1. What are the best care rules for consumers?
Everybody knows the feeling when a beautiful bouquet or plant withers only too quickly. We you’re your pain! To help you enjoy your flowers and plants longer, we have put together this list of tips you can use at home. You will find that with a little effort you can keep your flowers and plants even longer.
- Buy high quality flowers. Pay attention to the quality of the stem; check for sturdiness, colour and the absence of damage.
- Choose a suitable vase; make sure it is clean.
- Do not use metal or antique crystal vases but if you do, use an acid resistant liner.
- Use fresh cold tap water.
- Remove leaves below the rim of the vase and cut 2-5 cm off the stem.
- Avoid damaging the stem and only remove thorns if it is absolutely necessary.
- Use a sharp and clean knife or secateurs and cut the stems at a 45 degree angle.
- Do not use unprotected or contaminated organic binding material.
- Give flowers that arrive wilted a chance to re- hydrate in their packaging, in water, in a cool, dark place for several hours.
- Fill the vase with enough water and check regularly if there is enough water in the vase.
- Use cut flower food; be sure to dose correctly.
- Replacing water vase is not necessary if cut flower food is used, just top up with more water and flower food when the water has decreased to about 1/3 of the height of the vase.
- When topping up, use the same flower food as before.
- Remove wilted or damaged flowers.
- Do not spray water on buds and flowers as this increases the chance of fungal growth (Botrytis)
- Flowers do not like draughts, direct sunlight, proximity to a heater, smoke and being placed near ripening fruits.
- What factors determine the vase life and shelf life?
Keeping flowers and plants looking their best the longest can be quite challenging. It helps to know what factors influence vase life and shelf life.
Genetic lifespan of plants and cut flowers
Flower development is different for each plant type and cultivar. Providing less than optimal care will result in quicker wilting flowers for your consumer. Post-harvest treatments do not have the power to influence the genetic potential of the flower and plants but are formulated to try to achieve the maximum life impossible.
Growing condition of the plant
Growing conditions, such as light, temperature, relative humidity, fertilization and crop protection have a marked effect on the post-harvest quality.
Post- harvest conditions
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 while multiple and significant temperature changes promote the growth of the fungus Botrytis.
Lack of hygiene promotes the development of micro-organisms, which causes the vas water to become turbid and ultimately smelly.
Cut flowers and plants 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 keeping flowers and plants in top shape.
Using the most suitable post-harvest treatment for each flower or plant type is needed to get the flowers through the distribution chain intact.
- What are the three main post-harvest problems?
- Disturbed water balance
Blockage of the vascular bundles by air bubbles and micro-organisms and organic matter in contaminated vase water. The symptoms are:
- Bent neck
- Disturbed plant growth regulator (PGRs) balance
In reaction to being cut from the plant, many flowers will produce either an overabundance or an insufficient amount of the plant growth regulators formerly naturally provided by the mother plant. Symptoms are:
- Flower petals shrivel up and the buds and leaves drop, which obviously shortens the life of your flowers.
- Leaf yellowing and limited flower development.
- Stem elongation.
- Geotropism (growth in response to gravity). During horizontal transport the flower heads have a tendency to bend towards the light or lean away from the gravity.
- Disturbed nutrient balance
Energy is the driving force behind water intake, the production of plant hormones and a natural development of the flower. Without energy, the flower would not be able to develop and the flower would wilt more quickly. Symptoms are:
- Limited bud and flower development.
- Faded colour.
- Limited or no scent development.
- Limited flower development of the spike.
- Lack of water
- Ensure that there is enough water available for the plant; prevent excess water at the bottom of the plant.
- In general bedding plants use a lot of water. The water buffer in a pot or tray is limited. To help you with this we have developed Chrysal LeafShine& Seal. It prevents evaporation for a while without limiting growth. But be aware that watering remains necessary. Another option would be to create a water buffer with the Chrysal Aqua Pad or with the Chrysal Aquastick to extend the amount of days in store without re-watering.
- Lack of light
- A lot of plants packed on a trolley or trays. Trolleys and trays will do fine for transport, but do not work as well as a display or maintaining plant quality.
- The range of pot and bedding plants is huge and they all have different needs. Some plants prefer temperatures between 12-180C, while others can survive between 2-120 C.
- Growth processes are slowed down at lower temperatures, which means flowers will stay beautiful for longer.
- Be aware that some plants are sensitive to low temperatures, however, keeping bedding plants as cool as possible is preferred.
- How to prevent damage from Narcissus slime?
Narcissus are appreciated for their and welcome colours in late-winter and early spring. That is why Narcissus is often sold as a cut flower, either in a mono bouquet or in mixed boquets with Tulipa, Anemone, Iris,Freesia, etc. Narcissus secretes slime is secretion of the sieve tubes (Phloem) and when Narcissus are mixed with other flowers in a bouquet, this may cause damage such as brown leaves, burnt leaves and flowers. By not re-cutting, the slime problem is largely prevented. Re-cut other flowers before cutting the Narcissus, so that no slime is transferred by the knives or secateurs being used.
