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.


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).

 


If you really want to impress your customers this Valentine’s Day, be sure to show your flowers some love by treating them with the proper solution.  Always remember that happy flowers lead to happy customers!  Whether your looking for a solution for storing and transporting your flowers, or a solution for your beautiful floral arrangements you have on display, Chrysal offers many different solutions for different purposes.  It’s important to understand what is the best solution for your flowers.

Hydration Solution

Dehydration is good for nobody, not even your flowers.  It’s common for bacteria to clog stems, impeding water flow through the flowers plumbing system.  Any treatment used must at least include a clarifier to keep bacteria under control.  Water alone does not fit this profile.  Chrysal Professional #1 is a conditioning product for all cut flowers that stimulates the rehydration of flowers after a period of dry transportation.  It increases vase life by up to 30% versus water alone.  For roses, Chrysal RosePro Hydration Solution really does the trick.  This Valentine’s Day, treat your customers with the most beautiful roses by using RosePro Hydration solution.  Any product that has been dry for an extended period of time benefits from a hydration boost (Gerberas, spray and garden roses, veronica, clematis, hydrangeas to name a few).

Transport and Holding Solution

For storing your Valentine’s flowers in floral buckets, keep them in optimum condition by using Chrysal Professional #2.  Chrysal Professional #2 is great for transportation and holding purposes.  It contains just enough nutrients for the natural development of the flowers, without stimulating a full development in this part of the chain.  It stimulates water uptake and keeps flowers and foliage in an optimum condition.

Vase and Foam Solution

As Valentine’s Day approaches, it’s important to impress your customers with floral arrangements that keep their beauty and remain in optimal condition for as long as possible.  This is what Chrysal Professional #3 helps to achieve.  Chrysal Professional #3 is a solution designed to keep your flowers in peak condition so they stay as beautiful as ever in your arrangements.  The solution prolongs vase life by up to 60% versus water alone and also allows the flowers to maintain their true colors while reducing fading.  For your vases, be sure to use Chrysal Professional #3 solution for the best results.  Your customers will notice.


Poinsettias are the traditional Christmas flower in the United States and in most of the world.  Red Poinsettias naturally share the colors of Christmas and are extremely inviting, allowing them to share the holiday spirit.  Red Poinsettias go well with all holiday decorations in your home or office making it the go-to flower for the holidays.  White and pink are some of the other common Poinsettia colors, but not as popular as the red.  Here are some general Poinsettia care and handling tips you should know.

Important hydration tips you need to know

  • Poinsettias are tricky when it comes to watering and staying hydrated.
  • It is important to water them constantly if the surface soil is dry.  Test the soil hydration daily by sticking your finger into the potted soil, about one inch deep.
  • Be sure to punch holes in foil so water can drain into a saucer. AVOID plants sitting in water (roots will die).
  • Make sure to frequently discard excess water in the saucer.
  • Water from the bottom to avoid getting leaves wet. Wilted plants will tend to drop bracts sooner.
  • Chrysal Aqua Pad is an innovative product made for potted plants to help keep them hydrated and to reduce waste.  Will work great with Poinsettias and their finicky hydration needs.

Keep your temperatures just right!

  • To prolong color, keep in temperatures 60-70F during the day and around 55F at night.
  • Temperatures above or below this might result in shortened bloom life or rotting roots.
  • Place plant away from hot or cold drafts.  If you live in a cold weather location, move Poinsettias away from the windows and doors at night.
  • Display away from windy front door areas.
  • Display in bright, indirect light.

If a Bract breaks

  • Give a fresh cut.  Hydrate in Chrysal Gerb Pill solutions.  Use in arrangements outside of cooler.

Fun Fact

  • National Poinsettia Day is December 12th.  This is because it marks the death of the man the plant is named after.  Poinsettia was given its name after Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first US Ambassador to Mexico appointed by President John Quincy Adams in the 1820’s. He was also an amateur botanist and enjoyed traveling the country in search o interesting plants.  In 1828 he found a beautiful shrub with large red flowers and took cuttings back to his greenhouse in South Carolina.

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.

 

Tips

  • 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.

 


What is piercing?

When discussing care and handling of Tulips this question always arises.  But what is it?

It is pinching a hole in the Tulip stem just under the bloom, with a needle or (safety) pin.

True or Myth?

Little research has been done on this Tulip piercing topic.  Sometimes there was an effect on bending, and piercing the stem was brought forward as being responsible for the reduction of this effect, but never consistently.

So why piercing?

One reason to pierce could be the formation of callus tissue on the cutting surface, which promotes stiffness of the stem and reduces the elongation of the stem.

A second reason behind piercing stems is to get rid of the so called air bubbles  in the stem.  This might be a problem when Tulip are put into tap water only.  In general we advise not to pierce the Tulip stems.  The risk of rotting outweighs the benefits.

What should you do?

  • Buy Tulip that have been treated with Chrysal BVB.  This treatment will make sure that enlogation is reduced enormously
  • Fill buckets with cold or pre-chilled water and Chrysal bulb food T-Bag, then add flowers
  • Buy Tulip that already show color.  Green Tulip will have difficulties to develop into nice flowers in the vase
  • Always (re)cut the stem before putting the flowers in the vase
  • Leave the Tulip in the sleeve and put them in a vase/bucket with water in a dark spot for a couple hours
  • Use Chrysal specialty cut flower food for Tulip or Chrysal bulb food.  This food will also reduce the browning of the leaf tips
  • Using a cut flower food, particularly the Chrysal specialties for bulbous flowers or Tulip cut flower food, will solve water uptake problems

For Chrysal Bulb Flower Food samples email: info@chrysalusa.com

 


How to use pH strips

Normal tap water has a pH range of 6-9.  The ideal pH range for your floral bucket and vase water is between 3.5-5.0.  It is important for your floral water to have a lower pH reading of 3.5-5.0 because flowers like the acidity and will have more water uptake.

Chrysal Professional products are specially designed to lower the pH of tap water to a flower friendly range, between 3.5-5.0 when mixed correctly  Chrysal Treatments also help to control the water quality by maintaining the clarity and inhibiting the odor of bucket water for up to six days.

pH levels below 3.5 can cause stem discoloration.

pH levels above 5.0 can cause increased water problems.

 

Directions for Use:

1.  Dip one test strip into your floral bucket water that has been processed with a Chrysal treatment.

2.  Hold the test strip under water until the color on the test strip stops changing colors.  This should take less than 5 seconds.

3.  Match the used test strip examples on the outside of the test strip package to find the pH reading.

4.  If the pH readings are below 3.5 or above 5.0, we recommend that you reprocess your floral solution.

5.  Randomly test your bucket water at least once a week to confirm that you are dosing correctly.

6.  Make sure that you are using the correct amount of water when filling your buckets.  Too much or too little water can drastically affect your pH reading.

Here’s a video on why measuring your floral bucket pH is important:

How to measure ph


 

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