Hydrangeas and Hydration

hydrangea hydrationResearch is one of our chief missions at Floralife. Which postharvest methods, practices, flower foods and treatments REALLY work? Which ones are just timeworn habits without much scientific value? We test various treatments on a variety of flowers, always looking to perfect the craft and science of postharvest care and handling. This month: Hydrangeas and Hydration!

Our latest Research Update sets the table: “Few cut flowers provide a greater visual impact than hydrangeas, contrasting a large but delicate floral display with lush green foliage. Unfortunately when utilizing hydrangeas as cut flowers, the large number of individual flowers, high foliage surface area, and thick woody stems make premature wilting a challenge.”

The issue is maintaining proper hydration. Many hydrangeas arrive at the shop already water-stressed. Sometimes they only last a few days in the arrangement. How do floral professionals deal with the Hydrangea Hydration Challenge? Some dip the stem ends in alum powder. Others dip the stem ends in hot water (around 140 ºF). Still others submerge the entire flower in cold water (around 50 ºF) for a couple of hours.

So, Floralife lab coats set out to test those methods, and added a few more, including:

  • Floralife® Quick Dip 100
  • Fully submerging flowers, stems, and foliage in cold water for 2 hours PLUS Quick Dip
  • No treatment at all (Control group)

Then, the hydrangeas were weighed after 24 hours to measure how much solution they had absorbed. We found that ALL of the above treatments helped improve water intake versus the control group. But the clear winner was “2-hour cold submersion plus Quick Dip.”

Next, vase life. After all of these various pretreatments, each hydrangea group went into the vase, either with plain water or in a solution of Floralife Crystal Clear® flower food. In each case, the Crystal Clear version enjoyed 2 to 3 times the vase life of plain water.

That’s the science, friends! Of course, this was just a summary. You’ll find lots more detail, convincing photography and cool charts in our latest Research Update: Long-lasting Hydration for Hydrangeas Using Floralife® Quick Dip 100 Hydration Treatment and Floralife Crystal Clear® Flower Food.