In order to make the sale of mixed bouquet possible, Chrysal has developed 2 prducts:
- For the retailer and florist,the Chrysal CVBN tablet. This table neutralizes the ‘toxic’ Narcissus slime for other flowers.
- For the consumer we have developedChrysal Narcissus food, which can also be used in a mixed bouquet.
- Why do flowers in a mixed bouquet not bloom at the same time?
Flowers are harvested during various stages of ‘ripeness’, depending on market demands. Gerbera and Chrysanthemum seem like they are ‘further along’ when they are in a mixed bouquet with Dianthus (Carnations) or Lilies.
Flowers that have been harvested whilst they were still in the ‘bud stage’, such as Rosa, Gladiola, Eustoma, appear to need more nutrients in order to fully develop.
Vase water quality
Lack of hygiene can lead to an explosive growth of micro-organisms. This isn’t good for water and nutrient absorption, which can cause the flower development to delay or stop completely. We recommend:
- Hygiene; preventing infection in the vase life water and cutting 2-5 cm off the stem are the best contributors to a long vase life and odorless vase water.
- Never add old vase water to fresh vase water.
- As a florist use Chrysal Professional 2 for bouquets and Professional 3 for arrangements. Give your customers sufficient flower food with their bouquet.
- Purchase flowers in as even a maturity stage as possible.
- Why do cut flowers and plants not like draught?
In all stages of distribution draughts can be a problem. It causes the plant and flower’s moisture to evaporate easier than it can absorb and the result is that the flower will go limp. The stomata on the underside of the leaf regulate the moisture and heat the flower puts out. If there is little air movement, the air layer around the leaf forms a protective cushion against excessive evaporation. When there is heavy air movement, for example because of draughts, this natural, protective layer disappears. Under these kinds of conditions, the plant and the flower evaporates more moisture than it can absorb, which again results in limp leaves and wilted flowers.
- Keep door and windows closed as much as possible.
- Use suitable packaging to prevent damaging during transport and evaporation of water through the leaves.
- Don’t place your flowers or plants in airflows from front doors, open windows, fans, heaters or air-conditioning ventilators.
- Why should you not place flowers in direct sunlight or next to a heater?
Neither direct sunlight nor immediate heat provide ideal conditions for cut flowers and plants and both should be avoided as much as possible. This may sound contradictory, because light and heat are essential for the growth of flowers and plants; so called photosynthesis. However when the flowers are cut from the plant the photosynthesis process quickly decreases or stops altogether and heat becomes an important factor in premature ageing, which results in enjoying your flowers less longer.
When you place your flowers or plants in direct sunlight or next to heater the internal ageing process speeds, encouraging the production of the ageing hormone ethylene. Evaporation accelerates because the stomata are opened more with higher temperatures, activating their natural cooling process. The accelerated evaporation can lead to an imbalance of moisture/ water intake. Leaves and flowers both go limp and ultimately dry out.
High temperatures from heaters and/or sunlight also heat up the vase water, which accelerates the spread and growth of any possible contamination, thus reducing the vase life performance of the cut flowers.
- Does floral life wire and twine affect quality of flowers?
When in bouquet, flowers are often bound or other type binding material. Most material such as elastic band and natural fibres such as raffia, rope won’t affect the quality of flowers. But, be aware that these kinds of bindings, particularly, those made of natural figures or elastic, can act as magnet for of bacteria.
Binding which are made of metal including floral wire should always be removed by the consumer immediately. For example, the Gerbera is often reinforced with a wire. In the vase this wire can begin to rust, which shortens the vase life of the Gerbera. The release of metal particles is‘toxic’ for flowers which can lead to stem leaf and flower damage. Keeping the vase and the water clean and using flower food correctly dosed will help to keep flowers beautiful even longer.
We recommend the following tips for avoiding a wire:
- Purchase Gerbera varieties with strong stems that do not require support of a wire.
- Use Chrysal CVBN to condition Gerbera and help them ‘stand strong’.
- If you must use binding material, only use completely plasticized wire or aluminum wire.
- Use inert, non-organic binding materials e.g. plastic cable ties.
- What is the ideal water temperature for cut flowers?
Fact or myth about water for cut flowers
Stems of flowers coming from dry storage may be dried out and have air pockets in the stems. These air bubbles can clog the water absorption. Ice water dissolves these air bubbles, effectively opening the way for water absorption.
FACT- Ice cold water is good for cut flowers.
The temperature is generally between 20- 150 C. filling vases with tap water is simple and itsalways available. Add flower food and it becomes the perfect water for cut flowers hat dissolves air bubbles in the stem at the same time as feeding the flowers.
FACT- Cold tap water is the best and easiest optional!
It’s a common myth that water must be lukewarm in order to be able to dissolve the flower food (powder), or it will have a residue of undissolved powder on the bottom of the vase. Lucky our flower dissolves quickly in the water, sometimes only a quick stir is needed.
MYTH- Lukewarm water is not the ideal water temperature for cut flowers.
