Flower Focus :: Hellebores

A few weeks ago I posted this photograph on Instagram & Facebook of freshly cut hellebores out of my garden-

Hellebores grown by Alicia Schwede of Flirty Fleurs Flower Blog

Quite a few people replied and asked how I could cut them so young and have them last? How long until they wilt?
(pretty sure under their breath they were saying – those are going to wilt!)

So here’s the deal. I look for one thing in each stem that I cut – the stem has to have at least one flower on it that has lost its stamens and is starting to go to seed. Check out the three images here, in each one you’ll see the bottom of the three blooms is without the stamens (yellow pollen). My friend Riz of RHR Horticulture shared with me awhile back that the key of getting hellebores to last is to wait to cut them until at least one flower per stem has started to go to seed. Riz is a well known horticulturist, especially here in Washington State.

harvesting hellebores

harvesting and cutting hellebores

when to pick hellebores
Ok, so after I sort through my plants I do a fresh, sharp cut on the stems I want and I immediately dipped the cut stems into QuickDip. In general I don’t use many flower aids/foods, etc. But I find with hellebores it sure doesn’t hurt to dip a fresh cut stem into QuickDip. That’s It!
I have had GREAT LUCK with these two simple steps. I cut the above hellebores two weeks ago for a design class that I was teaching — and guess what, I still have many of them in a vase on my desk!

Here’s one of my arrangements re-using the hellebores I had used in my class demonstration –

Bella Fiori Washington; arrangement of hellebores, ranunculus, viburnum

Here’s another example of how well the hellebores aged.
This is an arrangement designed by Amanda of Alluring Blooms
Designed by Amanda of Alluring Blooms, Wisconsin while at a Flirty Fleurs Floral Design Workshop in Seattle, Washington

Ten days later I took her arrangement apart, check out what was left of the flowers –
dead flowers, hellebores are still alive
Crazy, right?? The hellebores still looked great! A few tulips were trying to hang in there. The anemones, hyacinths, pieris japonica, fritillaries and ranunculus were DONE!

So there you have it, that’s what I how I care for cut hellebores out of my garden!

Care & Handling of Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas .. the flower that instills fear into so many floral designers.
Quite often in my design classes people will ask for tips on how to keep this flower alive in flower arrangements. Personally I love hydrangeas and have used tons of them over the years .. even in bridal bouquets, in July, in Colorado — think hot, hot, hot!

Here are my steps for processing and caring for hydrangeas –

When the hydrangeas arrive from the wholesaler the first thing I do is remove all the plastic wrap on their blooms.

Hydrangeas when they arrive for processing

Hydrangeas when they arrive for processing

Next, the important step — I submerge all hydrangea heads into a tub full of water!
I soak them for 20-30 minutes. Sometimes I forget and they end up soaking for an hour, no biggy.
I find soaking to be an extremely important step in the care of hydrangeas.
1) It washes all the dirt off their petals, it’s amazing how much dirt comes off – the water is always murky after the soaking.
2) Soaking rehydrates the flowers. Any bit of wilting is cured.
3) Soaking helps to fluff up the blooms, especially the hydrangeas shipped in from South America.

Hydrangeas Soaking

Hydrangeas Soaking

After the hydrangeas have been soaked I give their stems a fresh cut, removing about 1-2″ of the stem (and the little baggy if they are from South America) and immediately place them into a bucket with fresh water.
I do not use floral food, no particular reason why – I really just never use floral food with any of my flowers.

I leave the buckets of hydrangea out until the blooms are completely dried off from their soaking.
Once dry I place them in the cooler to harden off.
Overnight in the cooler and the next day they are in a great shape to use in designs. You’ll notice how firm the blooms are after this treatment.

Yes, I do use hydrangeas in bouquet work!! I spray a good amount of Crowning Glory on the hydrangeas.
It is important to spray the hydrangeas with the Crowning Glory and then leave them out for the CG to dry. Once it has dried the bouquets can be placed back into the cooler until it is time to deliver them.

Bella Fiori - bouquets of hydrangeas

Designed by Bella Fiori
Hydrangea Bouquets + July + Colorado!

Everyone has a different take on how to treat Hydrangeas, this treatment is what has worked for me over the years.

Care & Handling of Roses


With it being Valentine’s Week and shops all over the world are filling up with Roses, we thought it would be helpful to share a Care & Handling guide for Roses! This Care & Handling Guide has been created by the folks over at Mayesh Wholesale. Thank you, Mayesh, for letting us share your helpful guide!

  • The night(s) prior to your roses arriving prepare buckets with water and stage inside your cooler.

  • The day the roses arrive, open boxes and spread roses on rack in the cooler for at least an hour and up to four hours prior to cutting and placing in water that has a correct dose of Professional Floral Solution (Floralife; or equivalent from Chrysal etc.). Do not use flower food at this stage.

  • Alternatively, prepare buckets of water with professional floral solution and stage in a cool part of the shop. Let roses acclimatize to ambient temperature of the shop where the buckets are staged, and then cut and place in water. The key is to ensure that the roses and the water are more or less the same temperature. Do not plunge cold stems into warm water or warm stems into cold water as the shock could cause a blockage in the stems, and they may not hydrate properly.

  • DO NOT UNWRAP the roses until they have hydrated for at least an hour, and preferably two to three. If you hydrated the roses outside of the cooler, after about an half hour or so put into the cooler. By leaving the wrappers on the water can hydrate the stems and restore them to a turgid and stable state, restoring strength and elasticity to the stems and flowers.

  • After two or three hours you may loosen the cardboard sleeve and remove it. It is suggested that you keep the plastic sleeve in place. It is not recommended that you leave the cardboard sleeve on longer than 24 hours once they are in water as the hydrating blooms will start to swell against the packaging and the other roses.

  • When cutting the stems of roses it is suggested that you use very sharp and clean cutting equipment, blades and knives. Because of the high volume at this time of year, bench-cutters are normally used by many floral businesses, but make sure they are sharp and cleaned regularly throughout the processing task. If you like to hydrate each stem with an individual cut on each stem, it is recommended that you cut the whole bunch and hydrate with the sleeve in place, and then after two or three hours has elapsed, process as you would usually do.

  • Maintain your roses in buckets that may be full but not packed tightly. Keep roses away from breezes, drafts and fans, and where necessary tent them with a clean plastic cover (drop cloth from Home Depot is ideal and inexpensive).

  • If necessary, change the water and re-cut the stems every two to three days. This step is normally not necessary except when large volumes of flowers are being processed and also at this time of year where roses are a large investment: Any stem that perhaps was not drinking water properly, was inadvertently not cut or had a clogged stem is afforded an opportunity to be perfectly hydrated.

  • Remember to remove any leaves that will fall below the water line in the buckets as this can cause copious amounts of bacteria and organic material to block stems from drinking water properly.

  • Leave the guard petals on until you are close to using for an order. Guard petals protect the inner blooms from damage due to handling but also inhibit a flower’s ability to open. Removing them initiates a signal to the flower to start opening.

    Contact Information:

    Elite Pink Two Tone Roses