Written by Gay Smith
All flower food formulas contain a ratio of sugar, acidifiers and clarifiers.
The difference between processing flower food (e.g. Chrysal Professional #2 liquid or T-bags) vs. vase formulas (e.g. Professional #3, Rose Pro Vase or consumer sachets) is the amount of sugar.
Sugar is important for three main reasons:
- Provides the energy needed for buds to open and hold in the vase
- Stabilizes color
- Enhances fragrance potential, if it exists
When to Use:
Chrysal recommends processing blooms in a low sugar solution for wet-pack shipping, bouquet buckets and sales display, but there are a few exceptions – the sugar-lovers.
Sugar-lovers thrive in full-sugar flower foods!
- tight-cut sunflowers
- protea species
Protea (called sugar bushes in South Africa) love sugar! Flowers need processing in high-sugar flower foods from grower level all the way through the chain. Sugar helps prevent black foliage.
Tuberoses need sugar to ensure florets open. Temperature is important too. Avoid storing tubes at cold temps (34-40F) for longer than 2-3 days which means by the time they arrive at the bouquet-maker or wholesale level, they should be processed into a full sugar solution (Chrysal Professional #3) and stored in tropical coolers (50-55F). Prolonged cold storage has a negative effect on floret development.
Retailers process bunches in full-sugar flower food so tight buds color-up as they develop. When sunflowers arrive tight (growers pick tight to avoid petal damage in transit), treat bunches in Professional #3 to accelerate petal opening.
Tips of the trade
- Active life of full sugar solutions is 3-4 days at room temperature. 4-5 days in cooler (slightly shorter than low-sugar foods because bacteria love sugar too!)
- Always use clean buckets
- Clean, sharp tools make a positive difference in overall vase life
- Flower foods give a pH between 3.5—5.0 to boost flow into stems
- Do not mix old solutions with freshly prepared