Hot / boiling water
If flowe stems are dipped into scalding water, blockages within the stem can be cleared. This method is also applied to counteract so called ‘bleeding’. However, the result is that the tissue of the stem is completely destroyed and will start to decompose after a few days.
FACT & MYTH- True, the clogging problem is resolved, but the price you pay is less days enjoying your flowers!
Our advice: Make sure you use a clean vase. Cut 2-5 cm off the stem and place the flowers in fresh, cold tap water. Don’t forget o add (a correct dosage of) flower food.
10. What is bent-neck and what causes it?
Premature harvesting is the core problem of the bent-neck in Rosa. The part of the stem right under the bud is not strong enough to carry the weight of the growing bud/flower. When the stem bends in this way, the vascular bundles are pinched shut and the flower’s water supply is cut off. He leaves, on the other hand, remain healthy! This problem has only been observed in Rosa. Premature harvesting also makes the tissue more sensitive to lack of water. Research has shown that flowers harvested at a more mature stage will not wilt as quickly as flowers that were harvested prematurely. If loss of moisture due to evaporation is insufficiently compensated for by water absorption, the stem will bend at the most vulnerable/softest and least woody point, especially when vascular blockage also plays a role. Another reason often mentioned is a shortage of lime during the Rosa’s growth. The degree of susceptibility to bent-neck varies among cultivars. Excessive artificial lengthening of daylight hours in the greenhouse, during winter months, can cause the stomata to lose their ability to close. Evaporation will then continue at a rapid pace, particularly at high temperatures in the stores and at home.
Bent-neck is an irreversible condition. Once the flower has been prematurely harvested nothing can be done to undo this, although there are certain determining factors in the bent-neck phenomenon. Good packagaing and an enclosed refrigeration unit can prevent drying out. Unfortunately, the only thing to do with a bent-neck flower is to throw it out.
- The grower should harvest he flower at the right maturity. Pay close attention to this while buying flowers.
- Cut atleast 5cm off the stem to remove blockages.
- Using Chrysal Professional in-store supplying the customer with flower food will feed and strengthen the flower and decrease the chances of bent-neck occurring.
11. What is Ethylene?
Dropping of buds, blooms and leaves usually happens as a means to protect plants and trees from drying out. For cut flowers and potted plants this dropping of buds, blooms and leaves is often the result of over-production of the growth hormone ethylene. Ethylene is the only gaseous, naturally occurring plant growth hormone. Ethylene gas regulates the ripening/ageing of cut flowers, potted plants, fruits and vegetable fruits. Ethylene gas is therefore purposely used to promote the ripening of fruit and the blooming of potted plants.
There are basically two sources of ethylene. The first source is the plant or flower’s own internal production of ethylene, enhanced by ‘stress situations’. For cut flowers it is a stress reaction to being cut off from the plant, the normal ageing process which is taken care of by ethylene production is increased in order to go through all developmental stages more quickly before the flower wits. After all, the flower’s job is to attract insects in order to be fertilized and in this way ensure the continuation of the species. For potted plants this stress is caused by darkness for a longer period, transportation and wide temperature fluctuations etc.
The second source of ethylene comes from external sources. Sources of external ethylene includes vegetable fruits, fruits, micro-organisms, old flowers, polluted air, exhaust fumes, insulation in new trucks and buildings. These are some of the ethylene sources that pollute the atmosphere with ethylene. This ethylene is absorbed by the flower and increases the internally produced ethylene levels already present. This causes the flower to wilt more quickly than if it only had to cope with its own internal production of the substance.
Ethylene-sensitive flowers that tend to drop buds, blooms and laves and/or premature wilting (‘shrinking’) of the flowers:
- Aconitum Delphinium Lathyrus
- AgapanhusDendrobiumLilium (Asiatic)
- Antirrhinum Euphorbia Phalaenopsis
- AsclepiasFreesia Phlox
- Cattleya Iris Tritelaria
- CheloneKniphoffia Many flowering plants
For example: the life expectation of Dianthus (carnation), a very sensitive flower, is 3-4 weeks. Exposure to ethylene production (such as fruit) can decrease this flower’s life expectation t just 1 week.
12. What is Botrytis?
Botrytis cinerea (grey mould) is one of the important causes of loss in plant and flower quality. Botrytis and Rosa are often mentioned in one breath, but also other flowers attract Botrytis fungi. In addition, place of origin; season, weather conditions and climate control play an important role in the development of Botrytis. The fungus thrives on both living and dead plant materials. Starting as a little whute speck (pock) on the flower petals, it spreads the length of the flower, gradually changing its colour to brown and finally all the petals fall off.
Infection and spreading
The infection starts with miniscule mould spores, spread through the air. In order to move, these spores need moisture. Condensation on the bud/flower and packaging is often enough for the Botrytis spores to quickly develop. Once shifted from the ‘pock stage’ into brown spots, the process is irreversible. We recommend throwingaway to risk further infection. Removing infected flower petals is not enough. The key to the appearance of Botrytis is prevention of infection on the other hand, and prevention of germination of the spores, on the other. Try to prevent condensation as much as possible. For example with spraying the plants or flowers as large temperatures changes can cause condensation to develop. A somewhat higher, but even temperature isbetter thanlarge fluctuations. Only then can a possible infection dry up and there will be no loss of quality. At lower temperatures, the Botrytis development is slower than at 200C that is why Botrytis is often clearly visible after a cooled distribution process.
