Flower Care: Cut Flower (Part 2)


We continue to answer questions about caring for your plants.

You can see Flower Care: Cut Flower (Part 1) where we lay the groundwork and look at basic cut color care.

Why should you not place flowers in direct sunlight or near heating appliances?

Neither direct sunlight nor immediate heat provide ideal conditions for cut flowers and plants, so they should be avoided as much as possible.
This may sound contradictory because light and heat are essential for the growth of flowers and plants – the so-called photosynthesis. However, when the flowers are cut, the process of photosynthesis quickly slows down or stops completely, and heat becomes an important factor in their premature senescence.
When you place your flowers or plants in direct sunlight or next to a heater, the internal aging process is accelerated, encouraging the production of the aging hormone ethylene. Evaporation is accelerated because the stomata open more frequently at higher temperatures, activating their natural cooling process. Accelerated evaporation can lead to moisture/water intake imbalance. Leaves and flowers wither and eventually wither.
In addition, higher temperatures, as a result of heating appliances and/or sunlight, warm the water in the vase, which accelerates the spread and growth of microorganisms and leads to water contamination, thus hindering the normal life span of the cut flowers.


Do florist’s wire and twine affect the quality of the flowers?

When in a bouquet, flowers are often tied together with elastic or some other type of binding material. For the most part, binding products such as elastic bands and natural fibers such as raffia or twine will not affect the quality of the flowers. But be aware that this type of material, especially those made of natural fibers or elastic, can contribute to the spread of bacteria.
Fasteners that are made of metal, including flower wire, must be removed immediately by the customer. For example, gerberas are often reinforced with wire. In water, this wire begins to rust, which in turn shortens the life of gerberas in a vase. The release of metal particles is “toxic” to flowers, and can cause stem, leaf and flower damage. Keeping the vase and water clean and using a properly dosed flower food will help keep your flowers beautiful for even longer.
We recommend the following tips to avoid having to use a wire:

  • Purchase a gerbera variety with strong stems that do not need support.
  • Use Chrysal CVBN to fuel them and help them stand up.
  • If you still have to use a connecting material, bet on plastic or aluminum wire.
  • Use inert, inorganic bonding materials such as plastic cable ties.


What is the ideal water temperature for cut flowers? Fact or myth?

Ice cold water

Flower stems coming from dry storage can be dried out and have air pockets. These air bubbles prevent water absorption. Ice water dissolves these air bubbles, effectively opening the way for water to be absorbed.

FACT – Ice cold water is good for cut flowers.

Tap water

The temperature is usually between 10-15°C. Tap water is an easy and affordable choice. If you also add flower food, it instantly becomes the ideal water that dissolves air bubbles in the stem while nourishing the flowers.

FACT – Cold tap water is the best and affordable choice!

Lukewarm water

A common myth is that the water needs to be lukewarm in order for the flower food to dissolve, otherwise it risks settling to the bottom of the vase. Fortunately, our flower food dissolves quickly in water, sometimes only needing to be stirred briefly.

MYTH – Cool water is not the ideal water for cut flowers.

Hot/boiling water

If the flower stems are immersed in boiling water, the blockage inside the stem can be cleared. This method is also applies as a countermeasure to the so-called “bleeding”. However, as a result, the stem tissue is completely destroyed and will begin to decompose within a few days.

FACT and MYTH – The fact is that the clogging problem is solved, but the price you pay is a shorter flower life!

Our tip: Make sure you use a clean vase. Cut 2-5 cm from the stem and place the flowers in a fresh, cold comb-
water change. Don’t forget to add (the right amount of) flower food.

What is “bent” color and what causes it?

Premature collection of color is the main cause of this problem. The part of the stem just below the bud is not
strong enough to bear the weight of the growing bud/flower. When the stem bends in this way, the vascular connections
are closed and the flow of water to the flower is interrupted. The leaves, on the other hand, stay healthy! This problem was observed only in roses. Also, the premature collection of the color makes the fabric more sensitive to the lack of water. Research shows that flowers picked at a later stage will not wilt as quickly as flowers picked prematurely. If the loss of water due to evaporation is not well enough compensated, the stem will bend at its most vulnerable/softest part, and the probability of this increases even more if the vascular connections are blocked. Another common cause is the lack of limestone in the soil. The degree of susceptibility to bending is different for each variety. Excessive artificial extension of daylight in greenhouses during the winter months can inhibit stomatal closure. As a result, water evaporation will continue at a rapid rate, especially
well at higher temperatures.
A “bent” color is an irreversible condition. Once the flower has been harvested prematurely, nothing can be done to prevent this condition, although there are certain factors that cause this phenomenon. Good packaging and closed refrigerated cases can prevent drying. Unfortunately, the process is irreversible and the only thing that can be done is to throw the flower away.

