Hydrating vs holding solutions?

hvander(5B ON)February 1, 2006

I've noticed in some of the threads that 'hydrating' and 'holding' have been used interchangeably. I have a sense that the meaning of these terms are very different. Is someone able to explain the difference? And, if they are different, when and what do you hydrate and/or hold?

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Your sense that "hydrating" and "holding" are different is correct.

As you can imagine, flowers pretreated in a hydrating solution; and, then placed in a holding solution have a higher vase life. Actually, the correct term for the holding solution is processing solution.

We hydrate and hold all of our flowers. Some flowers are hydrated for an hour. Some are hydrated for four hours. Some flowers are actually picked late in the evening, loaded on the truck for market in the hydrating solution. The latter are in a certain color bucket in order that we can remember.

The reason to hydrate flowers is because it helps them become turgid. Hydrating solution reduces the ph to around 3.5 in the water. Acidic water is necessary in order that the stems can better utilize the carbs (sugars) that are present in the processing (holding) solution.

And, just to confuse a tad more -- We always send the customer home with a packet of flower food which is neither a hydrating solution or a holding solution. It's actually referred to as floral preservative. Bouquets containing bulb flowers (lilies, freesia, dahlia, glads) require more carbs (sugars) than are contained in regular flower preservatives. For this reason, we use packets of flower food labelled for bulbs.

The only flower where our procedure might change is the zinnia. This one is tricky because each growing season is so different; and, we find that we always modify the plan for this particular flower.


    Bookmark   February 2, 2006 at 10:25AM
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sgiesler(USDA 5)

Hi Trish,

Do you buy the hydrating solution, holding solution and the packets of preservatives all from the same supplier? I recall some were making homemade solutions but wasn't thinking you were one of those people. If you would be so good as to let us know where to buy these items the most reasonably in bulk, that would be most helpful. Thanks, Shirley

    Bookmark   February 2, 2006 at 6:16PM
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Because we are commercial growers, we purchase all of the above mentioned plus bouquet making and packaging supplies from a large wholesale floral supply house. They also provide us with black buckets at no cost. We go through alot of these buckets throughout the season. Special orders are sent out in the buckets; and, we never see them again. And, of course, they eventually break down from the sun beating on them in the field. Anyway, we're particularly happy to have an ever present supply.

Before one is permitted to make purchases from a wholesale floral supply house, they require a copy of one's tax ID number. (No pretending that you're a business here folks.) This requirement has been the case with every floral supply house we have done business with here in Michigan. The company we currently do business with makes deliveries to our farm on a weekly basis during the growing season.


    Bookmark   February 2, 2006 at 7:38PM
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