Zinnias photo by Outside Pride

JUNE 2012 NEWSLETTER: Care Tips for Summer Beauties

Zinnias photo by Outside Pride

What screams summer louder than Zinnias? But how to keep those hollow stems from collapsing and turning to mush in the water?  Zinnias are VERY sensitive to bacterial pollution (the same bacterium attacks Marigolds).  The woody tissues seem to disappear–almost like the bacteria “eat” the xylem tissues and stems collapse. Chrysal Gerb Pro to the rescue! Pop 1 pill into ½ gallon of water and let stems fill with super clean solution. After 3 days add a fresh pill or start over with fresh water and a pill. Zinnias don’t like it as cold as many flowers, in fact they should be stored at 50-55F

Campanula photo by Annie's Annuals

Summer beauties include campanula, an old fashioned garden favorite. Some members of this family are ethylene sensitive so always ask if flowers have been treated at farm level with STS before buying. Of course, if you get stuck with non-treated Persian violets (C. Glomerata) or Canterbury Bells, you’ll know it in a day or two when the blooms start shedding all over the floor. As will all ethylene sensitive flowers, store campanula away from any food sources, drifting cig smoke or BBQ drift allowed around flower areas. Make sure vans don’t exhaust into processing or design area when loading deliveries. Exhaust is full of ethylene and ethylene kills flowers fast.

Give bunches a fresh cut and plop into correctly-dosed Chrysal Professional #2 solution. (Measure when mixing to avoid wasting money and get 100% results for your efforts.)  It’s OK to leave in same solution up to 5-6 days. If your campanula varieties are C. persicifolia or C. pyramidalis ethylene is not quite as critical a problem; just place bunches into fresh Professional #2 solution and get on with your day.

Echinacea photo by Sunset.com

Love those cool cone flowers known in the botanical world as Echinacea. Either process blooms in Gerb Pro (ha, you thought this little wonder pill was only for gerberas!) or Professional #2 flower food. Professional #2 is active up to 5-6 days, but the Gerb Pro pills have a much shorter active period (2-3 days) so keep an eye on buckets and start fresh as needed. Store flowers in cooler set at 34-36F

Hydrangea photo by Gardens Ablaze

Luscious hydrangeas strut their style all summer, but it’s necessary to get the handling right to avoid problems with collapsed flower balls. Likely these big blooms arrive “wilted” when you first receive them—looks like an elephant sat on them. Blooms are suffering jet-lag and they are THIRSTY so never sell hydrangeas before stems have completely filled—at least 6–8 hrs. Overnight even better! Fill a bucket with Chrysal Rose Pro Hydration. Follow mixing instructions and then cut 1-2 inches off flower stems. Make sure to cut above “old” wood for efficient uptake. Old wood is beige-ish brown in color. New wood is white.

Allow time for flowers to fill—minimum 4 hrs before using in a design. After a  long, cool drink, transfer blooms into Rose Pro Vase solution (no, it’s not just for roses!) for floor display or vase work. Watch solution levels—hydrangea blooms are big drinkers. Always top-up buckets and vases with fresh food (not tap water!) Do not mix old solutions with fresh—that’s like pouring last night’s wine back into the bottle!



Finally, lisianthus looks gorgeous all summer long so a few handling tips come in handy. Lissies love sugar, in fact, like tuberoses, these gems should be processed in full-sugar flower food. We recommend Chrysal Rose Pro vase solution or Chrysal Professional #3. Follow mixing instructions and keep foliage out of the water. Give a fresh cut and fresh solution every 4 days because lassie stems tend to get mushy fast. Once the mushiness starts, flow stops and bacteria have orgies in the water, completely mucking up the solution.