Make Cut Flowers Last Longer

Make Cut Flowers Last Longer

Buying someone flowers is always a delightful gift, but usually ends up being shorter-lived than we’d like. There are some things you can do to make the cut flowers last longer.

Re-cut the flower stems at an angle under the water.

Re-cut the flower stems at an angle under the water.

The first thing to do is to cut the bottom off of the stems to make fresh openings in the flower’s vasculature because the original wound site will callous and seal off over time, causing the flowers to dry out more quickly. But here’s the key: you need to cut the stems under water. If you cut the stems in the open air the freshly exposed veins will initially take up air, creating an air embolism. This air embolism interferes with the flower’s ability to transfer water through its veins.

Also, if you make an angled cut, you’ll open up more of the stem to pull in as much water as possible (see picture at right).

Second, put the freshly cut flowers in a container full of water that is slightly acidic. Acids prevent callous formation. This way the wound site of the cut flowers will not callous over and water will be free to flow up the stems to the flowers. You can make your vase water acidic by adding vinegar or lemon juice. Less than a tenth of your water volume should be the acid: a 10 ounce (29.6 milliliter) glass, for example, should have 9 ounces of water and less than 1 ounce of vinegar or lemon juice. For regions with hard water (usually arid/desert climate areas), you may need to use more acid. Just be careful not to use too much… er on the side of caution and add more if you think it needs it.

How to keep cut flowers alive longer - lemon juice, bleach, sugar.

How to keep cut flowers alive longer – lemon juice, bleach, sugar.

This is especially important if you have a flower arrangement with daisies in it, or any member of the asteraceae family.  Flowers from this family tend to exude a gluey substance that will gum up the stems of the other flowers.  Lemon juice helps to prevent this from happening.

Third, put a little sugar in the water. Just like you and me, plants need carbohydrates. Since the flowers are cut they can’t make their own food as well as they normally would, so a little sugar helps keep them fed. You don’t need very much; a few of pinches of sugar to a 10 ounce glass.

If you’d like to combine steps two and three, add some 7-up or Sprite to the water instead. Both of these products have sugar and a little acid.

Fourth, you can add a biocide. This may seem odd but we need to control any bacteria or fungi that may try to feed on the flowers or the sugar we added to the water for the flowers. Our goal here is to add just enough biocide to kill germs but not enough to harm our flowers; it’s kind of a balancing act. A good household biocide would be bleach or rubbing alcohol. You may have to experiment with this one; If your flower water starts to become murky (a sign of growing bacteria or fungi) add more biocide. A good start is a few drops of biocide to a 10-ounce glass.

The bouquet below was a gift to my wife. Using these techniques, about 2/3 of the flowers still looked quite nice at 3 weeks.

Daisies and other flowers in the daisy family will usually last the longest. Perhaps they retain more of their “wildflower” than any of the other flowers. Heritage roses will likely fade the fastest. Everything else is somewhere in between. Some of the newer, long-stemmed roses can last up to three weeks. It will vary, from flower to flower.

But no matter the flower, the methods described above will help them last longer than they otherwise would.

cut-flowers-in-a-vase

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

John on Google+


Anni on Google+


Homestead and Gardens on Google+


COMMENT RULES: Be nice. Just because you have an opinion doesn't mean you should share it. Turn off CAPS LOCK and use punctuation. No trolling. If you don't follow these rules, your comment will be deleted.


Disclaimer

Disclosure

Contact Us



INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY: All recipes posted on this blog are either my original recipes or modified from other recipes. Proper credit is given to the original author if a recipe was inspired elsewhere. All recipes, either DIY, cleaning products, essential oils, or food are the Intellectual Property of John and Anni Winings, owners of HomesteadandGardens.com. They must be properly credited using this website as the link. No article, recipe, etc. may be reprinted in its entirety on any other webpage, under any circumstances, without written permission. They are intended for personal use only and are not for resale. If you have any questions, please just ask.

Bribe a couple of busy homesteaders to post more often!



You can use our pictures (unless otherwise noted) under the Creative Commons 2.0 license - Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share Alike. If you use any of our photos, in any way, you must give credit to Homestead and Gardens by using a link that directs to www.homesteadandgardens.com.

Our blog posts are copyrighted and cannot be reprinted without written permission.

~~John & Anni

Powered by vegetables.