Sincethe infection started at an earlier phase of the distribution chain and the spores may already be germinated, the florist and the consumer, unfortunately, can’t do anything except throw out infected flowers to prevent further spreading of the disease. In addition it is a good idea to pull packaging materials down after delivery and during storage in the cold store in order to allow flowers ‘to breath’ and air circulation to be at its best optimum.
To avoid infection, it is important to:
- Remove dead plant material from work rooms, displays and cold store a much as possible.
- Remove infected plant material immediately from batches.
- Clean and disinfect tables, knives and cutting tools regularly. Also clean the walls and floors regularly. Hygiene plays in in important role in preventing Botrytis.
- If the cold store store/flower fridge needs opening and closing often, set the temperature to 100 C during the day and 50 C at night.
- Pull down the packing materials in the florist’s cold store or completely remove them.
- Always pay attention to hygiene and regularly disinfect the walls and floors.
13. What size should the vase be?
The ‘Best Match’ is the best-fitting combination of bouquet and a vas. There is a logical relationship between the size, height and weight of a bouquet of cut flowers and the size, height and weight of the vase, which ensures that:
- The flowers stand up straight.
- The vase can preferably hold enough water for at least one week.
- The vase weighs enough not to fall over.
- The desired arrangement is achieved.
Flowers arrangers often have as a rule of thumb that the height of the vas should be between 40 and 60 % of the height of the bouquet.
During various research sessions, consumers in the Netherlands and Germany were asked to choose the best-fitting vase for bouquets of various sizes and forms. Research concluded the customers should get at least:
- Cut flower food for 1 litre vase solution for small bouquets.
- Extra cut flower food for topping up/refilling.
For both florist and consumer it is essential to remove all dirt and contamination by thoroughly scrubbing after soaking.
14. How do you keep the vase water clean?
Unfortunately bacteria are common in container/vase water. If the stem have been damaged and start to decompose, bacteria from the surroundings (stem, container/vase, air leaf) can develop and cause the stem to further decompose. The vase water becomes turbid. The bacteria also occur in the stems where they can cause vascular blockages. This way the intake of water and nutrients of the flower is blocked. Both living and dead bacteria can cause the blockage. However these are flowers which are less sensitive to bacteria contamination. Aesthetics and hygiene of the vase water are main reasons for keeping the container/vase water clean. After all, we would rather see a nice bouquet in a clean vase than a vase with cloudy, dirty water.
Advice for keeping vase water clean:
- Remove contamination by cutting 2- 5 cm off the stems.
- Remove the lower leaves, do not remove the thorns.
- Always use clean containers and vases.
- Keep tools and tables clean.
- Avoid damaging the stems.
- Use cold tap with flower food.
- Top up with water and flower.
- Pay attention to the correct dosage of the flower food.
15. What is the best kind of container for flowers?
We recommend clean glass containers for enjoying your beautiful flowers longer.
Glass is an inert, hard and smooth material which does not cause a reaction the vase water. Glass is not too sensitive to scratches on the inside, therefore is easy to clean.
Other types of container can be used, however you could be reducing the vase life of your flowers or even irreparably spoiling the container itself. Please read below our recommendations for vase and containers.
16. Are plastic vases or containers suitable?
Not all plastics are resistant to acidic vase water and cleaning, which causes the inside to turn grey and small scratches to appear. This makes them difficult to clean and has an adverse effect on the vase life of the flowers.
17. What about scrum in crystal vases?
Older crystal vases often have extremely small pores in which micro-organisms can accumulate. These small pores are difficult to clean and make the vase (rim) prone to dullness, due to contamination.Newer crystal vases have not developed these problems. Valuable, precious and/or antique crystal vases should not be used to hold cut flowers.
18. Can you use ceramics as a vase or container?
Ceramics are relatively neutral if they are glazed. If they are unglazed, or the glaze is chipped, micro-organisms accumulate in the damage spot. These are difficult to clean and have a negative effect on your flowers.
19. Why shouldn’t metal containers be used?
The pHregulators in flower food make the vase solution acidic. Even in vases with only tap water, the water will turn acidic within a few days. When containers made of unprotected metal, such as zinc or copper, are used, metal ions are released into the water. Within a few days the concentration of these ions in the container/vase can be very high. Once absorbed by the cut flower, ‘toxic symptoms’ will appear, such as stem discoloration and burnt leaves and flower petals. Zinc containers should only be used if an acidic-resistant plastic liner is inserted. This will also prevent the containers from rusting.
20. Why and when to clean vases?
Decomposing pieces of leaves and thorns, dust and other pollutants from the air, contaminate the vase water. All this decomposition makes the water dirty and can be a food source for micro-organisms. The vascular bundles in the stem, required for absorbing water, can become blocked by this contamination. This contamination is especially evident on the water surface. When the water level drops, the unsightly scum remains on the side of the vase, dries up and becomes visible.
