Keeping cut flowers in the house creates a festive atmosphere.
Whether it’s a surprise birthday arrangement, an impulse-purchase market bouquet, or an armload of cut garden blooms, you’ll want to make it last as long as possible.
In our article on keeping fresh flowers looking great, we offer guidance for keeping flower arrangements looking their best for a week or more.
We refer to using the packet of flower food that usually comes with the bouquet, dish or vase arrangement.
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In this article, we share two recipes for making your own preservative mix, so you can nourish store bought blooms after using the packet, as well as your freshly cut garden flowers.
Having fresh flowers in the home is a pleasure, so why not make them last as long as possible?
long lasting system
When I get a market bouquet at the grocery store, there’s usually a small packet of crystals rubber banded on the stems. I fill my vase with water, dump in the ingredients, and stir.
While the crystals are dissolving, I cut the leaves off the lower part of the stem so they don’t rot in the water, give each stem a fresh cut at a 45° angle to have the optimal surface area to take up water, and put them in Dip it. ,
The arrangement should last a week or more.
Care for them by changing the water daily, giving all stems a fresh cut so they will drink well, trimming lower leaves to keep them out of water, and removing any wilted matter.
And, keep your sweethearts out of direct sunlight.
All these actions go a long way towards keeping them fresh for as long as possible. However, without your daily dose of food, even your best efforts may fail to produce optimal results.
Let’s find out what is in flower food and why it is so beneficial.
Once the flowers are cut, they begin to die. Keeping them in water helps them stay hydrated, but they need food just like us.
Flower food helps preserve blooms with a trio of essential ingredients:
An acidifier to lower the pH of the water, enabling it to be quickly taken up by freshly cut stems. A bacterial and fungal inhibiting agent to help prevent stem rot (and the resulting water contamination). Sugar to provide energy that opens tight buds, blooms, and thickens foliage.
Commercial products usually get the right mix with the following ingredients:
With the ready availability of these items, it is not difficult to mix up your own.
How to Make Your Own Flower Food
You can mimic commercial flower food at home using a few common household ingredients. Professor at the Stockbridge School of Agriculture at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst Dr. Susan S. According to Han, there are two easy ways to do this.
Each recipe requires slightly different ingredients to meet three basic needs: acidity, a bacterial and fungal inhibitor, and sugar.
Flower Recipe #1
1 12 fluid ounce can non-diet citrus soda 36 fluid ounces of water 1.2 mL (1-1.5 medicine dropper full) household bleach
Make sure you add soda to the water after the bleach. Because regular soda already contains sugar, you don’t need to add extra for this recipe! Just be sure to avoid diets, as artificial sugar will not provide nutrition to your flowers.
The next recipe calls for lemon or lime juice, but if you have citric acid granules, you can dissolve 1/2 teaspoon citric acid in 2 tablespoons water and use that solution instead.
Flower Recipe #2
1 quart water 2 Tbsp fresh lemon or lime juice 1 Tbsp granulated sugar 1/2 Tbsp household bleach
Put the ingredients in water. Mix them well and use the resulting slurry to fill your vase, or dish arrangement that holds the floral foam.
Flower arrangements vary in size, so you may have to adjust the recipe you choose to suit your needs — just make sure you keep the proportions of the ingredients the same.
It’s best to make a fresh batch of the solution each day, as bleach tends to lose its brightness after this due to its reaction with the acid.
Be sure to label any leftover solution as “toxic” and keep it out of reach of children and pets.
Please note: These solutions are not recommended for use in metal containers, and they may cause discoloration. A chemical reaction with the metal may adversely affect the beneficial properties of the solution. Also, bleach can discolor the stems.
Variations of these recipes are available on many websites. Instead of bleach, some point to the benefits of using white or apple cider vinegar.
For example, the flower professionals at FTD conducted an experiment with cut flower preservation, in which they observed the benefits of vodka, Sprite soda, apple cider vinegar with sugar, aspirin, and refrigeration.
They concluded that the combination of apple cider vinegar and sugar helped preserve the flowers. And, refrigerating an arrangement that hasn’t had anything mixed in also helps retain freshness.
You’ve probably noticed that florists often keep their cut flowers and arrangements in the refrigerator before delivery, and it makes sense!
But there are three drawbacks to using apple cider vinegar in your flower food:
Its brown color can tint the vase water. There may be a slight odor of vinegar coming from your system. The antibacterial properties are less than those of bleach.
Using white distilled vinegar as a substitute isn’t much better. Its color is clear, but its strong smell can be distracting, and its antibacterial properties are less than bleach.
You may have read about adding peony or vitamin C to vase water to increase the acidity of the water. The results are unsubstantiated, and in the absence of sugar and an adequate bacterial and fungal inhibitor, these are unlikely to have much effect anyway.
A note of caution:
Exercise extreme caution when using bleach, as fumes can irritate the respiratory system, and skin contact can cause burns and scarring.
When using citric acid, lemon juice, or diet soda, be sure to mix these ingredients into the water before adding the bleach. Do not add bleach directly.
Never mix vinegar and bleach together. The result is a dangerous cloud of toxic chlorine gas, which can be fatal at high concentrations.
If you feed them, they’ll last
It’s amazing that with a little citrus to acidify and boost water absorption, sugar for carbohydrate energy, and bleach to ward off bacteria and fungus, cut flowers will never know they’ve left the ground. !
Now that you know how to make your own flower food, you can rest assured that your blooms will put on a spectacular display.
Go ahead and order that scrumptious arrangement, add a lovely market bouquet to your grocery order, or choose whatever’s growing back, and enjoy well-fed, long-lasting, fresh-harvested treats every day Enjoy Flowers!
Here’s a bonus tip:
Cut your own or buy blooms at the bud stage for the longest vase life. When provided with nurture, they will open as they would in nature.
What concoctions have you tried to keep fresh blooms looking beautiful? Please share your experiences in the comment section below.
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