Our Advice:
  • The flower should be harvested at optimum maturity. Pay special attention to this when choosing flowers.
  • Cut at least 5 cm from the stem to remove blockages.
  • Use Chrysal Professional in the shop and provide the customer with a flower food that will nourish and strengthen the flower and thus reduce the likelihood of a “bent” bloom.

What is ethylene?

Dropping of buds, flowers and leaves usually occurs to protect plants and trees from drying out. In cut flowers and potted plants, this is often the result of overproduction of the growth hormone ethylene. Ethylene is the only known gaseous, naturally occurring growth hormone. Ethylene oxide regulates the ripening/senescence of cut flowers, potted plants, fruits and vegetables. It is therefore used purposefully to promote fruit ripening and flowering of potted plants.

There are two sources of ethylene. The first is the natural production of ethylene by the plant or flower as a result of “stress situations”. In cut flowers, this stress response is due to separation from the mother flower, and the normal senescence process is accelerated so that it can go through all the developmental stages before the flower wilts.
After all, the function of a flower is to attract insects to be fertilized and thus ensure the continuation of the species. In potted plants, this stress is caused by lack of light for a longer period of time, transportation, temperature fluctuations, etc. The second source of ethylene is external. Sources of external ethylene can be vegetables, fruits, microorganisms, old flowers, polluted air, exhaust gases, insulation materials, etc. These sources pollute the atmosphere with ethylene. It, in turn, is absorbed by the flower and increases the levels of ethylene already produced. This causes the flower to wilt faster.

Ethylene-sensitive flowers exhibiting bud, flower and leaf drop and/or premature wilting are:

  • Aconitum
  • Agapanthus
  • Alstroemeria
  • Antirrhinum
  • Asclepias
  • Bouvardia
  • Cattleya
  • Chelone
  • Delphinium
  • Dendrobium
  • Dianthus
  • Euphorbia
  • Freesia
  • Gypsophila
  • Iris
  • Kniphoffia
  • Lathyrus
  • Lilium (азиатски)
  • Paphilopedium
  • Phalaenopsis
  • Phlox
  • Physostegia
  • Tritelaria
  • And many more blooming flowers

For example: the expected life of Oianthus (carnation), which is very sensitive to ethylene, is 3-4 weeks after plucking. But if it is in contact with plants that produce ethylene (such as fruit, for example), its lifespan is drastically reduced to just 1 week.

What is Botrytis?

Botrytis cinerea (gray mold) is one of the main causes of changes in the quality of plants and flowers. Botrytis most commonly affects the rose, but other flowers can also attract the Botrytis fungus. In addition, the location, season, weather conditions and climate play an important role in the development of Botrytis. The fungus thrives on both living and dead plant matter. It starts as a small white spot on the flower petals and spreads down the length of the flower, gradually turning brown until eventually all the petals fall off.

Infection and spread

Infection begins with small spores that are airborne. Spores need moisture to move. Condensation in the package is often sufficient for rapid spore development. Once it goes from the “spot” stage to brown spots, the process is irreversible. We recommend discarding the flower to avoid risking further infection. Removing infected petals is not enough. Prevention is of the utmost importance – it is important to prevent both infection and spore germination. Try to limit condensation as much as possible – for example when spraying plants or flowers, large temperature changes can cause condensation. In fact, a higher but uniform temperature is preferable to temperature fluctuations. Only then can a possible infection be interrupted and a loss of quality prevented. At lower temperatures, botrytis development is slower than at 20°C, so the infection is often noticed at a later stage.
If the infection starts at an earlier stage in the distribution chain and the spores have already germinated, the florist and the end user unfortunately have little to do but discard the infected flowers to prevent further spread of the disease. It is good to have the florist check for the presence of so-called “spots” before purchase. It is also a good idea to remove the flowers from their packaging during storage in the refrigerated display cases to allow them to “breathe” and for air circulation to be at an optimal level.

To avoid infection, it is important to:

  • Remove dead plants from work areas, display cases and cold stores as much as possible.
  • Remove infected plants from lots immediately.
  • Clean and disinfect tables, knives and cutting tools regularly. You clean the walls and floors regularly. Hygiene plays an important role in preventing Botrytis.
  • If the refrigerated display case is opened and closed frequently, set a temperature of 10°C during the day and 5°C at night.
  • Cut the packaging or completely remove it.
  • Always pay attention to hygiene and regularly disinfect walls and floors.

We will continue to be excited about the basic care of your flowers. Stay tuned to our blog for more questions and answers.