Keeping the vase water free from decomposition elements is the first requirement. The food supplements and acid regulators in Chrysal flower foods help flowers to develop in a natural ‘plant-intact way’. Also the vase water is not contaminated by all the decomposition products of the stem, as is the case with only tap water. It is important to use the correct dosage to attain the best result.
We also recommend cleaning containers and vases immediately after use and rinsing them before use if being stored. Dust can form whilst while being stored in cupboards, shelves etc. no matter how clean we think we are. For florists, we recommend cleaning vases and containers with Chrysal cleaner. We advise consumers to use washing-up liquid. For both florists and consumer it is essential to remove all the dirt and contamination by thoroughly scrubbing after soaking.
21. Why rinse before re-using the vase?
Most households have more than one vase, so the one may be chosen for the size of the bouquet and the vases will be stored for some time whilst not in use. Cupboards and storage spaces are not always as clean and free of dust and bacteria as we wish them to be and therefore vases are often at least slightly and sometimes greatly contaminated by bacteria.
For this reason it is always a good idea to scrub and rinse each vase before use. This gives both the flowers and the vase water a fresh and clean start in order to keep your flowers beautiful even longer.
22. How to store vases and containers?
After cleaning, a few drops of moisture usually remain in the vase. The droplets are a perfect environment for micro-organisms, such as bacteria, to develop while being stored. That is why we recommend storing vases and containers upside down in the cupboard or other storage space. This allows those last few droplets to drain out.
Upside down storage also prevents dust and dirt (which also provide an excellent environment for micro-organisms to grow) from settling inside the vases and containers or vase before use. Scrub and rinse the vase well before filling with flower food, water and flowers.
23. Why do flowers need flower food?
Once flowers are cut, they are deprived of water, food and growth hormones. Good flower food should contain pH regulators, water absorption [promoters and nutrients. These ingredients ensure your cut flowers bloom in a natural way, retaining their form, scents and colour. This way you can enjoy your beautiful flowers as long as possible.
24. How effective are home remedies?
There are a lot of well- known home remedies for flower food which we would like to discuss here. Most home remedies don’t contain sufficient nutrients to help the full development of buds and blooms. Which household products are generally used and in what areas do they lack in effectiveness?
Chlorine is an aggressive product for plant tissues, clothing and human skin. Dosage must be very precise in order not to damage the flowers and leaves. Even if applied properly, its effect is very short-lived. Household chlorine stops working after half a day, while cut flowers require support during their complete vase life. Also, be careful not to spill chlorine on your skin and clothes.
The amount of food supplements in soft drinks is too small to support natural leaf and flower development as it would occur on the plant. Any positive effect of this remedy is because of the sugar content and the pH level. On the downside however, the sugar is a good food source for micro-organisms resulting in rapid contamination of the vase water, resulting in stem cell blockages and flowers dying more quickly compared to commercial flower food.
They are a good food for micro-organisms and ensure quick contamination of the vase water. This remedy is too one-sided to be effective for normal leaf and flower development.
Copper only affects the vase water. The release of copper from coins is very slow and therefore not effective. Also only a few coins still contain copper these days.
Of the above home remedies, only soft drinks have any effect at all. But soft drinks are very expensive compared to commercially available flower food and will promote bacteria growth.
25. What is Chrysal Universal and why are there different specialties?
Chrysal Universal is our flower food for almost all flowers and mixed bouquets. It ensures that you can enjoy flowers up to 60% longerby providing all the necessary ingredients for full development of buds and blooms. Next to Chrysal Universal we also offer specialized flower food to support the flower in developing as if it were still on the plant. We have cut flower food for the following types:Rosa, Tulipa, Syringa, Chrysanthemum, Bouvarfia, Lilium&Alstroemeria, Bubosus and mixed bouquets with Narcissus. Chrysal Rosa is suitable for every rose variety and contains sufficient food for the full development of roses and prevents ‘bent-neck’. Chrysal Narcissus provides all the ingredients for full development of the Narcissus but also neutralizes the harmful daffodil slime in mixed bouquets. This way you can enjoy your bouquet for as long as possible.
26. What is the difference between powder and liquid flower food?
Flower food is available in powder sachets and liquid stick. Both containing the same amount of ingredients to keep your flowers beautiful even longer. Still the liquid flower food has some benefits over the powder:
- Liquid flower food mixes instantly in water, so there’s no need to stir the solution.
- When using glass vases, clarity of the vase solution is very important. With liquid this is intant.
27. What should be used for ‘topping up’ the vase?
Preferably, top up the vases with same type of flower food was originally used. If you used a specialty flower food which is now unavailable, you can use Chrysal Universal instead. If the vase was initially full, topping up will generally be needed after about five to seven days.
