Hydrangeas are still the “It” flower–on-trend, featured everywhere. These big beauties are as fickle as they are opulent because both the bracts (colored modified leaves) which make up the flower ball and leaves contain an abundance of stomata, specialized pores that allow carbon dioxide, water vapor and oxygen to move in and out of leaf surfaces. TLC is required because luscious blooms that are eye candy in the morning, can flop by lunch.

Forget more commonly used methods touted for hydrangea success. Instead rely on consistent, proven solutions. Dipping Hydrangea stems in alum powder is a good example. Hydrangeas LOVE aluminum which is where the alum (hydrated potassium aluminum sulfate) idea originates, but the devil is in the details. How much alum powder is needed to keep blooms inflated for more than ½ day? What controls bacteria that thrive on the ooze exuded from cut stems?

It is dangerous to disappoint your bride! Treat blooms in Chrysal Professional 1 hydration prepared according to directions. Use cold water for fast uptake. Cut at least 2 inches from stems—above the brown (old) wood) because stems cannot drink through old wood. Want even faster uptake? Using a kitchen potato peeler, peel an inch off stems to remove the outer cambium layer.


Don’t rush it. Let stems drink at minimum 6-8 hrs in the hydration solution and then transfer into flower food solution because these beauties need a jump-start to hydrate and nutrients to keep the flower balls inflated.

08379-stem-discolorationHydrangeas are BIG drinkers. Always top-up or refresh with flower food (not tap water). If designing blooms without a water source, follow the preparation steps, prepare the design and then wrap stems with Arrive Alive.  Dip the Arrive Alive sponge in the same food used to fill vases for 1-10 seconds and add the outer plastic bag. Secure rubber band above foam to prevent leaks. When summer temperatures soar–spray both blooms and foliage with Hawaiian Floral mist. Allow blooms to dry completely before placing in cooler.



Gay SmithAbout Gay Smith

Gay’s career has been entirely focused on flowers. Working in California, Holland and Miami has provided first-hand experiences with the challenges growers face, the nutty habits of wholesalers, hectic systems of bouquet makers and funky practices of retailers. For the last 16 years, she’s worked as the technical manager for Chrysal, working to advise and advance quality practices.