Written by Gay Smith
Hydration vs. flower food? What’s the difference and how do you know what to use when?
(Chrysal Professional #1 or Rose Pro Hydration) jump-start flow and keep it going. Best time to use a hydration solution is when product has been dry-stored for more than 3 days–think roses during Valentine window.
Woody stems or a hard-to-hydrate blooms, like veronica, also respond beautifully when first hydrated, then transferred to a flower food.
Flower foods hydrate blooms too, but also contain the energy needed for buds to open
The amount differs depending on the use of the solution. Low-dose sugar solutions are perfect for wet-pack shipping and display. Chrysal Professional #2 contains minimum amount of sugar so petals stay turgid, but blooms don’t pop too fast.
Chrysal Professional #3 or Rose Pro Vase food, are both full-dose flower foods. These formulas contain a higher percentage of sugar because by the time flowers go into vases, the internal reserves are all but depleted. Blooms need an energy-boost to push open buds.
Both kinds of flower foods, regardless if low sugar or full-load food, also acidify the water to dissolve air bubbles in stems and keep pollution in check.
If you love gerbs (who doesn’t?) try Chrysal’s Professional Gerbera pills. Blooms that tend to muck up the water fast or are sensitive to stem blockage (sunflowers, daffs, cut hyacinths and gerberas), fare best in chlorine solution—slow release pills offer up to 3 days of clean flow.
Odds and ends
Hydration solutions never contain sugar because sugar tends to slow flow if introduced too early in the system. Sugar sometimes stimulates leaf yellowing in some crops like asters and matricaria.
Never pound, smash or burn stems. It damages cells so completely, uptake is compromised. Smashing releases LOTS of cells and organic juices into solutions—a juice bar for Bacteria!!
Always use cold water to prepare solutions. Cold travels faster through a flower’s plumbing system than warm. Cold solutions also reduce build-up of condensation inside sleeves (Botrytis control!)