28. What are the effects of under and overdosing?
Each package of flower food contains the right amount of ingredients to stimulate the bud and development and keep the stem and leaves firm. It is very important that you mix the flower food with the right volume of water. Always check the package of your flower food before adding the water in the vase. Make sure that you add a half litre of water to a half litre package, a litre water to a litre package etc. we recommend using a measurement jug. Over- and underdosing will cause less than an optimum result and hus less beautiful flowers. Less than 80% of the recommended dosage can lead to stem discolouration, delayed flower development, limp petals and discolored leaves. A dosage of more than 150% of the recommended amount can lead to stem discolouration and burnt leaves.
29. Do you need to replace the vase water of flowers?
Contamination of vase water is caused by the decomposition of the stems and leaves in the water. If the stems have been damaged and start to decompose, bacteria from the surroundings (stem, container/vase, air, leaf) can develop and cause the stem to further decompose. The vase water becomes cloudy and dirty. If only tap water is used in the vase, the flower stems start to decompose, and the vascular bundles in the stems become infected with micro-organisms. These grow on the organic contamination in a few days, especially in vases with flowers that bring a lot of contamination with them from the greenhouse or the field. If you only use water in your vase and it becomes dirty and smelly, then replacing the vase water is a good idea.
Using the correct dosage of flower food keeps your flowers and vase water in top condition, no decomposition of stems will occur. Replacing the vase water will not be necessary for the entire duration of the vase water period. Just top it with water and flower food, that’s it!
30. Why do the stems of flowers need to be cut?
There are three main reasons for cutting the stem:
- After he grower has cut the flower from its mother plant or the roots, the stem wound immediately begins to heal itself, much like a wound on our skin. The cut off stem protects itself against infections and drying out through the cutting wound by sealing it. This means that when cut flowers are put into a container or vase solution, the water absorption is greatly decreased or even completely stopped, resulting a premature demise on the entire flower.
- Wounds on the stem bark are an excellent food source for micro-organisms. Micro-organism only grows if they have something to feed on in the container or vase. Large amounts can cause loss of quality in some cut flowers, because they can partially plug the bottom of the stem. This is one of the main reasons to re-cut the stem after a ‘dry’ period and it also prevents contamination of the container or vase.
- Contaminated and organic materials plug the cut surface, just like air bubbled in a dried out stem-end. This also causes the premature wilting of the cut flowers. By re-cutting the bottom of the stem (by at least 2-5 cm) these blockages are removed.
We recommend to re-cut the stem before placing the flower in a container or vase if the flowers have been dry for more than 30 minutes. This applies to all phases of the flower’s life. Working in a clean environment, removing contamination and avoiding stem damage all help to prevent waste, save money and ensure the best flower development as well as a satisfied customer!
31. Do you need to recut the flower stems again after some time?
If only tap water without flower food is used in the vase, the vase water and the stems will be contaminated because of the decomposition of the stems. If the stems are then placed in clean water, this vase water will quickly also become contaminated. In that case, it is recommended you re-cut 5-10 cm off the stem. If flower food is used, the natural balance is restored and flowers stay in optimum condition. The stems remain ‘clean’ and consequently also the vase, and further cutting the stem should not be necessary.
We recommend using the correct amount of flower food and topping it up latter with a flower solution without taking the stem out of the vase and re-cutting it. This keeps disturbance of balance between the vase water and stems to a minimum and also reduces the risk of accidental damage of your flowers.
32. What is the best way to cut the stem?
Cutting a piece off the stem of the flower is essential for its ability to absorb water and flower food, in order to develop in a natural way. However, cutting also implies creating a wound, which would become infected. The cleaner the cut, the better it is for the flower. Blunt knives and cutting tools, and the resulting stem damage from their use, can lead to an explosive growth of micro-organisms in containers and vases. Cutting at an angle of approximately 450 is best. Cutting is easiest at this angle and does not require much force, the wound will be clean and smooth. Cutting the stem straight fattens the stem too much and causes much more damage. Stems have been dry for a while plugged and this is detrimental to the flowers’ life. Water absorption is slowed down too much which causes the leaves to wilt and the flowers to develop poorly. The vessels in many flowers vary in in length, but they can be up to 10cm. the contamination is situated in the cut open vessels.
Our general advice is to remove 2-5 cm. cutting off 5-10 cm will guarantee that all contamination is removed even in the longer flower vessels. A short, slanted cut surface is sufficient to open all vessels. It is another myth that a long, slanted cut surface is necessary. A long cut surface shortens the stem and will increase the risk of the cut in the stem being above the water level and attracting bacteria.
- Remove 2-5 cm of the stem.
- Cut at an angle of 450.
- A short slanted cut surface is sufficient.
- Use a sharp and clean knife or secateurs.
33. Which tools for cutting the stems?
It is important to cut at least 2-5 cm from the stem if the flowers have been out of water for about 30 minutes. The knife or secateurs or the 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 micro-organism growth and result in earlier wilting flowers. The knives and secateurs must also be extremely clean. Dirty tools will infect the cut surface and therefore the vase water, which negatively affects flower development.
We recommend florists to disinfect their tools at least on a daily basis and ideally sharpen them. At home you can clean your knife or secateurs before each use.
