by Emma Bradford, FloraLife UK
As effusive as Mother Nature is in producing flowers of all shapes and colors, sometimes she needs a small helping hand to create the perfect bloom for the occasion. Whether it’s perfectly matching flowers to a bride’s color scheme or producing blue flowers to go into a patriotic red, white & blue arrangement, florists can rely on tinted flowers to save the day.
Tinted, colored, or dyed flowers as they are sometimes called can be made in several ways. The most common is by uptake. In this method, flowers are kept out of water for a period of time to make them thirsty. Then they are placed in a hydration solution which includes a colored dye. The flowers then uptake the dye through the xylem until it reaches the petals. Flowers tinted using this method often show signs of the color used throughout the stem and leaves, as well as the flowers.
Another method used to tint flowers is to dip the flower heads directly into a colored dye solution. Rather than being an uptake method, the flowers are tinted by coming into contact with the dye, meaning it can be performed more quickly. Both of these treatments are typically done prior to the flowers reaching the wholesaler or florist.
The last method of tinting flowers is by applying a water-based color spray onto the flowers. This can be done with ease at any florist shop and allows designers to quickly change any white flowers on hand into the color they desire.
Working with dyed flowers is a little different in a couple of ways and there are some things you should know and expect before you receive them. Some helpful hints for working with dyed flowers include:
- The water changing color is perfectly normal, don’t worry. You will probably notice the water changing within a day or so after processing. The stems contain dye so as they sit in water, it will likely change color. You do not need to change the water or re-process.
- When placing in a container you might want to select something that isn’t clear so the tinted water doesn’t show and you’ll want to select a container that won’t be damaged by the tinted water.
- Expect the foliage of dyed flowers to be slightly compromised versus flowers that are 100% natural. The salts and oils contained in the dye often times burn the leaves slightly, the flower blooms however are perfectly intact.
- If your design includes dyed and natural flowers, the natural flowers may take on some of the tint once processed and placed in the same water/solution as the dyed flowers. This can actually enhance the look of your overall design as the tint would be subtle.
- Be aware the dye can seep through the leaves. Always handle with care when processing or putting on display and avoid contact with clothing or tablecloths as dye could transfer. Advise customers when they are purchasing so they can be sure to avoid this also.
- For many holidays such as Independence Day, Easter, or even Valentine’s Day, designers will use picks in bouquets or arrangements. Make sure that these are made of treated wood or plastic in order to avoid fungal bacterial growth in vase.
Dyed flowers, as with any other cut flower, require proper care and handling. For best results we recommend this care and handling best practices:
- Start with a clean bucket, sanitized with a floral cleaner such as FloraLife® D.C.D.® Cleaner.
- Fill buckets with cool water mixed with flower food solution according to manufacturer’s recommendation. Do not put flowers directly into metal/galvanized buckets. Use clean, good quality water and do not use water that has been treated with a water softener as the salt levels can be damaging to flowers.
Use a dosing unit that is properly calibrated, or hand mix the solution according to label instructions.
- Remove any foliage that would fall below the solution level.
- Re-cut stems approximately 1” using clean and sanitized clippers or knife. Use FloraLife® Quick Dip to jump-start hydration and ensure free-flowing stems.
- Place flowers in previously prepared container.
- Allow minimum 2 hours to hydrate placing buckets in an area with good airflow.
- Always remember FIFO (first in first out) when rotating flowers.
Regardless of how they have been colored, tinted flowers require the same care and attention as any other flower, so make sure you treat them right!
Happy Independence Day!
To learn more about care and handling from the flower care experts visit us at: www.floralife.com