6 TIPS AND TECHNIQUES TO ACHIEVE HYDRATION SUCCESS
Flowers contain a waterway system (xylem) consisting of capillaries. These capillaries act like straws that carry water and nutrients throughout the flower…hydrating the flower. Proper hydration is essential in the life of fresh-cut flowers. A flower dehydrated during post-harvest shipping needs a jumpstart of water and nutrients. It’s a process with many moving parts! Here are some care and handling tips from Floralife® to help you achieve optimal results.
- Sanitation: The importance of cleanliness is often underestimated. Research has shown that dirty buckets can reduce the vase life of a rose by up to 20%. Make sure that everything – buckets, cutters, coolers, benches, and so on – is cleaned with an approved disinfectant cleaner, such as D.C.D.® cleaner.
- Variety Knowledge: Varieties differ! Not all red roses, for example, enjoy the same vase life. Some bloom differently, and some may absorb water and nutrition differently. The consumer typically has no clue, but the consequences of buying the “wrong” flower that fails to meet expectations are well known: customer dissatisfaction, loss of business, and negative word of mouth. So, familiarize yourself with the characteristics of the flowers you offer, hydrate accordingly, and educate your customers on proper hydration practices.
- Jump Start: The hydration process will be interrupted if the flower’s capillaries become blocked, accelerating flower death. Blockages can occur due to microbial growth from poor sanitation and the formation of air bubbles due to environmental stresses like high temperatures, low humidity, and lack of water. To help prime the flower stem to maximize solution uptake and keep flower stems free flowing, jump start the hydration process by dipping flowers for one second in Floralife® Quick Dip instant hydrating treatment. Place 2 inches (about 5 to 6 cm) of Quick Dip in the bottom of a container.
- Nutrition and Proper Dosing: Floralife® offers a variety of flower foods suitable for different flowers and applications. The importance of flower food is well documented. It gives flowers the nutrients they need, discouraging bent neck, and promoting bud opening. Proper flower food dosing is critical in order for flowers to receive these benefits. Too little flower food will not sufficiently lower the pH in the solution, resulting in decreased flower life. Too much can be toxic and reduce vase life. Read the label and properly mix hydrating treatments and flower food solutions.
- Temperature Management: The water temperature in your solution also affects development and vase life. A warmer solution promotes bud opening, but also hastens flower death. For longer lasting flowers, a chilled flower food solution is recommended. The flower will receive proper nourishment and hydration while the cooler solution slows down the flower’s metabolism and life cycle. In general, keep properly hydrated flowers in a 34-38°F cooler, at 75-85% humidity and with adequate air flow (though not directly exposed to air currents.)
- Finishing Spray: As flowers lose water through small pores in their leaves called stomata, they actively pull water up their stems. This ongoing process of “transpiration” controls the water balance in the flower, and it’s taxing! You can help your flowers effectively maintain their water balance by applying finishing sprays such as Floralife® Finishing Touch and Floralife® Crowning Glory®. These lock in moisture, reduce water loss and help extend vase life.
A SYSTEM OF CARE Sanitation, proper dosing, and temperature management… each of these interact with hydration, and directly affect vase life. Each is a vital part of creating and maintaining an environment for longlasting flowers. And it can be done successfully with the right tools, protocols and advice. Satisfied customers and repeat business will be your reward!