34. What are the negative effects of stem damage?
Our advice is to damage the stem as little as possible. Leave the stem bark and the thorns on the stem. They will help the flowers to stay beautiful longer. Stem scrapers and thorn removers have a very negative effect on flower durability.
Scraping damages the stem bark, it causes a large stem wound. The stem then loses its natural protection. The wounds attract micro-organisms and can leak toxic substances to other flowers. Tesult: a quick wilting flower, a short vase life, and dirty and smelly vase water.
In this old myth, it was assumed that flattening the stems would increase water absorption. This is actually the case, for a very short duration, but the hammering damages the cells in the stem bark to such an extent that much of the cell moisture leaks out. This attracts micro-organism that will plug the stem and will result in wilting flowers.
Burning the stem ends literally kills the stem-part! The background of this technique is the stopping of the so-called ‘bleeding’ or opening of the woody stem parts, with the objective of enabling water intake. At first an increase in water intake may be observed. After a few days, however, this dead stem end begins to rot and release organic matter from the stem bark into the container/vase water resulting in a strong decrease in flower development.
35. Do all stems contaminate the vase water at the same rate?
Not all cut flowers contaminate the vase water to the same degree. Some types are more contaminating than others. The table on this page shows the most important ‘contaminating’ and clean flower stems.
The degree of contamination is partly dependent upon the stem area and structure of the stem bark.
- Woody (e.g.Rosa)
- Hairy (e.g Gerbera)
- Smooth (e.g. Tulipa)
- Soft (e.gMatthiola)
- Waxy (e.g Dianthus)
Micro-organisms attach themselves to a hairy or soft stem. This causes increased and more rapid growth of micro-organisms in vase solutions with flowers that have these types of stems, as compared to vase water of tulips, for example. Avoid mixing the water of one container with that of another as much as possible and never add old water to a container with fresh water.
|Contaminating Flowers||Clean flowers|
|Green and branches|
36. Why shouldn’t leaves hang down into the vase water?
Leaves contaminate the vase water, which will result in flowers wilting quicker. Therefore, it is recommended to remove the leaves right up the water level. The additional positive effect of this is that it decreases the amount of evaporation because the total leaf surface is decreased.
- Use cold tap water with flower food.
- Top up with water and flower food.
- Pay attention to the correct dosage of the flower food.
37. Should thorns be removed or left on?
Every wound on the stem of Rosa leads to major vase contamination and deterioration of the stem bark, and it can lead to a bent-neck. Rosa with thorns therefore last longer in the vase than Rosa without thorns. When flower food is added to the vase water, the difference disappear and flowers stay beautiful longer and the vase water of Rosa without thorns does remain clear. If you have to remove the thorns, do it with as little damage to the tissue as possible. The customer 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 and detrimental to vase life.
38. What causes stem discolouration?
Stem discolouration has a number of causes that may or may not be negative. Of course, no amount of stem discolouration looks attractive in a glass vase. In addition, customers will deem discoloured flowers as being old. The causes for stem discolouration are:
Chlorine stems on Gerbera
Chlorine is often added to the container/vase water of Gerbera. Dosage for this product that is very aggressive to plant tissues must be extremely accurate. Overdosing causesirrecvocably brown stems. This discolouration and deterioration of the stem tissue due to Chlorine does have a negative effect on the flowers.
Surfactants are often used to increase water absorption. These products dissolve the wax layer on the stems, for example on Dianthus. This does not affect durability.
Explosive micro-organism growth, such as containers and vases with a lot of cut flowers or especially with damaged flowers, branches and mixed bouquets, will cause discolouration of soft stems.
- Hygiene: prevent the growth of micro-organisms.
- Do not use aggressive vase products like chlorine.
- Cut 2-5 cm off the stem (5-10 cm is even better).
- Scrub and was containers and vases before and after use.
39. What causes leaf burn?
Leaf burning is a complex phenomenon and is the result of burst leaf cells. The leaf finally discolours from grey to brown and feels dry and crunchy to the touch. Extraneous substances from other flowers/branches in the vase may also contribute to the leaf burn (leaf necrosis).
Possible causes of leaf-burning are:
- Excessively long assimilation lighting (extended daylight hours, artificial lighting in the green house) in winter and/or for flower supply for special holidays. The stomata lose the ability to close. The flower’s moisture content continues to evaporate and the flower sucks up too much vase water.
- Weak tissues resulting from lack of light during the last phase of growth. Makes the flower sensitive to flower food.
- Overdose of flower food from average of 150% of the prescribed amount.
- ‘Toxic’ metal ions in the vase water, such as zinc, Chlorine, Fluoride and Iron (from well water).
- Use of harsh vase cleaning products, such as chlorine.
- Slime or other secretions from other flowers/branches in a mixed bouquet in containers or vase (for example Narcissus slime).
40. What causes leaf yellowing?
Leaf yellowing is a sign of insufficient natural plant growth hormones. Growth hormones regulate the production of leaf green in the leaf. The mother plants takes care of the production of the needed hormones.
