- Start off with a clean work space and clean materials (buckets, cutters, vases, etc).
- Always measure out your solutions correctly. Overdosing or under-dosing wastes time and money.
- Prep your buckets with COLD water. Pre-chilling buckets a day ahead will work even better.
- Fill bucket 1/3 full. During holidays, mark bucket with tape for quick filling.
- Do not use ice since it dilutes the dosage.
- Use sharp, clean tools to prevent contamination and maximize solution efficacy.
- Get stems into solution quickly to reduce air bubbles entering the system.
- Never combine the old solution with the fresh new solution.
- Top-up with flower food solution and not water.
- Give a fresh cut when you prepare fresh bucket solutions.
- Keep leaves out of vase water.
- Avoid dripping any solution or water on petals and flowers. Try to keep them as dry as possible.
Flower food home remedies…Do they work?
If your looking to care for your flowers using simple home remedies, you should understand the full truth about them. Sure, home remedies can supply some nourishment to a flower, but that doesn’t mean it is a good supplement for flower food. Fresh cut flowers are like babies—they need food and water to survive and attention from harvest to final vase. Proper conditioning involves providing a balance of 3 basic ingredients: nutrients to feed the blooms, pH corrector to get the water into the zone flowers drink most efficiently and clarifiers to keep pollution and bacteria under control. Without conditioning, flowers have a significantly shorter vase life (50% shorter!). Home remedies are based on bits and pieces of truth and flower needs, but commercial formulations provide a balanced combination of the “right stuff”. Flower food home remedies…Do they work?
Provides sugar to feed the blooms, but also feed bacteria actively developing in the solution. Bacteria will ultimately clog stems and stop water uptake leading to poor hydration.
Does supply a short-term bacteria control, but provides no nutrients for flower development and does not lower pH.
Copper was a common fungicide years ago, but since 1942, there has not been enough copper in pennies to provide any residual effect.
Pin in the necks of tulips
No scientific proven effect and results in a wound by which bacteria and Botrytis can enter.
Provides nutrients, but does not lower the pH and contains nothing to check bacteria.
Lowers the pH of the solution, but provides no nutrients to feed the flower and does not control bacteria.
While home remedies do have some potential benefits, they should NOT be viewed as an effective replacement for flower food. Floral nutrients provide flowers and plants with the proper mix of nutrients, pH correctors, and clarifiers they need to keep fresher longer.
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
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.
- 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.
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.
Should you strip your roses is a common question that many ask during Valentine’s Day prep. This popular Valentine’s Day topic comes with many varying opinions. Many feel that stripping roses of thorns and foliage creates a cleaner product for the end customer. While this might be true, removing thorns and foliage does have its disadvantages. Consider these truths about stem stripping roses before deciding to get rid of thorns and foliage.
Things to consider
When you remove thorns, wounds and holes are created which can become disease entry ports for bacteria. This can be extremely damaging for the life of your roses. Removing foliage has its advantages and disadvantages. Foliage helps with the hydration process so many argue you should not strip foliage from a rose. Specialized cells on the undersurface of rose foliage help pull solution up into the flower head, allowing for efficient hydration. However, foliage that is submerged in water is susceptible to bacteria growth. So you must be careful with your foliage if you plan to leave it on the stem. We recommend to leave foliage on the stem but out of the water. Removing only the foliage from the portion of stems that will be submerged in water will lead to both longer vase life and effective hydration.
If you are planning to strip your roses this year, Chrysal’s Flower Stem Stripper is the perfect tool because it removes the foliage without damaging the stem. It also helps to remove the sharp tip of the thorn without completely removing the entire thorn (preventing the creation of wounds and holes that can develop bacteria).