With alluring flower colors, exotic shapes and rugged woody stems, proteas are the new “It” bloom. The family tree originates in South Africa and these blooms love sun and sugar, especially Eximia, Latifolia, and Dutchess varieties.
The key to long vase life and minimizing leaf blackening is attention to temperature and processing stems into flower food, full sugar flower food. The best holding temperature range for protea is 38-42F. Cold temperatures and a well-lit cooler (proteas like to rest with the light on) greatly reduces leaf blackening.
Processing stems in flower food on arrival rather than selling dry from the box also limits blackening issues. Fill buckets with full-sugar flower food—Chrysal Professional #3, the same product for filling vases. It’s best to use the powder formula because protea like glucose and the Pro #3 sugar ingredient is 100% glucose.
What’s the difference between Chrysal Professional #2 holding solution and Professional #3 vase solution? The amount of sugar. Both solutions keep the water clean and flowing up to 5-6 days. Both lower pH to stimulate flow, but holding solutions (Pro #2) contains less sugar than vase solutions (Pro#3). Holding solutions are perfect for wholesale and retail display and wet-pack shipping, but protea, tuberoses and lisianthus are some of the exceptions—these blooms thrive best in high sugar solutions.
Many Thanks to Chrysal and Gay Smith for these helpful tips!