In potted plants a shortage of the growth hormones can occur when the plants doesn’t get enough light, water or any other stress situation the plants experienced. It is advised to keep the potted plants in light conditions, stable temperatures, provide enough water and nutrients. Chrysal potted plant products can help you with this! For cut flowers the leaf yellowing occurs when the flower are being cut from the mother plant, the mother plant took care of the production of the growth hormones. After cutting of the flower there is a shortage of these substances. The post-harvest products used by the grower, trader and florist/retailer can ensure that these shortages are counteracted in order to prevent leaf yellowing. The nutrients in the various post-harvest products that are used in all phases of the distribution chain make up for this loss.
Flowers and plants that are susceptible chain make up for this loss:
41. Is consuming Chrysal Consumer food unhealthy?
Consumption of Chrysal flower food should not cause any health problems but we do recommend this. Chrysal flower foods contain nutrients primarily sugars but are not a supplement for sugar or sweetners. Legally, flower foods do not qualify as foodstuffs and they are not meant for human consumption.
If ypu are worried about having ingested Chrysal accidentally, you can always get a medical opinion from your family doctor. All data on Chrysal products that are relevant to health issues have been entered into a poison-control databank. Physicians and other medical professionals have access to these databanks which have information about wide range of products that you may encounter.
42. Can flower food cause skin irritation?
Almost any product can cause skin irritation. Although Chrysal products are not classified as a cause of irritation, there may be circumstances where skin irritation occurs, for example if someone is repeatedly subjected to highly concentrated solutions. One of the most obvious recommendations for preventing skin irritation is to wear protective gloves while working with flowers, particularly if you know you have a sensitive skin. This will keep the hands dry, which is important, because wet and/or wounded hands are more susceptible to skin irritations.
If you are worried about using Chrysal and possible skin irritation, you can seek the advice of your physician. All data of Chrysal products that are relevant to health issues have been entered into a poison-control databank. Physiicians and other medical professionals have access to this databank, which has information about a wide variety of products which humans may encounter.
43. Is cut flower food bad for the environment?
In increasingly more countries, cut flower foods are subjected to registration laws. This also affects the labeling. Based on certain ingredients, safety precautions and danger symbols must be printed on the label, if they exceed pre-determined amounts. For Chrysal cut flower foods, only the safety precaution ‘Keep out of reach of children’ applies. This minimum type of labeling is sufficient for all non-toxic non-food products. No other labeling is required for Chrysal cut flower food pouches. This means that pouring the left-over vase water down the drain is not a problem. The drainage system is generally connected to water treatment plants which will purify this discarded water.
Never throw left-over water of any kind into surface water as this will always disturb the natural balance of these waters.
44. How do you remove pollen stains from clothing?
There is one big problem with Lilium. It has pollen on the far reaching stamens, which can easily accidentally stain your clothing. A simple way to prevent getting pollen on your clothes is to remove the anthers (tips of the stamens) as soon as you get the flowers home or when the buds begin to open. If you do get the pollen on your clothing here are some handy hints to remove it.
- Do not brush or rub with your hand! Human skin contains oils that will help attach the pollen to the fibres.
- Let the pollen dry and remove it with a soft brush.
- Take a piece of adhesive tape and press this onto the pollen. The pollen will adhere to it and can be removed.
- Use a vacuum cleaner to remove the pollen from the clothing.
- If some pollen stains are stubborn, hang the garment in the sun. the stain and the pollen in it will dry up and can be removed with a brush.
45. Is the presence of flowers in hospital wards harmful?
Patients are always happy to receive a bouquet of flowers. It cheers them up and greatly improves the atmosphere in the room. Research has shown that patients in a green and blooming environment feel better mentally, which helps them to recover more quickly. Giving a beautiful bouquet to a friend of family in the hospital will cheer them up, there is also something to consider. Dirty, smelly vases contain pathogens that also occur on wounds of the human skin. Infection of those wounds is therefore possible. It is therefore very important to thoroughly clean vases before and after use. Keep the vase water clean (bacteria-free) and throw out the old vase water immediately. Hospital staff must also disinfect and thoroughly clean their hands. Wearing gloves is recommended when cleaning flower vases.
With Chrysal flower food you can decrease the risk of infection. The nutrients and pH regulators in Chrysal flower food effectively restore the balance of the flower and return the resistance to cell and stem deterioration back to the natural level, thus guaranteeing longer lasting flowers. The accelerated ageing caused by cutting is slowed down. The side effect is that the vase water is not taxed with all the iinternal and external decomposition products of the stem, as in vase with only tap water and consequently, very few or no pathogens at all can grow. At the request of a hospital, an independent study of TNO* was conducted to confirm these claims. On the basis of its result, the hospital concluded that flowers in ‘Chrysal water’ are acceptable in hospital wards and flower in just tap water are not. A bonus for hospital staff is that ‘Chrysal water’ only needs to be topped up and that the vases have very little or no contamination when the flowers have finished blooming.
TNO*: independent Dutch research institute.