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Hot Water versus Cold Water?

Translate Article: EN FR ES DE
Posted by colin on 2013-04-26

Hot or cold, that’s the question

There has always been a lot of discussion about water temperatures. Let’s consider this topic and the reason behind the why’s, starting from ice cool water up to boiled water and comment what is ‘right or wrong’/’true or false’.

Water temperature stories

1. Ice cold water: Stems might be clogged with air bubbles. Using ice cold water dissolves these air bubbles and opens the vascular system for water uptake.                                                   

True so you could use ice cold water!

""2. Tap water temperature: Easy, simple and always available. In combination in with cut flower food a perfect match, which makes cooling and heating of any water unnecessary.

True – the best and easiest option!

3. Lukewarm water: Tap water should be lukewarm to dissolve the cut flower foods in powder form. If not warm, undissolved powder sits as a sediment on the bottom of the vase.

False – so it is not necessary to use lukewarm water! The sediment is a precipitation of the water purifiers used in non-clear cut flower food. Chrysal Clear cut flower food does not show a sediment and dissolves well in any fresh tap water.

4. Boiled water: If water is boiled and cooled down again, it contains less oxygen/air, which eventually blocks the vascular system.

True – but cut flower food solves this problem, so there is no need to use boiled water.

But what should you do?

At Chrysal we like to keep care & handling of flowers simple. In over 50 years of flower tests we have experienced that tap water only is simply not enough and consumers have shared the same experience with us. Therefore the flower lovers amongst us have papered cut flowers with all sorts of medications to get them to flower in the same way they do in nature. Numerous tests have been conducted in the Chrysal laboratories. The result of this has been the development of cut flower foods to ease care & handling, for everybody who treats flowers.

Our Simple Advice

Based off of numerous tests is:

  • Use fresh water at the temperature it runs from the tap, not heated!
  • Do not forget the cut flower food, it holds your miracle.

Water is vital to flowers

Water quality is an important factor influencing the overall performance of flowers. A major problem can be lack of water uptake, which causes wilting of leaves and petals. Water quality and the type of water can have both positive and negative effects on the vase life of flowers. Flowers can be placed in all sorts of water qualities/types.

Which waters are available?

The following waters can be found in practice:

  • Tap water
  • Rain water
  • Well water
  • Deionized (D.I.) water
  • Reverse osmosis (R.O.) water
  • Surface water

What is the best water and acidity (pH) for flowers?

Tap water is by far the most common used water and the easiest to get, but is it the best? A difficult question to answer, because there is no ‘standard’ tap water. Water differs per country, region, town or even within the town. Moreover, tap waters can have a huge difference in chemical compositions, pH, and contamination with organic matter and micro-organisms from one area to another. Usually tap water is a neutral solution with a pH between 6 and 8.

Generally speaking water with a low pH (4 -5) is much better for cut flowers than water with a higher pH. Therefore post harvesting treatment products lower the pH. The water uptake at a lower pH is improved and the micro-organism’ growth is limited. If the pH of the water is lower than 4 there are chances of stem discoloration with flowers with soft stems.

Currently it is not exactly known which water type is optimal for every single cut flower. Most likely, the optimal water type varies strongly between flower species and possible, even between cultivars of some species. Cut flower foods are therefore the best possible compromise for as many flowers and waters that are present on the market. A real challenge for Chrysal’s research and development to aim for the optimal product in the research program for the years to come.


Water quality may severely influence flower quality and effectiveness of post-harvest treatments. Therefore it is important to regularly check your water source and monitor water quality within your part of the distribution chain. Adverse effects of wrong composition may be:

  • Decreased water uptake
  • Disturbed flower opening and shortened vase life
  • Decreased solubility, stability and activity of post-harvest treatments
  • Occurrence of specific toxicity phenomena due to i.e. Ferro, Fluoride and Boron.
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